From May 2013, all year 6 pupils will sit the new spelling, punctuation and grammar test, which replaces the English writing test previously taken at the end of KS2. The test is part of the Government’s push to make sure all children leave primary school with a sound grasp of essential English skills. And the changes don’t stop with primary; alterations have also been made to GCSE courses so that from 2013 marks will be awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar in key subjects.
The spelling, punctuation and grammar test – or 'SPaG', if you want to use its clunky acronym – will consist of questions examining sentence construction, punctuation, vocabulary and spelling. Children will need a technical understanding of how the English language works; they’ll need a sound grasp of nouns, verbs, adjectives and pronouns and where to put commas and apostrophes. So if you think your class will puzzle over the difference between an adjective and an adverb, now is the time to start preparing.
SPaG teaching – little and often
Grammar and spelling lessons are usually feared by teacher and pupil alike, but the best approach is to do a little, but often. Make your grammar teaching part of the reading and writing curriculum. Short, interactive activities are an entertaining and painless way to familiarise your students with difficult concepts. A combination of frequent SPaG activities alongside more usual reading and writing assignments will work wonders to improve your pupils’ literacy skills.
SPaG resources from TES iboard
If your classroom has an interactive whiteboard, the TES iboard SPaG activities make useful starters or wind-down activities. Why not prepare your class for the SpaG test with this interactive punctuation game called Punctuate Me. In this game pupils have to drag punctuation marks into the correct place in a sentence.
Then there’s the TES iboard nouns interactive activity which encourages pupils to pick out proper, common, abstract and collective nouns. There’s another equally handy iboard interactive resource that covers adjectives.
Both the nouns and adjectives activities are part of a larger TES iboard SPaG test revision pack. This bundle of material will give pupils a strong grounding in grammar and punctuation. As well as texts for analysis the packs contain guides, assessment/practice exercises and writing tasks.
More SPaG resources
With the help of the SPaG placemat pupils can check spelling, punctuation and grammar. The resource can be printed and laminated for students and teachers to refer to during written work in any lesson.
Another resource that will help both pupils and teachers is this set of grammar basics flashcards. Sneak them into your desk drawer so you can refer to them in the middle of lessons.
You’ll also find writing progression activities on TES which have been mapped to key statements of writing development in sentence structure and punctuation.
SPaG planning resources for teachers
This handy SPaG guide for teachers has been shared by TES member gerrym, and explains how the new test impacts on teachers.
Save time with this document listing grammar terminology by year group. Shared by apostrophesnob, this handy doc links NLS objectives to the grammar vocabulary which needs to be understood by pupils in each year group.
Another time-saving resource is the grammar scheme of work from cariad2 which shows progression from reception to year 6.
Finally, make sure your pupils are prepared for the test by using the sample practice papers from the DfE .
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