You can almost hear a collective sigh across England after the final Year 6 SATs exam is completed. Parties are common as the stress is finally over the haggard Year 6’s, and there is little more the teachers can do whilst waiting for the final analysis to come in. In fact, many Year 6 pupils gain a sense of excitement or trepidation as their thoughts cast towards the transition into secondary school, so keeping this excited group focused during the last few weeks of primary school can be a challenge. It is felt best to keep a sense of routine, but now new responsibilities can be placed on this cohort in preparation for the transition they are to face. Apart from the predictable after-SATs school residential trip, we’ve come up with a list of ideas shared by experienced teachers who understand that keeping these groups busy is essential, for their own sanity:
- World Cup / Commonwealth Games / Tour de France Project
Children love getting their teeth into a project, especially one that really interests them. The sporting calendar offers great opportunities to explore countries around the globe to compare lives. There are opportunities with the Football Tournament, Athletic Tournament, or even an exploration of the Tour de France that takes place each year. If you are making the most of the European or World Cup, you can get pupils to design their own football shirts, using these templates from PaperZip; research the history of the tournament; explore the individual players in each team; create a prediction league. There are so many possibilities to engage pupils in learning using these tournaments as a base.
- Plan / Rehearse an End-of-Year Performance
Ok, so this is not rocket science, but giving pupils responsibility in the planning and design of an end-of-year performance has many opportunities to keep them focused. One teacher told us that they are performing a World Cup themed play “Go For Goal” (Junior Production) by Gawen Robinson (click here for information), but stretching the children further with the virtues of a Shakespeare play can reveal a hidden depth of the capabilities of the group.
- Enterprise Project for Summer Fair
This is a great activity to get people from the community involved in supporting the school whilst, at the same time, supporting a sense of competition, cooperation and enterprise in the children. Pupils can be placed into groups, with each group given a budget (say £10, for example), to raise as much money at the Summer Fair using any initiative they can come up with – setting up a stall etc. Encourage the group to work enterprisingly, keeping a close eye on the budgets, working with parents, negotiating the best deal, working with local suppliers / shops etc. This project really gives the children a sense of achievement and purpose, being a sure fire winner to keep them engaged.
- Outdoor Projects
We eluded to the annual ‘after SATs’ residential earlier, yet alongside this, challenge the class to see how many of the ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ activities advocated by the National Trust. Clearly, there are implication for Health & Safety here, but when common sense, responsibility and trust are put into the equation, the result usually is fun! Ask the children to explain the activities they can already ‘tick’, exploring possibilities of completing any of the other challenges in the final weeks of primary school. Get parents involved, and make the most of the long summer days.
- Theme Park Maths
Back to the classroom. Keeping up the core skills with children is essential, especially with the challenges that face them in secondary school. Keeping pupils engaged in maths can be challenging (“What’s the point…we’ve finished our SATs”), but inspiring them with a mathematical project can keep minds buzzing whilst completing maths challenges. One such activity, popular with quite a few teachers is a ‘Theme Park Maths’ project, which is freely available at PrimaryResourceCentre (click here), comprising of a multitude of tasks that help them plan and budget a theme park. This task can be a group project, or some may wish to design their own, but the maths skills within will challenge children, providing some problem solving issues which pop up throughout the project.
- Stock Exchange Maths
On a similar maths theme, another project that is worth exploring is a Stock Exchange challenge. Using real data, freely available, give each child a (pretend) budget of £100 (for example), asking them to buy and sell shares throughout a couple of week. Track performance daily, exploring percentage rise/falls in the prices, and see how rich the pupils can become. Opportunities also arise in talking about how people can also lose a lot of money this way, which may become apparent throughout the project.
- Create a Mobile App
Yes, honestly. It’s easy. If some of your class are not using apps, they will be doing so in the coming years, so get them engaged in the design process using a service such as Adsy (see our article showing how easy it is for children to design and develop their own app, based on something that interests them). In fact, allow the children to become teachers, informing you (or other staff in school) on how they developed their app.
- Work Experience, around the School
Idea via @dughall – How about getting Y6 to do a week or two of ‘work experience’ around school as classroom assistants? In the office? Shadowing the caretaker? Etc. They can rotate round roles. Also, it could allow for a week or two transition work for rest of school’s kids to work with new teachers and in new rooms.
Do you have an innovative approach to keeping pupils engaged in these final weeks of the school year? Please Tweet us or drop us a line at ukedchat.com/contact so we can add and grow this list, so it continues to be a help and inspiration to other teachers.
Image source: Adapted from http://metaversemodsquad.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/schools-out.jpg