SATs Revision Made Easy: 19 Top Teacher Tips And Fun SATs Revision Games
It takes determination and experience to make SATs revision easy, or at the very least painless, but it can be done.
The answer it seems from speaking to several experienced primary school teachers about this is to interleave your regular SATs revision lessons, and practice on KS2 SATs papers with some fun SATs revision games and more lighthearted activities.
Not only will these relieve any built up tension but they’ll also give Year 6 a chance to recall and retrieve information in a relaxed environment.
Here we’re sharing some of the favourite SATs revision games and fun activities that primary teacher friends say they turn to when they’re trying to make their SATs revision seem easy both for them and their Year 6 pupils.
Let’s start with the SATs revision games…
SATs revision game: Pub quiz
Use a powerpoint presentation to interact with your pupils in a “pub quiz” style activity.
Arrange your pupils into mixed ability teams and take them through rounds of revision questions (they can mark other teams’ questions for each round) to accumulate points.
SATs revision game: Around the world
We love Around the World as a way to practise number facts and mental maths.
How to Play the Around The World Game:
1. Start at one corner of your classroom. Two children are to stand up to answer a question.
2. Explain the rules. You will be asking a maths question (for example, “What is 5 x 6?”). The first person to answer the question correctly will move to the next person in the room, while the other person sits down. The person who answered correctly and the new challenger stands up together.
3. A new maths question will be given- the first person to answer the question correctly will move to the next challenger in the room, and so forth throughout the classroom.
If a person answers five questions correctly consecutively, they have to sit down at the challenger’s desk and the game starts again with two new challengers.
4. The person who makes his or her way around the room back to their original seat wins the game.
SATs revision game: Maths Races
Class teams complete Maths questions together; once they’ve completed a question, they run to the front of the class for the teacher to check their answer before they can move onto the next problem.
This helps them work on both speed and stamina both of which are important when tackling a week of SATs papers.
SATs revision game: Treasure Hunt
To get pupils out of their seats, scatter questions around the classroom that lead from one to another; it’s worth checking on TES for this as they have lots of pre-made treasure hunt resources by other teachers.That really is SATS revision made easy!
SATs revision game: Spot the SATs mistakes
Sophie Bee, a Year 6 Teacher, SPAG Leader and avid blogger says she fills out SATs papers with common errors that her pupils usually make.
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!’
An alternatively way of playing this is to hand your pupils cards with questions/answers which include common misconceptions and ask your pupils to identify the errors; much more engaging than simply completing another column addition question!
SATs revision game: Hit the button
Assistant Head Jon Hutchinson, says one of the things he likes to do to build fluency and arithmetic is to play the classic ‘Hit the Button’ game. It works for Year 2 KS1 SATS and it’s still relevant for children in Year 6 as part of their SATs revision. It’s just a really easy, free way to practise quick recall of number facts.
SATs revision game: Turn the tables
Deputy Headteacher and blogger @PrimaryY6Teach suggests that to spruce up revision children devise the questions.
You need to facilitate this by giving them a context to devise them in whether that’s a piece of writing they need to ask comprehension questions on or the content domain you’d like to see a maths question for.
Then, in groups children come up with a question to groups to pose to other groups in the class. They can even challenge you first. It’s recommended with this one you check over the questions first just in case they’ve made them unanswerable…
Now some ideas that just seem to make regular SATs practice more fun…
Want to make revision fun? Take it outside
Year 3 Teacher, founder of Numeracyshed, and star of BBC’s No More Boy’s and Girls TV programme Graham Andre, says his number one tip for your pupils is to take them outside for at least a few of your maths booster lessons. The fresh air is so good for them, and there’s tonnes that you can do!
- 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,
- working on measuring and estimating by measuring the size of the playing field.
Video SATs revision questions and answers
Primary school teacher, Cherise Duxbury, advises using Seesaw to record pupils answers and explanations to their SATs questions.
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.
Break apart those 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.
Related article: 35 Year 6 Maths Reasoning Questions
SATs revision carousels
Use mixed ability groups of pupils to solve and discuss maths problems together before moving to the next station; perhaps use roles within the groups to foster a culture of good group discussion.
Regular interleaved SATs practice
Let’s not forget some of the most effective teaching strategies can also be fun. Year 5 teacher and head of science Niomi Roberts says she likes to use interleaved practice with her pupils.
She teaches an area of learning, then quizzes or tests them on it three weeks later. This way both she and her pupils 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. By encouraging them to take ownership of their own learning she’s also helping them to develop their metacognition.
She also uses mini exam questions as bell tasks, so her pupils become familiar with a range of SATs-style questions.
Developing the right attitude to SATs revision
Blogger PrimaryY6Teach also has some key wellbeing and motivation tips for his pupils.
First he recommends getting them to hold their SATs paper and chant ‘you will not defeat me, you will not defeat me!’
Then 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.
Finally, you cannot remind your class enough just to do their best and that they have nothing to worry about at all.
Targeted SATs revision is fun SATs revision!
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 as this way you don’t risk burn out or focusing on concepts that are already secure.
Finally some wellbeing tips for an easy SATs, especially relevant as SATs week itself gets closer
Headteacher of Parklands Primary School Leeds Chris Dyson, says he likes to give out fun SATs homework tasks to his pupils in the later stages of SATs revision, 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?
Straight out of our Year 6 Wellbeing Guide written by mental health expert Rachel Welch (with input from the Year 6 pupils of Sheringham Primary School) comes a tip on 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.
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.
Free 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!
Reward and enthuse
Founder of Primary Rocks and Primary Headteacher Gaz Needle suggests doing something fully off topic on the afternoon of SATs so your class can relax. Don’t cram even fun SATs revision 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.
For more of Gaz’s tips read his advice to new Year 6 teachers starting out on their Year 6 revision journey.
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 amazing!
More of our best SATs resources and articles
- Year 6 SATs revision worksheets: Ready to Download for Free
- Year 6 maths revision: The KS2 maths revision programme that achieves 100 in SATs
- Year 6 maths booster and SATs lessons
- 75 SATs questions: arithmetic and reasoning questions
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