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Monthly Archives: January 2016

  • Help prepare your pupils for their end of KS2 tests!

    In May 2016, the current crop of Year 6 students will be the first to sit the new end of Key Stage 2 English and Maths tests based on the sweeping changes made to the National Curriculum nearly two years ago.

    As such, this is uncharted territory for pupils, teachers and parents alike. The old marking schemes have been dispensed with and the new expectations have been designed, we are told, to be more academically demanding.

    So how do you help a Year 6 pupil to prepare? In the midst of all the political argument, it is easy to forget that children sometimes feel the pressure of testing and are often anxious about performing well.

    It is our job as adults to ensure that they are sufficiently secure in their abilities to approach any assessment with total confidence.

    Parents matter

    Many parents will be familiar with the old SATs system and probably even still think in terms of ‘levels’. If you are a teacher, it is important to talk to mums and dads about what the new tests mean and how they will be marked differently this year.

    If you are a parent, it is a good idea to get acquainted with what your child should be achieving by the end of Key Stage 2. Remember that these will probably be individually set targets to work towards rather than a checklist of what they can already do.

    At this point in the year, your child is very much a work in progress and there is plenty of time to help them develop.

    In fact, the best way to look at it is not viewing the test as an isolated measure of ability that must be ‘passed’ at all costs, but in the context of these more important wider learning objectives.

    Practice makes perfect

    Because this is the first time the new tests have been administered, practice papers are in short supply. However, the Government has published some sample materials, which are available via its website.

    It is a good idea to ask students to sit these sample tests under timed conditions so that they know how to behave in an exam and how to read a question properly.

    However, asking a primary school child to endlessly repeat test papers is a sure-fire way to create disengagement. Test preparation in primary school should always be secondary to learning.

    Make learning fun

    With the best will in the world, a Year 6 child will not sit and revise for hours at a time – and neither should they be expected to.

    Instead of photocopied question sheets, try and use different resources to make lessons and homework fun.

    Colourful posters, digital booklets and apps are always a great way to engage learners and here at Daydream Education, we offer a range of educational resources that stimulate, inspire and consolidate knowledge.

    Take a look at our new Maths Key Stage 2 Pocket Poster to see how they can help support learning and prepare pupils for their end of KS2 tests.

    To order any of the products on our site or to discuss how our resources can help prepare for the new end of Key Stage 2 tests, just give our friendly team a call on 0844 800 1660.

  • Surprising facts your primary school class needs to know about social media

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    TECH-SAVVY youngsters are increasingly comfortable with using the internet to discover more about the wider world, share opinions and communicate with their friends and family.

    It is an unavoidable fact of modern life that even very young children have access to a variety of social networks including Twitter, Facebook and the picture-sharing network, Instagram.

    As a teacher, there is no point in wishing for a return to simpler times.

    Whether we like it or not, your pupils are highly likely to have witnessed the online activities of an older sibling or parent – or will possibly even have their own social media profiles. If this is the case, it is vital to keep talking to your class, ensuring that they are armed with the facts and equipped with the knowledge to make sensible decisions when using social networking.

    One in seven people on Earth use Facebook

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    Did you know that Facebook was founded in 2004 and now boasts more than 1.4 billion users across the world every single month? That means around one in seven people on Earth use the social network.

    Twitter lets people write ‘posts’ or online messages in 140 characters or less and has around 320 million users per month. That may be less than Facebook but it is still equivalent to around five times the population of the United Kingdom.

    Not everyone is who they say they are

    Even if your class is technically astute, that does not mean they always possess the emotional maturity to identify what is real and what is potentially dangerous.

    Make sure your pupils know that they must never respond to friend requests from people they do not know. Predators can be highly manipulative, even pretending to be a similar age to the child using the social network in order to gain their trust.

    Children must also be aware that they should never meet online ‘friends’ in person.

    Strangers can see your personal details

    Young children do not always appreciate why it is important to avoid posting personal details on the internet. Privacy should be a real concern and your pupils must never share their phone number, address or school on a public forum.

    They would not readily give out such personal information to strangers in the real world but sadly, many youngsters have difficulty in recognising a threat in the digital world.

    Children may be ‘breaking the law’

    Ask your primary school class for a show of hands about who is on Facebook and you may be surprised.

    However, according to Facebook’s own terms, they shouldn’t be on there in the first place. Users must be at least 13 years old to have an account, while children living in South Korea or Spain have to be aged 14. Similar rules apply to Instagram.

    There is always someone to help

    The world of social media may seem like a friendly place until something goes wrong and a child suddenly doesn’t know where to turn.

    Encourage them to tell a trusted adult if anything online makes them feel uncomfortable or under pressure. Many social networks include an alert button which allows users to report inappropriate behaviour such as bullying.

    Safer Internet Day takes place on February 9, 2016. Make sure your class knows how to stay safe online and take a look at our range of Internet Safety posters by clicking here or call us on 0844 800 1660.

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