Above is an extract from paper 2 of last year’s KS1 SAT….the ante was very much upped from previous years. This then leads to the question of how can we prepare children for this assessment process without switching them off reading, but allowing them to feel prepared so that nothing will come as a horrible surprise??
AND the Year 2 teachers have to bear in mind the other measures that they can be moderated against in the interim framework…here is what an ‘expected’ child can do in reading…
Quite a challenge it seems….
What can we use to support our teacher assessment for fluency, accuracy and understanding? There are lots of everyday processes that can be used without planning activities to simply tick boxes…
- Reading records books used in school – the expected colour of book banding would be gold, white or above. Check that the phonic phases match and therefore the books being read are appropriate.
- Home/school reading record books – some schools may use Phonics Bug, Lexia or other online reading acivities which can be used at home and often produce reports on what has been read etc.
- Running records – 90% accuracy per page is needed for children to be able to comprehend the text. Here is an interesting article explaining how you can use any book as a running record: http://scholastic.ca/education/movingupwithliteracyplace/pdfs/grade4/runningrecords.pdf
- Standardised reading test – SWRT /Salford which will give a reading age, but will also highlight the words that they are struggling with
- Guided reading book or reading journal – this will evidence understanding of a text
- English book – as above this will show what an individual has understood from texts used as a class
To build up stamina and fluency individual reading needs to happen as often as possible, but the use of ERIC (everyone reading in class) can help children focus on a text independently as they will need to do in the test. I generally do this twice a week from January onwards.
I often use text extracts from http://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk to get children used to reading an ‘unseen’ piece of writing, which also has age range recommendations with each extract so I can ensure that it is suitably challenging.
It is vital that the children have experience of answering questions by writing answers. I like to build in examples from each content domain throughout the year. I found some brilliantly useful question stems on this website http://primaryenglished.co.uk/ which I have used firstly with illustrations and films, building up to using mainly text extracts…
I use these during guided reading sessions, adding different question types as we get nearer to May.
Useful websites and links:
I am collecting together resources for my Year 5 and 6 Space topic – To infinity and beyond! It is a topic I always get ridiculously excited about…obsessive in fact! I love every element of it and I could probably fill a full year with all my ideas and excitement.
I have used Pinterest to organise my thoughts over time.
Above is the absolute best video of the wonders, horrors, dangers and realities of space. It is the most vivid representation of the vastness of space and the clearest explanation of time travel – the deeper we travel through space the further back in time we go and if we could look back at Earth through a hugely powerful telescope we would see dinosaurs….wow!
My children were transfixed. I forgot I was teaching…
The International Space Station produces lots of videos about life in space and children are always keen to know how astronauts go to the loo!!! Commander Chris Hadfield was particularly informative and entertaining.
Commander Sunny Williams gives a fascinating tour of the ISS including an explanation of how they sleep and how they go to the toilet! I like to show this video as it proves to my sometimes passive Year 6 girls that women can and should have the same aspirations as men.
Recently, we watched with anticipation the journey to the ISS of British astronaut Tim Peak…We will be following his time in space very closely through Facebook and Twitter – a great audience and purpose for children to write.
For those who enjoy researching and collecting facts there is the creation of planet fact files or top trumps (there are various free apps that can be used on iPads).
There is also more of the science stuff – a day on Earth. What is night and day? Does the Sun move?
Then there is the historic elements of man’s journey through space, culminating in the infamous Moon landings…
There are lots beautiful books about space…
I love the endless possibilities that space provides…
I will be blogging about the fantasy elements of space over the next few days…releasing my inner geek. Live long and prosper.
New York Zoo have a brilliant activity on their website called ‘Build Your Wild Self’. A super-fun and interactive way for children to create a wild creature made up of lots of parts of real animals.
This would be a great starting point for information text writing or for creating a fact file. If you use Talk 4 Writing approaches this would work well at the third stage of invention or as a wacky way of introducing the features of information texts before you apply them to a real animal.
The finished animal is given a very technical name based on all its parts and the final picture can be printed off or emailed. These images could even be turned into trading cards or top trumps by using various free websites or apps.
Are you looking for a new and effective way to teach children how to tell and write interesting, well structured stories? I came across this idea by Alan Peat many years ago, but recently discovered this really clear video of him explaining the concept. The best thing is it costs nothing (well a handful of gift bags, but you could use leftover Christmas ones) and can be used as on oral approach for children as young as Early Years.
Just found this Youtube channel absolutely bursting full of fabulous animations. I plan to use them for literacy inspiration and guided reading developing comprehension questions. Some are more suitable for secondary school pupils and others are perfect for primary children.
Or you could follow them on Pinterest
One of the best author / illustrators ever is Oliver Jeffers. He is probably best know for ‘Lost and Found’ a beautiful book and animation about the blossoming friendship between a boy and his penguin.
However, my favourite is ‘How to Catch a Star’ a story of childhood whimsy and imagination. A boy wants a star and then spends days trying to work out the best way to acquire one in a variety of madcap ways. I love using this book as part of a ‘Space’ topic in a Key Stage 1 as it has endless fabulous activities that it inspires and compliments.
I set the scene using this beautiful Kate Rusby song (the Barnsley nightingale!) and video. Turning the lights off adds to the drama…and I enjoy being dramatic (as anyone who knows me can testify!).
If you want to be less ethereal then Perry Como’s ‘Catch a Falling Star’ creates a more upbeat feel…
I have found that a Talk 4 Writing approach works really well with this story as it has a simple and repetitive structure that is easy to learn orally through use of a simple story map. It lends itself to fun actions too.
The simple illustrations can be used as a sequencing activity on a time line or a washing line as the children retell it independently.
I then like to change things a little by creating an instructional text ‘How to Catch a Star’. The children learn this text map and then innovate it, choosing their own way to catch one. This can be written up in a simple format following the key features of writing instructions.
I like to use ‘Marking Ladders’ to provide steps to success to support children’s learning – they can be easily found if you Google them.
Role-play and drama is a great way to get the children to innovate their own ideas for how to catch a star and the wackier the better!
I also love the story ‘Katie and the Starry Night’ which works beautifully with the Oliver Jeffers book and can lead to art activities based on the Van Gough painting.
The Literacy Shed website has a short film called ‘La Luna’ with ideas and inspiration for activities to follow. This is fantastic for children who have little or no English and still images from the animation can be used to scaffold or stimulate writing.
In areas of provision stars can be hidden in foam or gooey gloop, caught and threaded onto string or wool. They can be made in salt dough or play dough, star shapes can be used for printing, glittery stars can be made from card and beads threaded onto string to make tails…
Oliver Jeffers’ book ‘The Way Back Home’ can be used in tandem. There are so many ways you can travel to the Moon..
My son is obsessed with Lego. Lego everything…Harry Potter. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Marvel Superheroes, dinosaurs…the list is endless. This means he has boxes and boxes of it…this also means he doesn’t notice if I ‘borrow’ some of it (but never ever take Bilbo or Gandalf).
I have used some of this ‘borrowed’ Lego with great success in school.
You can buy Lego Education Story Starter kits and they have some fantastic ideas in the handbook that comes with the sets. Depending on your budget second-hand Lego from Ebay might be a better option.
I have used it in a variety of different ways, each time engaging and motivating children throughout the primary age range.
The most obvious way to use it is to create story settings which can be used to role play with, developing language and understanding of story structure. These scenes can be used as a stimulus for story writing or story telling, writing wanted posters for baddies, drawing treasure maps, creating scrolls with declarations of war, marriages, challenges or quests.
My son enjoys making machines and transportation devices with his Lego. He hates writing more than almost anything else ever. However, he made an inventor’s book of Lego creations where he documents his models through drawings which he labels and sometimes expands upon with explanations of how they work. He doesn’t see this as writing – nor will the children in your class!
I enjoy using the Lego faces with my children in Year 5 to expand their use of emotions words. I give them a selection of heads which they write an emotion sentence about. I then challenge them to use a thesaurus to improve their choice of word and to further develop their sentence. Sometimes they will continue to write a paragraph about their character. The heads can be bought as a job lot on Ebay – just check you get a variety of expressions! A similar activity can be done with the pictures of scenes off the front of Lego kit boxes – this time creating an atmosphere for a specific genre type.
Another grammar objective that can be taught through Lego is prepositions – The Literacy Shed blog talks more about this.
Children can say sentences containing prepositions about the Lego character e.g. ‘The man stood on the bridge’ ‘The orc is under the bridge’. These can be written and expanded into short action scenes or a comic creating app can be used to record and create a storyboard.
I stumbled across this website with some amazing photographs that can be used as a writing or discussion stimulus.
Younger children can develop their fine motor skills by taking part in a race to build a mini figure. The different fiddly, little parts can be hidden in sand, water, lentils or something gooey. A variety of parts means an endless variety of Lego characters can be created.
Get some Lego and start playing…