Preparing your child for key stage 1 SATS

Key stage one stats are due to be completed in June and many parents worry about what they need to do in order to help their child prepare for it. Your child should not have to worry about these early assessments but preparing them and talking to them about it can help to give them more confidence when the tests are placed in front of them. You can print off copies of old test papers from the government website that you can go through with your child so they can see what types of questions they may have to answer.
The most important thing is to teach your child to read the questions properly. In the maths SATs paper for example, the questions can change quickly from addition to subtraction to divide etc. If they assume that all the questions are addition they may lose out on marks for questions they knew the answer to.
If your child is really concerned about the SATs, speak to their teacher who will be able to talk to the child or give you advice on what you can do to help. SATs in key stage one are often more a reflection on the teacher than the pupil as it shows how well they have been taught.

Apps to help with education

If you have children that like to play on computer games or tablets then you may worry about how much educational value there is in that. Recently more and more games that children play are starting to have a more educational theme to them but this is not true for all. Many games on the app stores such as ITunes or Google Play Store are aimed at children who wish to learn in a fun but educational way. You can find games that will require your child to read, use mathematical skills or use their imagination to progress through the levels. Word games are a great way for your child to practise spelling but often it doesn’t seem like work and they may not even realise the educational value of them.

It is sometimes a good idea to download a selection of educational games for your child to play on their smart device and ask them to play one of more of those games for 15 mins. After this time you may want to give them 10-15 mins on another game of their choice. This ensures that they are getting some educational benefit from playing on the device but also have some downtime from learning to play a game of their choice.

The importance of hearing your child read

Many schools go on about how important it is to hear your child read on a regular basis. As parents, you may feel that it is unnecessary for your child to read to you every night but research has shown that children that do this have an academic advantage later on in their education. Reading can not only help with reading but can also help with spelling and confidence as well as understanding emotions and problem-solving.

When reading a book with your child, take time out to ask them what they think is going to happy or to explain how a particular character is feeling. This will not only help them with their understanding but will break up the book and allow them a chance to understand what is happening rather than just reading the words.

You do not have to go out and spend a fortune on children books, many charity shops have books for as little as five or ten pence or you could enrol in your local library to allow your children to pick their own book to read. You could even get your child to read sentences around the home, such as on the side of food containers or on the back of a DVD case.

 

Should homework be compulsory?

For many years there has been a discussion as to whether young students should receive homework on a regular basis from school. Some schools introduce homework right from reception age and this carries on throughout their education. Some parents and teachers feel that there is too much responsibility out on children already with exams and therefore homework is not essential or required.

Over the 12 months many schools have chosen to drop homework completely in favour of reading. All teachers will agree that reading is a vital part of a child’s education and often schools feel that it is more important that a child reads than to do homework. Some schools that have taken this approach, instead set a termly topic homework that is optional. It will be a task based around the topic they have been learning about.

If your child is at one of the schools that no longer gives out homework then you should try and get your child to read to you every day if possible. They do not just have to read their reading books though, reading a section out of the paper or directions on the side of a product will all help towards their overall understanding, reading and writing skills.

 

Taking control of the classroom as a supply teacher

Often supply teachers will find that they have a pretty hard time when it comes to classroom control. Some students see supply teachers as an opportunity to play up and try and get away with more things than they usually would. They often play on the fact that this is not their normal teacher and the supply teacher may not know what they are usually allowed to do.

If you are starting a job as a supply teacher you must quickly gain control of the classroom right from the start. It may feel like you are going in with a hard hand but if you do not control situations quickly and effectively then you will find it much harder down the line to get the children working as they should.

If the children try and tell you that they are allowed to do something that you don’t think they would be then you could either quietly have a word with one of the other teachers to see if they can help or simply say to the class that you are not allowing them to do that today. Showing that you are worried or don’t know what to do, will make some pupils more likely to push you that bit further. If you are working as a supply teacher through a teaching recruitment agency then they will often have someone that you can speak to that will offer you tips on how to gain back control and give you really helpful classroom tips.