Last week we only had lessons on Friday as we went camping in the dessert on Saturday. We did the following topics and activities:
English: Nouns and pronouns
Maths: number sequence, doubling and halving
Science: Air as a natural resources, properties of air
This week we started SATs test papers in Maths and Science. I am not so keen on standardized test as I don’t believe it holistically assesses child’s knowledge. But having worked at schools, I know this is the only practical solution to assess masses of children at certain age. For me the main reason was to make our children familiar with the test format and types of questions so at least they know what SAT tests are in case they have to go back and attend British school (you never know). Secondly, it served as diagnostic assessment. So, the results show me what I need to focus on with each child. Overall, I think it is a good experience for kids, as long as we don’t use the results to demotivate them (We shouldn’t be saying “Look, you haven’t done well. Therefore, you have to work harder”. Trust me, this message achieves exactly opposite of what we are trying to achieve)
We had spelling exam on Friday. I read them a story called The Grashopper and The Owl from Aesop’s Fables. They answered reading comprehension questions based on the story. Then I asked them to narrate the story back to me. They all did wonderfully well in this (oral narration). Then I talked about the key ideas- how we should be able pick up the main events of the story. And that is called The Summary. I read out the summary of the story- there were three sentences. And they had to write down the sentences as I was reading aloud word for word. This kind of spelling test is based on Charlotte Mason’s method of dictation. She argues we should not carry dictations cold-turkey style. But rather, children should have a chance to read and discuss the passage and then be tested on spelling by writing the summary. Most girls did very well in spelling with the exception of couple of girls in KS1.
On Saturday, they had writing exam. Again, they all read the story The Fox and The Stork from Aesop’s fables. They discussed the questions in groups. And then I gave them 10 minutes to rewrite the story in their own words. Only they had to write the summary and not every detail. So they had to write 3-5 sentences. I asked them to pick up the key ideas. They all excelled in this, mashaAllah. They wrote the Summary so well and I was well pleased, alhamdulillah.
We had KS1 and KS2 SATs test papers. There is 2 papers. Paper 1 is Arithmetics and Paper 2 is Reasoning (Logical thinking and word problems). Obviously, we have not covered all the topics. I explained to the students that if they don’t understand a question, to ask me to explain it. And they can skip the questions they don’t know how to work out the answers (because we have not covered, especially geometrical questions such as measuring the angles etc). KS2 managed to finish Paper 1 (there was 24 questions). And I gave them Paper 2 as homework to complete at home. KS1 group finished both papers and tried hard. I will be making simplified test papers with questions on all the topics we have covered in the past for a couple of the girls who struggled with SATs KS1 Math.
Everyone did Science papers together as a group (no actual test conditions applied such as complete silence etc). I couldn’t give them the tests to do individually as there were many topics (Health and Safety, First Aid, Circuits, Shadows and Reflections) that we have not actually covered. So, we sat in circle, one student read one question at a time, all students discussed the question and chose the right answer together. It was more enriching as we had extended discussions on some questions and I explained why and how with regards to some topics.
English: Read and rewrite 2 short stories in your own words (Please encourage to write summaries, so around 3-5 sentences are enough)
Maths: Finish the MEPs worksheets and I will email this set of worksheets to strengthen 2 digit addition and subtraction practice for KS1 and finish off KS2 Sats Paper 2 Math at home.
Edplace offers some really good interactive lessons on all Science topics following the British curriculum year by year. One will have to subscribe to fully benefit from the interactive lessons. But, they do have free quizzes and worksheets for those on free subscription as well (I registered as free user). Since we are taking a two week break, I thought girls may want to go through some of the lessons at home. All lessons are designed and presented in a way that is needed least support and input from parents/guardians, but doing some of the follow-up questions together would really help a child.
So, you will have to click here, all the lessons are sorted by topics: Forces, Human Body, Light, Magnets etc. I want them to do the following topics: Human Body, Plants and Rocks. When you click on each of these topics, it brings a number of subtopics. This is what you would find under a Human Body: Looking at Skeletons, Muscles of the Human Body, The Human Skeleton. Then when you click on each subtopic, there is a lesson presented (you just keep clicking next button at the bottom of the page) followed by a number of questions. Child should be able to read and learn through the pictures, charts, diagrams on the screen and answer the questions at the end.
InshaAllah, these should keep them busy until we resume the classes on Friday 22nd of January 2016.