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Fitting It All In


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xD Hi again! Just wondered how you all felt about paly based versus formal teaching and how you're coping working in a FS unit. Any bright ideas about how to cover things like phonics daily without stopping and starting the kids too much? Our weekly plans are fine but we don't seem to be managing to fit in the things I always used to do on a regular basis like letter of the day/handwriting practise. We stop for 3xs carpet sessions(CLL/Maths/+1 other) +milk and story time and this week each child will be getting 1 g/read ,1g/write, 1 maths focus and 1 creative focus+an extra CLL if we manage to get 'through them all' in the cafe twice (the maths focus is in there) do you think this is enough??It honestly doesn't leave time for anything else though-don't know if its just the time of the year but we have 4 staff focusing all day and the other 2 managing for 67 chn. Can't really afford to let the managing staff do a focus as the chn just go wild sometimes and constantly need reminding to put things back after they have finished. I get a feeling from things I've read previously that some of you are more structured than this and have less free flow time. Was it you Magenta that directs chn to where they can go? Maybe we need to try this but our LEA advisor says we have to have open access/free provision or whatever its called. I'm trying my best and even though we did it last year I still feel like I'm trying to run before I can walk. :o I'd best stop before this turns into another one of my epics!!! :( CheersX
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I can't really help ...but am glad you raised it! I am an NQT in reception and I got through the first half term, but am now at the point where I am comfortable enough to question, reflect, change, evaluate everything we do! I have tried lots of different routines already since we came back after half term- and the end of every day I find myself saying "how can I fit it all in?" Covering everything to ensure that they will be able to cope with year 1- yet offering a free flow learning through play (indoor and outdoor) with just me. How indeedy!

 

Sorry can't give you any positive suggestions- just be assured you are not the only one screaming this at the end of the day! My mentor just said to me- sometimes you can't. It might be one day you spend 10 minutes on CLL stuff and another day 30 mins- and it all balances out.....

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Hi Zim

 

I know where your coming from - I'm in a reception class and trying to fit all the different requirements in is v.challenging :o

 

Although you may feel 'panicked' from what you have said it sounds like you have been trying to think this issue through - which is all part of good practice and being a reflective practitioner.

 

However it still leaves this 'battle' that I think we face in the foundation stage - how much time we devote to each part, and whilst there is a lot of guidance on what we should be doing there is a bit of a gap as to 'how to structure' this successfully (planning for learning has helped however still no 'timetable' example) and whilst play is being seen as increasingly important we still have lots of 'whole class' bits to do such as PIP's, maths imputs etc.

 

Personally I think that there be a balance - some things work well as a big group such as storytime and music whereas 30 children 'waiting their turn' in a circle can be a bit frustrating when your 4. You said about some teachers choosing where the children go - again I think that there are times when this works well (boys aren't constantly in the sand, girls don't always choose dressing up) however I think there should be times when they can choose (follow their interests, enjoy their favorite activity) for example give children jobs they must do before they can choose and vice versa.

 

I also try and tag whole class imputs onto the start and end of sessions this way it is not to disrupting - tidying up and then restarting again is v. time consuming

 

You sound like your team is really dedicated to making it work for your children :D:D:D

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Hi Zim,

We've changed our timetable yet again, now our whole class input is exactly the same as yours - CLL, MATHS + 1 OTHER + SNACK AND STORYTIME.

Currently we have 1 hr mixed CI play a.m. and p.m. - we direct chn. initially, then after about 20-25 mins they are free to move around. Younger Nursery chn. are still wary about moving out of their base room so aren't forced to move to specific room. As ladybug says, given the free choice many of the boys would be constantly in sand/cars etc. and the girls dressing-up, so this certainly does help.

We have just 3 planned focus activities, if these are completed we can add more, we need 1 person in each room to help children to play and to make observations etc.

How can we fit any more in!! I think chn. are getting a good balance at the moment, may have to change a little in Summer Term though??!!

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Thaks everyone. Magenta-how are you teaching phonics to the reception? Its jolly phonics you do isn't it? Is this done in your cll time? If so when do you fit text in without keeping them on the carpet for too long? We've been advised to fit phonics in throughout the day and not have a set time but I'm worried that I won't have a proper 'sytem' if I continue doing it this way. Fair enough we will be writing letters when taking orders in the cafe this week and we will be focusing on the sounds they make during shared reading and writing but I won't be plying PIPS games or getting through a letter of the day and making sure each child has been taught to form the letter correctly. :o Help!!

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Hi Zim,

Yes we do JP. At the moment we focus on Maths and Lit each morning. As I've said before we do have times when F1 and F2 are taught separately, so we have 10-15 min carpet session where we introduce the new sound (currently 4 per week), think of words with the sound in them which chn. dictate to me or I write words on board for chn. to decode. We used to form letters on whiteboard too each day, but as we have now covered them all we do less of this - I believe doing this from the start gave the chn. so much confidence that now their preffered activity is writing - we are getting through so many mark-makers and so much paper - its wonderful!

We follow this with a focus activity for 2 grps.(another 10 mins) and CI play for the rest.

If we didn't have this session they wouldn't have the skills to use in their CI play - in our hairdressers this week children wrote 'cut', 'her' (hair), 'drI' in the appiontment diary!

I'm not sure whether this follows good FS ethos, but our children are thriving on it, they are so excited that they are able to read and write simple words! It is after all only 15 mins per day plus a 10 min. session per week for each child. I feel the benefits far outweigh the negatives, they are getting plenty of CI play each day.

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Thanks Magenta,

:) Sounds like your children are doing really well with their writing. I still don't know how I'm going to fit it all in! If I do the letter in my CLL slot I won't be able to do sahred text/writing. Oh well, we'll get there-might have to think of a different way around it like stop smaller groups for phonics and not the whole class/unit. Did you have to have a parents meeting to introduce the phonics books going home? We send home one of the JP handwriting sheets each week and they had Homework Involving Parents letter games to do over the holidays but the response from parents isn't great. We get about half homework folders being returned/many lose reading books and so on. :o

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