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Hey all. Haven't been in for a while. Hope everyone is well. My query this time is timetabling. How does everyone else work????!!!! I know we are all different, but it often helps to have something else to compare with. Am an NQT so have been on visits to other Reception settings, but being in a double classroom and coming back to feed back to my teaching team, it's hard when their responses are suggesting that everyone else's way is not as good as ours!! Am of the personal opinion that variety is the spice of life (!) but it's hard to work in such a rigid environment. I don't want my creativity to lapse, so am wondering how you all manage your timetables (i.e. how do you work literacy and numeracy hours etc).

 

Much appreciated!!!

 

Thanks, xxx

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I completely agree about variety being the spice of life. I ave quite a low boredom threshold, so Im alwasy wnating to chnage things, because I believe evrything can be improved, even if its good already!!!!

But on the other hand (just to be devil's advocate for a minute), what is good abut the timetable you have and why do you want to change it? Our changes always come for a reason, like something that isnt working well with the chidlren, or some logistic issue.

 

We tend to be very flexible in out timetableing. Snacks, shared play, assembly and hall/compuetr suite times are set times, everything else varies from week to week. We do broadly have a timetable (for OFSTED purpose) but we tend to label it 'activities' rather than 'maths' or 'literacy'. Our weekly plan then shows what we are doing when (roughly). But when the sun shines like it did yesterday, we change everything and go and dig up the garden, and wash the dolls' clothes!!!!!

 

Sorry, probably not very helpful, Ill leave the way clear for some more sensible answers :o

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Hi,

my "timetable" is determined by those statics that i have no control over-playtime, lunchtime, assemblies, PE.

otherwise I try to establish a routine for the children re returning to the classroom etc and call everything else activities so that I can do what feels best at that time.

So I would like to think my timetable is quite flexible.

 

Susan

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My timetable is a little like Susan's & Mundia's but I'm feeling a bit uncertain at the moment about whether I should be moving towards a more formal timetable this term (the old Literacy/Numeracy hour is still being pushed here for after 1/2 term (groan!!)).

 

So I was wondering if, in addition, people could help me by stating how much literacy & numeracy they intend to do this 1/2 term? And in what sized chunks - i.e. how close to lit/num hours are you getting?

 

Hope that makes some sense!

 

Dianne xxx

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hi Diane,

I guess that is everyone's dilemma!

I certainly have some children in my class who would probably cope quite well with some added formality but for others it would be a disaster. Its always difficult juggling the two and I have in the past been able to get away with it by comparing teaching a routine or teaching content.

 

I think the numeracy hour is also easier to implement as you can still keep your playing in. Literacy becomes formal recorded work all too quickly once you start imposing the hour structure. And children can't cope in quite the same way playing v. working becomes more obvious, & I try reallly hard not to make that differentiation.

At least that's my experience, perhaps I'm doing something wrong?

On the other hand I've more this year that might cope so perhaps it would work better!?

 

In my school in September we were also more flexible on the transition and didn't ask the children to work formally in year 1 until after half term in October.

Personally, though I still think you are doing your children more favours by teaching them content, the formality is easier with maturity.

 

Have you seen the book "Smooth transitions", there are some good hints there on how to make transitition into year 1 easier, but equally I think you can spin it to to keeping FS play based for as long as possible but I need to reread it more closely!

 

Anyway good luck. Doesn't the primary strategy allow us to have more flexibility? but you must get your head on your side.

( I'm off sick at the moment so don't need to worry til I get back! but I don't recommend that as a solution either.)

 

Susan

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yes the primary strategy does give schools more flexibility to adjust our curriculum to suit our children, but as you say Susan, you have to have your Heda on board. We do have that which is good, and she is alwasy lookng at ways of extending the excellent foundation practice into the rest of the school (her words not mine). We have a whole INSET day bsed on this coming up soon so it will be interesting to see how things change further up the school.

 

In terms of lit and num, we do small whole class chunks and always have done, they just get slightly longer as the year goes on (about 20 minutes max, most of the chilldren cope with that). Apart from that, we dont so anything that resemebles the 'hour' at all in reception, and build up to that in year 1. Ther is pressure from the year 1 teacher who is also literacy coordinator, but she knows that I fight our corner so she tends not to bother arguing any more (phew)

 

it all seems a bit of a juggling act between what you feel is right in your own proffessional opinion and what the demands are on you from the powers that be in your school, and that seems to vary so much from school to school.

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Thanks all - keep the comments coming! I asked about the timetable for many reasons. Since September, the children have more or less had a structured Literacy and Numeracy time where we do a carpet input and then the children are set off at 'table time'. This is a structure that the team have had in place since the year dot and they continue with its implementation due to their last OFSTED report of 'good and very good at times' two years ago. The thing I've found is, that as a NQT I've been trained that the FS should be less formal. We commit the afternoons to split Creative and Knowledge and Understanding activities also. It means that we may have a relatively linked topic, but that each area is often covered by a specific teacher led activity. The strengths are that the children are more settled for Year One and can write a lot more than they may otherwise do so, but my argument is that the FS curriculum promotes learning through play and the only learning through play they do do is often teacher led. The choosing time is limited to when they are not with an adult, and I find this very hard to work with. The other adults have had this structure for a long time and are advocates for their routines as per their OFSTED report. I;m just finding it really hard now to fit in all the monitoring and assessing through observations - as most of the time I have a teaching group so it is hard to observe their 'free choice'. When I do get to observe, it is often the same children, at the same time each week. It's just difficult. That's really why I was wondering how all you other Reception teachers deal with the timetabling (outside of the structured dinner hour, breaks etc). How you deliver you days?

 

Thanks for your shoulders!

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hi sugarbabes,

this is an interesting question and one I have been trying to sort out!

 

Its certainly easier to work in the semi formal way that you describe as it is easier to keep track on the literacy and numeracy that is required but like you I feel it devalues the other curriculum areas.

 

My head was definitely against literacy and numeracy biased mornings but then became obsessed with tracking and target setting which really was difficult to do as she demanded without doing that! So catch 22. :o

 

I tried asking this question but in a slightlty different way back in the New Year or thereabouts so will be interesting to see what other responses you receive.

 

Susan

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Hi All

 

Please can anyone help with team teaching? We are about to have 3 early years practitioners (2 teacher / one NNEB- HLTA) run the 'reception' year (Early Yrs Unit), as the Nursery unit is currently run (Child centred learning, through keyworker group). It is a very exciting suggestion and of course the children will benefit enormously.

Has anyone worked in a similar setting?

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I work in a team teaching classroom. In my room there are 60 children, two teachers (myself and the Foundation Stage Co-ordinator), two nursery nurses, two classroom assistants and frequent students. There are huge benefits to having a team teaching environment, such as more opportunities for adult input etc. There are also the negatives that you also need to be aware of in that in my environment there is an opinion that because we have the staff, there needs to be constant adult focused activities going on to feel that the adults are being 'used' effectively. Feel confident in having adults 'floating' around as child-centred activities have been set up.

 

Team teaching is great. There are plenty of opportunities to get varying ideas on topics, activities etc and it lends itself to less pressure on one particular person. However, it can also lead to power struggles (as I am finding out). You can initially go in with a great system, but am finding more and more that as a 'newly qualified' with multitudes of ideas, there are still many examples of mine being sidelined for the 'routines' that have existed for years - not only from the teacher, but also the nursry nurses.

 

Am excited for you as I get the impression that the 'team' is going to be new at it. Wish I was there! The newness of the situation means that they will work together to make a system work from scratch. In a way, mine is working backwards to get to where it should be!

 

Good luck with the Reception team setup. Reception is a fantastic year and if done well, the children will learn in one fantastic setup!!

 

D xxx

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Ozzi, if I havent welcomed you yet, then welcome on board and thanks for posting.

 

I agree with sagarbabes

I worked this way in reception too in a past life but it was tough going as my coleague really didnt like it so he kept keeping to his own agenda all the time.

But the essence of the way it was supposed to work was great. We alwasy had the 'floater' you talked about who we called the 'facilitator' and who wore a badge so the chidren knew that was the person to go to when they needed help with anything.

We only had 3 adults for 60 children so it was alwasy very busy.

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I know exactly what you mean. I have been trying to bring this idea of having 1 focus activity with the adult and the other adult moving around the classroom actually 'playing ' with the children. People used to the old way of working are quite resistant to this and see this floating as a waste of time better used to sort the cupboard or put up displays etc.

It's very hard to convince staff used to being 'in charge ' of the art activity that they can learn more by observing and interacting with chidlren without a focus task.

 

And this is in Nursery -not within the Reception class.

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Thanks to you all for the suggestions. They really do help. Having been in Nursery for 10yrs, as NNEB, the system we run through Keyworker has benefitting the children greatly. Myself and the Teacher started the Nursery from scratch, so it will be a sad to leave the nursery setting :o - Yet exciting to be involved in setting up the Early Years Reception Unit.

 

The Headteacher is very supportive in ensure the learning from Nursery continues into Reception, with child centred learning, observations, and structured child learning therefore, resulting in two classroom being knocked into one with myself and 2 very experienced Teachers. (predicted numbers are 45 children). Both Teachers are keen to 'move foreward' and agree to current learning trends. I am are very excited about the changes, and as Sugarbabes mentions it is easier to set-up the process together, rather then add to it. That must be really difficult. Many people do not welcome change, but I do believe there is always room for improvement. The past 4 years Education in Early Years, has changed considerably and in Wales, we are about to embark on the Foundation Phase (3-7) and Pilots begin September.

With 9wks until half- term there is a lot to organise. Will keep you posted

Maggie :)

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