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Feel Useless!


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Hi all, :o

I have had a really awful day and am feeling rubbish! My new Reception class are proving a challenge at the best of times but today they just got the better of me! The day started badly because my assistant arrived late as she was stuck in traffic.The noise level increased steadily. I gathered the children on the carpet to discuss noise levels and then let them return to their activities but to no avail! My assistant is great but has a very loud voice which doesn't help when trying to calm the class. We then went on to have two unsucsessful carpet sessions,before and after break with seeminly no child listening to a word I said. Just alot of fidgeting! I do unfortunately have a group of boys who need separating and a child who seems not to be able to sit on the carpet without touching/anoying any child near him! I came away from work today feeling totally deflated and pretty much useless as a teacher!

Any advice on noise control would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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Oh mottie, we all have bad days and the year is still new. Have a rest this weekend and go in on Monday for a fresh start. The children are probably as tired as you are.

 

I had one of the most difficult classes I have ever taught last year and I resorted to a bribe. They wanted a trip out, the other reception class who had been in school a term longer were going out. I drew a large smiley face and a sad face which I hung in a prominent position near the carpet and when there behaviour/noise was acceptable, the face smiled, when it wasnt it was sad. They responded really well to this visual symbol of how they were behaving and we went on our trip!!

Could be worth a try? ( Im not suggesting you go on a trip but that you think of a suitable reward).

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sorry you have had a bad day hope monday is better for you.

I don't work with you age group i work with nursery chidlren, when we had a group of very loud group of boys we tried to spend as uch time learning outside one becouase the sound level did not sound so bad but also these children also needed to learn though running off steam.

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Have you access to a puppet? the ones you can put your hands in are good.When you have the children on the mat have him/her with you and after introducing them perhaps you can say they are new and alittle nervous because of all the noise!!! It upsets him you see and put his hands over his ears.then sit him on the side and remind them little billy is getting worrried!

As for getting them to listen im sorry if im telling you to suck eggs :o but you need to get theri attention first by any means

puppets

a bell or shaker

singing

Close your eyes and count down from 10 you need to all be sitting with legs crossed and watching and ready to listen.'are you ready?' usually children will make sure they all are for you

when that stops working find something new any new sound crinkiling paper,a musical intrument

Try and always have a visual prop when you are talking to them to build up theri attention skills

Also having another staff member on the mat with them will help any body not listening

stickers for good listeners or a certificate to take home

Could you have aset of 'golden rules' addressing listening and talking not shouting at each other.

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I agree, a puppet always works well. We had Peter Parrot who made a squawking noise when you squeezed his beak.

 

Singing to the children 'Are you ready?' to which they replied 'Yes, we are' worked well.

 

I also found the children loved the following rhyme and soon joined in.

 

 

One, two, three, four, come and sit down on the floor.

Five, six, seven, eight, hurry up and don't be late.

One, two, three, four, is your bottom on the floor?

Five, six, seven, eight, show me who is sitting straight.

 

 

We also had a system of house points for good behaviour throughout the school. It was surprising how quickly even the youngest children cottoned on to this.

Hope you have a better day on Monday.

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Sorry mottie ... I'm in much the same position as you. Such a noisy class. We've tried stopping children and talking about using classroom voices and playground voices - immediately you tell them to carry on with their activities they carry on shouting; puppets who are frightened because of the noise; quiet music in the background ( which they can't hear because they are so noisy); the old favourite from teacher training - sit and wait for them to be quiet/don't look at any of them/don't make any comment/they will eventually be quiet (NO they [the ones who are causing the problem] will be oblivious to the fact that you are waiting and will just carry on with their behaviour/ conversations). We have 29 - over half ready to sit and listen - and relatively quiet - but the remainder are so fidgety, young, oblivious to what we expect/want them to do (despite explicit instruction) that they disrupt everything. We know that OFSTED are blitzing the area at the moment ... and to be quite honest if they came to see us now, we (fOUNDATION STAGE) would be deemed special measures!!!!

 

Desperately worried.

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I know the feeling. I have tried everything, today i made a big thing of praising the ones who was sitting and listening, also give them stickers, thinking maybe the others would do it then..... so far it hasn't worked. Story time at the moment is hell, doesn't seem to matter what story we read it's always the select few who are listening!!!!

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I am so glad to hear other people are in the same position with their new class as me! With mine its not so much the noise level (although they are still fairly noisy) its that whilst half the class sit and are prepared to listen, the other half completely ignore me! Either because they really don't understand (EAL), or because they have little or no nursey expereince and therefore carpet times (or stop and listen) are so unusual and different. I also seem to have also of children who are "strong willed" and have "attitude"! Never mind the SEN children!

 

At least its Friday. 2 weeks till half term!

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Thanks guys for all your encouragement it's good to hear there are others out there having similar problems! I have got a brilliant puppet who hasn't come out yet so will try that on Monday. I also tried "the listening chair" for the ones who are fidgeting! Ive slept on it and feel a bit better this morning!

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Glad you're feeling better mottie, remember, you're only human, and have the right to feel the bad bits as well as the good.

Good luck with the puppet, I cant use one without the children hitting it, poking it, pulling its hair and being generally horrid. Even when the puppet cries they just laugh. Little horrors xD:o

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Build up the duration of time they are expected to sit .Start with only a few mins.

Build a routine using a song

 

Another song for Circle time/regestration Tune(Fere Jaques)

 

You start singing the song and continue untill all the children are playing their bells/shakers and singing the song sitting on the mat

 

Are we ready?

Are we ready?

Yes we are

Yes we are

Sitting in a cicle Exchange lines 5&6 for "sitting up so nicely"

Sitting in a cicle "Listening very carefully"

Here we are "Sitting very quietly"

Here we are

 

Have some small bells or small shakers(you can make these with them,not too noisy use sand sequins/couscous)ready to hand out to the children only when they are sitting nicely on the mat.

Exchange lines 5&6 for "well done (childs name)"

"well done (childs name)"

 

You could go on to sing more songs if you wish using the instruments or whatever

Eventually you could exchange the instruments for something within your theme/planning aleaf or pinecone (Autumn)

Have a "Talking teddy" ,they can only talk when they are holding the Teddy

It is so hard this time of year,getting the children to listen,good luck and keep smilng :o

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I am in charge of a pre-school closely linked to a nearby school and the reception teacher is having problems with the children listening to her too. She came across to spend the afternoon with our children and went away with 'I think I am being too strict with them' she observed one of our children aged 3 doing everything in her power to disrupt a story session, but my staff completely ignored her behaviour and she came across and joined the group. I think children at school receive far too much negative attention (+ heaps of praise - which as a High/scope practitioner we don't do) and many activities are just not age appropriate. we are sending children into school too young - its the system failing the children, which unfortunately in this country is all wrong...........i'm visiting Sweden next Feb half term and looking forward to visiting early years settings there to see how they have got it right!

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In my preschool my 'getting ready to listen' verse works very well, I cover my eyes with my hands ( this shows complete trust in them), then say the rhyme:

 

I've closed my eyes and will count to three

when I open them, I'd like to see,

legs crossed, armes folded, are you ready

(whisper) 1, 2, 3...

 

I then uncover my eyes and look amazed and pleased at all the children sitting correctly. :o

 

I got my mat from Ikea, it is bright red with white circles on it, each child sits in a circle, in their 'own' space and not in others space.

For the fidgeters I have taken photo's of these children sitting, legs crossed, arms folded, which are displayed on the wall next to the mat, just point8ing to the picture and the child responds really well. I also have a picture of eye's and ears' which I point to to remind them to 'look' and 'listen'.

 

Some children do find it difficult to cross their legs, so this is not enforced, as long as they are comfortable, that's what counts. xD

 

I also include replace characters names in books with particular children's names, this helps them to be more involved in the story. :(

 

Peggy

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Thanks guys for all your encouragement it's good to hear there are others out there having similar problems! I have got a brilliant puppet who hasn't come out yet so will try that on Monday. I also tried "the listening chair" for the ones who are fidgeting! Ive slept on it and feel a bit better this morning!

You slept on the listening chair? Weren't you at all stiff this morning?

 

Seriously though, we have found with our (admittedly younger) children that having something to fiddle with aids concentration and helps children listen when sitting on the carpet or wherever for story time. We have a draw string back packed with bits and pieces from Hawkins Bazaar which gives their hands something to do rather than poke each other. We have a Peter the Parrot puppet (whose squeak I removed because it drove me mad after three minutes), and when the noise level gets too high he dives under my arm because he hates the noise so much.

 

I also saw a gizmo in one of the catalogues which had a traffic light system that changed according to the noise levels in the room (which you could pre-set according to your own needs/tastes). It might be Learning Resources, but I can't be sure. The idea was that it provided a visual reminder when the noise levels were rising towards the 'danger' zone.

 

I really feel for you (although I also have a loud voice so I know that I can sometimes contribute to the noise levels without really noticing!)

 

Maz

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My son has started reception class this year, his teacher gives little stickers to the good listeners, and has extra staff (TAs) sitting with the children. She also found that if she talks in a quiet voice, the noise levels decrease , I think its because the children don't want to miss out. Not that it works when I try it at home!!

I have used a toy before that you have to be holding to talk but it doesn't work with all children.

I love the idea about the traffic lights that you can pre-set, I might get one of those for at home, it's amazing how much noise 2 boys can make!!

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I liked the one that Kerryberry posted. I went in today and I changed the words slightly.........

 

to the tune Frere Jaques..

 

Are we ready (I sang)

Are we ready

 

Yes we are (children sang)

Yes we are

 

Are we sitting nicely (I sang)

Are we listening quietly

 

Yes we are (Children sang)

Yes we are

 

They liked it and sat 'nicely and quietly' so it worked ! :o

 

Sue J

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