At Third Space Learning we’ve been working 1-to-1 with over 5000 pupils with our intervention programmes, and have produced a tonne of resources to help teachers prepare for SATs, which have been downloaded by thousands of pedagogues across the UK.
We know SATs can be quite a stressful time, with a tonne (more) of hard work and preparation coming your way it can be difficult to stay positive.
We also know teachers would rather approach SATs enthusiasm and excitement, which is why we’ve gathered 13 top tips from teachers and experts across twitter to help make the next few weeks of SATs preparation as fun as they can be!
Watch the video above for 10 of the top tips or read on to get the full 13.
1. Get outside!
Examples include; taking chalk out and using it to write questions and answers on the playground, timing how many times pupils can run around the playground and making maths word problems out of that, or working on measuring and estimating by measuring the size of the playing field.
2. Maths Vidamins/SEESAW
She says it’s a great way to get pupils involved because you can share it around the school – which they find really exciting. Plus, it’s a great way to get parents to understand what their children do in school every day.
3. Deconstruct SATs questions
This tip comes from primary Teacher, Year 6 computing manager, and blogger Mr Bee Teach: he loves to deconstruct SATs questions with his class. His pupils break SATs questions down and then he teaches the skills and strategies needed to complete each one successfully.
He also likes to create variant questions for the pupils to answer with each other, which he finds really useful.
4. Pet projects
In the weeks leading up to SATs, why not give each pupil a pet project that they can be getting on with. Or even start a whole class project. Design and art activities are a really good idea because they’re something that can be put down and picked up again in the gaps between SATs.
Dispel scaremongering about KS2 SATs and support your pupils to thrive and do their best in Year 6 with this free wellbeing guide
5. Work through common errors
She then makes the pupils work through the papers in pairs – seeing who can spot the errors first. It’s a fun way to gamify things and it also creates great discussions, with pupils saying things like ‘Miss, you forgot the full stop again!’
6. Exam downtime
Plus another from our Year 6 Wellbeing Guide: don’t forget to let your pupils blow off some steam. Give them some downtime before and after SATs, maybe even outside. Let them work off some energy – let them be loud!
Reward them for their fantastic hard work and effort they’ve put in through all those weeks in the run-up to SATs.
7. Hit the button
Head of Year 2, John Brunskill, says one of the things he likes to do to build fluency and arithmetic is to play the classic ‘Hit the Button’ game. It’s a really good way to practise quick recall of number facts.
8. Free breakfast club
Another piece of advice from our Year 6 Wellbeing Guide is to start up a breakfast club!
A great way to put a positive spin on the SATs period is, if you don’t already run one, to start a breakfast club. Giving your pupils a decent breakfast is a great way to start the day, help ensure that pupils are relaxed, and make sure they’re ready to learn.
So put some music on, laugh, and make some food. You can set the tone for the entire day. It’s a great way to make SATs a bit more fun, and it makes the Year 6 feel really special!
9. Suspend assemblies
The final tip from our Year 6 Wellbeing Guide is to suspend any assemblies.
Let’s face it, in the final two weeks before SATs, assemblies aren’t really going to add much more to your pupils’ learning. They’re just another thing for them to concentrate on, and they eat precious time out of the timetable.
So just for now, suspend them. You can make a really big deal out of having a welcome back, and congratulations for all your hard work assembly!
10. Fun homework
Headteacher of Parklands Leeds Chris Dyson, says he likes to give out fun and light hearted homework tasks to his pupils, to make the SATs period as enjoyable as it can be.
Often his homework is as lighthearted as ‘build a den’, or ‘sing a song’. Why not give your pupils a list of fun homework tasks to take home?
And now here are your bonus 3 (okay 5 really) tips – not in the video…
11. Motivation, motivation, motivation!
He also recommends getting them to hold their SATs paper and chant ‘you will not defeat me, you will not defeat me!’.
Finally, he says he always makes his pupils do breathing exercise just before tests, it gets the oxygen into their brain and relaxes them. It’s as simple as take a deep breath, count to 3, slowly release.
12. Interleaved practice
Then she can check if they’ve retained knowledge all while moving onto another topic.
She really likes this because it makes pupils work hard to remember and recall information. It’s simple but genuinely effective.
She also uses mini exam questions as bell tasks, so my pupils become familiar with a range of SATs-style questions.
13. Gaz Needle’s top 3
Reward and enthuse
Do something off topic in SATs afternoon so your class can relax. Don’t cram in the afternoon. Try cricket, PE, art or any ‘fun’ activities to keep the mood light and to remind your class that school can be fun. Also, give your class a flapjack and some juice in the morning during SATs week when they come in so to relax them.
Repeatedly tell your class to just do their best and remind them that they have nothing to worry about at all.
In the 4 day week before SATS (which is always a bank holiday Monday week) just revise the topics that your class have found the trickiest to remember, don’t overwhelm them with work. It’s always better to target your revision.
So, let’s not forget to get out there and help pupils smash their SATs. National Assessments should not be something to be afraid of, they’re simply a chance to show off all the amazing hard work you and your pupils have done this year. Let’s make SATs 2017 amazing!