A simple thought on my drive to school resulted in the most successful pre-SAT week of my 14 or so years as a Year 6 teacher.
I’d completed the usual build-up of (in maths from September) daily mental and written method practise. I do this outside of the usual hour long maths lesson and I give daily homework which takes about ten minutes to complete. This leaves me free to concentrate on problem solving and reasoning within the main maths lesson.
I try to avoid giving children endless SATs papers as homework because I question the impact they have on the children’s learning. I have heard horror stories of Y6 teachers giving up to 10 SATs papers over the Easter holidays!
During a recent parent’s evening, a couple of parents told me that their children were suffering from stress relating to the up and coming tests which had resulted in loss of sleep. It was at this point that I decided to back off and try something different and hopefully more fun.
This is when I decided to cover the class in graffiti as a means of revision and identifying misconceptions.
Covering the desks and all flat surfaces in backing paper and asking the children: “Show me what you know about…” generated a massive amount of material on their backing paper. I covered the areas of prime, square and cubed numbers; factors, multiples and test for divisibility; fractions, decimals and percentages; shapes and angles and almost every topic they had covered in KS2!
The children worked in collaboration with each other, bouncing ideas about. As I circled the class, I picked up on misconceptions and gave instant verbal feedback and some written additions to their graffiti! Progress was rapid! I also wove in the odd multi-step problem on the interactive board.
Due to the success and enthusiasm of the children, and at their request, we repeated the process with SPAG.