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How can I make sustained shared thinking viable (during focus activities) in class of thirty children if it's most effective on a 1:1 level?

 

I can understand the thinking behind it and it makes absolute sense - I try to use it all of the time when I can but cant see how I can involve 24 children in their groups involved in sustained shared thinking with a scaffolding adult while i am with a focus group. Would it be better if the TA moved around the classroom scaffolding while I worked with my focus group?

 

Any ideas? What do you do?

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Would it be better if the TA moved around the classroom scaffolding while I worked with my focus group?

 

I don't see why not. I'm a TA in a school and I position myself in the classroom whilst the teacher is working with a child. (The teachers teach 1-1 in my school) After two minutes children usually come and play next to me and initiate conversations with me about their play. I then build on what the child is saying. In my setting it would not be useful for me to go around the room talking to children as not all of them want to talk about their activities. Sometimes I go and join children's play but usually I have been invited by the children. I find that sustained shared thinking works best when I respond to children's body language and their initial conversations.

 

I hope my comments are useful...This is what works in my setting

 

:o

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thanks Sienna, that's really useful. and surfer yes found this publication yesterday and wondered whether it was the one to get. What about research by Blatchford and/or Sylva is that something else you would reccomend as weel as or instead.

 

Do you use this at your setting?

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There's also a very good book by Jenni Clarke called Sustaining Shared Thinking - lots of practical ideas for implementation.

Thanks Wolfie, will look at that too! :o

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  • 2 weeks later...
I will second that ! The book is really good - Jenni is my sister and really knows her stuff!!

 

regards

Teri

 

Well lucky you!! :o I've ordered the book from waterstones (online) after seeing the recommendation on here but it still hasn't been delivered. I had an email saying something about it was currently unavailable...I think it may be due to EYFS forum members all buying it at the same time xD

 

:(

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  • 3 weeks later...
How can I make sustained shared thinking viable (during focus activities) in class of thirty children if it's most effective on a 1:1 level?

 

I can understand the thinking behind it and it makes absolute sense - I try to use it all of the time when I can but cant see how I can involve 24 children in their groups involved in sustained shared thinking with a scaffolding adult while i am with a focus group. Would it be better if the TA moved around the classroom scaffolding while I worked with my focus group?

 

Any ideas? What do you do?

 

 

Hi Tattybogle!

 

I am new to the forum and only made my first post yesterday on a different topic, so sorry for coming in late to the discussion.

 

Don't worry too much about trying to 'do' sustained shared thinking for the whole classroom at the same time. It might be more helpful to think of the here and now. If you are working with a small focus group; there's your opportunity to spend time alongside those children - find out what they know, how they use their knowledge and spontanously you can encourage them as individuals to engage in more critical thinking in the context they are working in. Set them small personal challenges as they work to get them thinking, address them individually with open-ended questions and encourage independent problem-solving and decision making. Set them individual challenges at their own level/pace and model how they can begin to ask questions for themselves; some children can work together and thus engage in their own shared thinking.

 

After the activity, the small group could discuss what they found out with you (why certain construction materials were best for the job) and talk about problems they encountered (why sellotape wasn't the best thing to make a handle for the toy sledge they were making because it kept unsticking) and how they solved them (used string instead). Once analysed, this type of group activity involves enquiry, information processing, reasoning, evaluation, problem solving, creativity, reflection and, even though you are working with a group, you will have engaged with them all 1:1 and seen their individual ways of tackling things. If you took any photos of the children working, looking at them will encourage further discussion, memory and reflection. Effectively, you will have encouraged the children in this small group to think for themselves and share their thinking with others.

 

It is possible that as you work with your focus group, your TA can interact in similar ways around the room to extend thinking/lproblem-solving during child-initiated play; tuning in, showing interest, asking children to explain what they or doing or elaborate on their ideas, positive questioning etc. She's probably doing that already!

 

Happy new year!

 

Fingertips

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Thanks fingertips, that's really useful. TA has been working with a focus group during adult directed time, same as me till now. prob need to rearrange things a bit. Wish Id spent more time thinking about it over hols but felt a bit burnt out!!! Now Im recovered its time to go back!!

 

Asked about this because ofsted inspector mentioned it. We started a further discussion but it was interupted so never got to find out exactly what I needed.

 

CANT BELIEVE ITS saturday!!!!!!

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Thanks fingertips, that's really useful. TA has been working with a focus group during adult directed time, same as me till now. prob need to rearrange things a bit. Wish Id spent more time thinking about it over hols but felt a bit burnt out!!! Now Im recovered its time to go back!!

 

Asked about this because ofsted inspector mentioned it. We started a further discussion but it was interupted so never got to find out exactly what I needed.

 

CANT BELIEVE ITS saturday!!!!!!

 

Don't worry Tattybogle, we all go back to our workplaces feeling that we didn't do enough paperwork, finish all the planning, annotate all our photographs for learning journeys or fully research something of interest. With the best will in the world, the job is all consuming, and you probably never will achieve all what you set out to do.

 

Don't be hard on yourself! The fact you say you were "burnt out" but are now "recovered" is the best thing you could do for the children in your care - you have re-charged your batteries and they will benefit from your renewed energy and drive.

 

If its helpful, when you go back on Monday there are two easy ways that you can begin to solidly engage the children in sustained shared thinking :

 

1. Simple routines are a good place to start 'training' yourself to develop the children's thinking. Ask questions, ask for explanations, reasoning etc. and challenge their thinking over something as simple as preparing to go outside. Starting simply is the best way, such as What do you think we would need to wear when we do outside? Why do you think we need coats on today? How do we know its cold? Why wouldn't we want to be cold? What do you feel like when you are cold? Speculate What would our body feel like if we wore swimsuits outside today? Tell me about a time you have been very cold? (Not forgetting to add your own experiences here as advocated by Dowling 2005!)

 

Perhaps two children could go outside with your TA and she could encourage them to use their senses (enquiry skills) to find out about the weather beforehand: What do you see, feel, hear? When they come in a small class discussion could take place, taking into account what they have found out , collectively making decisions as to what they need to wear when they go outside (information processing). Photographs of the children actively discovering the weather would be starting points to encourage memory and reflection from those children - you could scribe what they say, ask them questions etc. A nice record of sustained shared thinking for their Learning Journals (and Ofsted!).

 

If the children become very interested, data handling could follow - thinking about symbols to use on a chart, thinking about the types of weather they want to record, keeping a weather chart for a given period and, of course, anaysis at the end. Simple, everyday opportunities for good quality interaction to develop the children's thinking and understanding about the weather - more valuable than instructing the children "Put your coats on, we're going outside" You are simply building in a higher cognitive challenge to an everyday occurence! and making thinking more explicit!

 

2. Dont forget that regular story time is a fantastic opportunity for the children to talk/think in a sustained way with you; where they can raise issues, questions and ideas, give reasons for what they think. develop theories, evaluate what they think happened etc. The choice of the story should reflect the children's interests to ensure motivation and engagement. As you discover good stories for this purpose - put them aside in a special collection. A good starting point for you and good evidence that you are building a 'community of enquiry' at story time for Ofsted!

 

If you build 'thinking about thinking' into routines and stories first - by the end of the week you will be on your way. Good luck - let's know how it goes.

 

Fingertips

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Hi

Would agree about being tired etc and never feeling as if we have finished everything but I think you have to offset that with your needs as a person and as a memeber of a family. Having just been congratulated at dinner by my daughters who are 10 and 8 for not going into school during the two week holiday I know how easy it is to slip into the routine of school/work becoming the most important thing in our lives. But if we don't have time for us or our families and freinds we become very insular and aren't able to give our "realness" or energy to school. (sorry if that doesn't make sense but hopefully you understand what i mean)

The ideas for developing shared thinking are very practical and quick and easy to develop and I will definitely try to put more time into this over the coming term.

 

Enjoy the last day of the holidays and then the first day back at work

 

Nicky Sussex :oxD

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Hi

Would agree about being tired etc and never feeling as if we have finished everything but I think you have to offset that with your needs as a person and as a memeber of a family. Having just been congratulated at dinner by my daughters who are 10 and 8 for not going into school during the two week holiday I know how easy it is to slip into the routine of school/work becoming the most important thing in our lives. But if we don't have time for us or our families and freinds we become very insular and aren't able to give our "realness" or energy to school. (sorry if that doesn't make sense but hopefully you understand what i mean)

The ideas for developing shared thinking are very practical and quick and easy to develop and I will definitely try to put more time into this over the coming term.

 

Enjoy the last day of the holidays and then the first day back at work

 

Nicky Sussex :oxD

 

 

Hi Nicky Sussex, it's nice to hear from you. Oh yes - I understand what you mean! I meant the same message to Tattybogle. She didn't say she had to balance children into the equation but did say she regretted not thinking more about about things on her mind in the holidays and about feeling burnt out. By pointing out the benefits of her "recovery" and referring to the job as being all-consuming - I was also saying that it's essential to switch off and take time out from the job without feeling guilty.as it can, indeed insidiously become the most important thing in our lives. As you have pointed out, for those with familes the juggling act is even harder and you were a very wise Mum to resist the temptation to go into your setting this holiday!

 

Hope next week goes well for you all.

 

Fingertips

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Hi,

Hope next week goes well for you too. Thanks for your kind comments and glad we were thinking along the same wavelengths.

Nicky Sussex xD:o

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I feel so much better now. So glad for this forum! Yes I have young children too and they have regularly accused me of loving my reception children more than them; which really hurts :o (though I try not to let them see this!).

 

 

I think having my own children helps me to empathise more with the children in my class and their parents - I know that I need to find more balance with my own life/family and school life so I really appreciate your comments.

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Just want to say thank you to Fingertips for your wonderful explanation of sustained shared thinking with examples of how it can be done. I found this really useful, and although have read books on the subject I found your explanation better!

 

:o

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  • 3 weeks later...

Can I just thank you all for your valuable discussion. I am part way through my EYPS course, and sustained shared thinking is the standard that is giving me a real headache, because I'm not sure we do enough of it. However, reading what you have all written shows me that I am actually going the right way, and have some examples to use within my assessment.

 

Thanks for putting my mind a rest.

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Welcome to the forum Cathy! :o

 

You're not alone in struggling with that standard - I completed EYPS last year and had similar struggles! I ended up evidencing it most strongly in my Baby task, much to my initial amazement!

 

I can thoroughly recommend Jenni Clarke's book on the subject if you still need inspiration.

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