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Tracking System


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Our LEA advisor wants us to put a 'Tracking System' in place so that we can track the areas that the chn are using during their free choice time and ensure that they are accessing all areas. I've heard of a variety of systems-eg putting photo/name card in a box/on chart and have tried this with one area (small world) but found that all I was doing was saying to those chn at the end of the week-'such and such you haven't played in the small world yet'. I scrapped it coz I didn't see the point. One opinion is that it's WHAT they are learning not WHERE they are learning it-eg if a child rarely visits the writing area but is always writing labels in the construction area then what's the problem? I would like to ensure that the chn access all of the areas (they do sometimes get into little routines-eg rush in and put a bead on for the house first thing in the morning and only do a painting if their friend is but I don't want to be saying to a child who is eager to carry on playing the 'picnic' they started yesterday-'come on Saffron, you've not played in the sand this week-come and count the stars! :o )

I'd be really interested to know of anybody who is using/or has used a tracking system successfully or unsuccessfully. I've decided to have laminated name lists up -(a picture of their animal group under which they find their name and mark a dot next to it with a laminating pen) as this is more managable but am reluctant to start it without hearing of the real benefits. It will take a lot of training-especially as we are a FS unit-the Nursery chn won't be able to resist the urge to scribble on them!! :(xD

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My feeling would be that you can't start dragging children away from their areas of interest - doesn't this defeat the object of free choice?? If a child isn't accessing the sand you might want to ask why but also does it matter? Like you say - you can always acheive the same goal in another area using alternative resources.

 

Unfortunately I can't help you with the logistics of tracking as it's not something I've had experience of. xD Hope you get some more (useful :o ) replies. :D

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I had a quick go at this today. i sat watching the children for about 5 minutes and knew at the end who did what (usually) There's the one group who always have active play, running, chasing, shouting. Another group who always play 'pretend' games in the home corner or sometimes around the room. And another group who are always on the mats or at the tables with the cars, bricks, threading etc. But I know that sometimes they will all have a go at something else and so long as everybody is happy with what they're doing and are doing other things within their chosen activity, like running while in role and making up stories, or talking, or writing tickets or making patterns then thats all that counts in my mind. :D

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One use of tracking is to identify areas that some children use more than other areas and then use ways of moving the learning to area that they enjoy.

 

For example you might notice that child A seems to spend a lot ot time in the sand or water. then yu could plan specific leanring activiites to promote his mthematical or lang etc in the water or sand. You could perhpas do a s/t activity of building bridges in the sand tray for the 2 billy goats (for example) rather than doing a d/t activity at the d/t table. This way you are using the chidl's inerest area to promote his learning. Or another example- hide letter/numerals in the sand for child A to find and sort. Does that make sense?

 

You might find that a chidl never uses the paint easel and then can use the inforamtion to inform planning. What specific benefits are there in using the painting easel? can the child experrince mxing paints in the water try instead? etc etc

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Hi again- this kind of tracking can also reveal if there are areas in the classroom that are not being accessed by chidlren and course of action would be to consider what could be changed or adapted to inprove access. Is is too far away from where the adults sit , can resources be accessed /tidied up easily by chidlren etc etc. this give proactiioners the opportunties to look at their proviison and access with a critical eye.

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We use a tracking sheet ( which is a plan of where everything is in the room and then we sit and observe for 1o mins and draw arrows on sheet to see where child has gone!!!)

To be honest i think they are pretty usless and agree with Beau and rea that if you just observe the children you can see what they enjoy etc without all the paperwork to do!!! :D

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hi Zim

last term we used a planning sheet to track what they children were doing. It had a little piture of each area of the room and they put a tick on it when they were going there. At the start of a child initiated play session I would "encourage" children to visit an area they had not been to before.

Our head liked this but I have now scrapped it because when the children went somewhere they were not all that keen on they didn't really engage with what was there and so didn't really learn anything.

 

I should have said I teach reception

 

This term we have a new system of target children. Each week 4 children are target and we focus our observations on them. Then if I saw that a child always went to the construction I might try and entice them to go somewhere else by putting something I know they would like somewhere else...

This system does not track everywhere they go but I think our observations give a flavour of their preferences.

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Thanks for your replies. I really do agree that we can find out the same info without all the paper work xD Its true as well that the child doesn't enjoy the area as much if it isn't their choice. Surely if we are planning adult focused activities in each of the areas over a period of time then the children ARE being given the opportunity to access all areas. Swordfish-I like your idea of choosing chn each week to focus your observations on-can you give an eg of something you move to another area to entice them? :o

What do others do?

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We tried a tracking system in Nursery - LEA suggestion - chn. put their named photo on a board in the appropriate area. - it didn't work. Years ago we tried tracking sheets in each area where we used a different coloured pen for each day - it didn't work.

Observations are much more informative, as you say noting which area chn. use doesn't mean anything - chn. use each area in many different ways.

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I have seen a teacher use picture cards of all the available areas, for example, role play, play dough, making area etc. The teacher has a sheet with chn’s names down the side and each day starts with a different child and they choose what they would like to do. They were not allowed to choose the same activity more than two days in a row and so were encouraged to try another activity. The teacher would then write their chosen activity next to their name. It did actually work very well in this particular nursery class.

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Hi again Zim

Where I work we always have one adult-led activity and one independent activity that 2 groups are engaged in.

The other 2 groups are planning their own activites and the other adult (I am lucky I have a full time LSA) is free to observe them and scaffold and extend their learning.

This week I had a target child who always wants to go to the sand and water so I put the letters of his name and his best friend in there and he fished them out and said what sound they made (some of them).

Another boy always wants to make models so I put labels on the writing table for him to fill in and display with them so he could do some mark making.

2 of the girls were very into the castle role play area so I put fairy tale books in there and they looked at them and told stories from the pictures.

All obvious stuff really but it might not occur to me to do it if I wasn't focussing on those children as the badly behaved ones tend to grab all my attention if I am not careful!

I agree that we plan to cover all areas in the adult led activities and that should be enough... I used to worry about the ones that always chose to go outside but my advisory teacher said it was ok!

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Thanks once again :D I think I need the confidence to go with what we think is best not the LEA. But because they're working closely with us at the minute, I find it really difficult taking their advice in balance. Our advisor keeps 'threatening' xD us with OFSTED but I've heard that OFSTED don't always like what LEAs advise-have any of you heard this? :o

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yes our OFSTED inspector did not think muc of our LEA assessment system and I agreed with her. The system uses a 'best fit' system which in my opinion does does not a give a full picture but we have to go with it as it is easier than to challnge.

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