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Organisation Of Y2 To Be More Like Fs


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I am working in Y2 after having been in FS for a few years. I am trying to bring good FS practice into Y2 and would appreciate any comments.

This is what I have done so far:

 

set up my classroom with 2 'group tables' for myself and my TA to work at and divided the rest of the classroom into FS style learning areas - role play, writing, maths, creative, book corner, construction etc

 

organised my class into 4 groups so at any one time 2 groups are adult led and 2 groups are making their own choices about their learning

 

organised the curriculum so that literacy and all other subjects except maths (which is a bit separate) are taught through a topic

 

 

I would like to free some more time up to work alongside the children as they play, and observe them, rather than always leading groups, but feel under pressure to make sure children get enough 'done' each week.

 

Is anyone doing anything similar? Any thoughts on this?

 

Thanks

Megan

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meganc we have worked this way at my school for many years now and you will find it really enjoyable and also that children will make good progress and work more collaboratively!

 

I would suggest you visit some schools who already work in this way so ask around in your LA or look at the Innovation Website.

 

You seem to have your environment well organised you now need to look at the timetable so another recommendation I would make is look at the Sally Featherstone books as she has excellent books on challenges for older children.

 

We work with challenges and this enables the two adults to work with focussed groups as the vchallenges are independent and open ended. We also have three big topics a year so that all of our work is cross curricular. We also fit in guided reading, guided and shared writing, discreet number work and set times for PE each week leaving lots of time for independent work.

 

Good luck and enjoy!

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I am working in Y2 after having been in FS for a few years. I am trying to bring good FS practice into Y2 and would appreciate any comments.

This is what I have done so far:

 

set up my classroom with 2 'group tables' for myself and my TA to work at and divided the rest of the classroom into FS style learning areas - role play, writing, maths, creative, book corner, construction etc

 

organised my class into 4 groups so at any one time 2 groups are adult led and 2 groups are making their own choices about their learning

 

organised the curriculum so that literacy and all other subjects except maths (which is a bit separate) are taught through a topic

 

 

I would like to free some more time up to work alongside the children as they play, and observe them, rather than always leading groups, but feel under pressure to make sure children get enough 'done' each week.

 

Is anyone doing anything similar? Any thoughts on this?

 

Thanks

Megan

 

 

I have just posted a very similar sort of query - see Curriculum issues - Bringing Years 1 and 2 into a FS class. I am sure we will get replies relevant to both of us - I will be interested to see what people say to your post. My school wants to do a similar thing but we do not really know where to start - your grouping and basing it all on topics sounds a good start. I visited a class last year who had mixed Year 1s and Rs - the Yr 1s were set a number of challenges, linked to learning objects and the topic which they had to complete throughout the week - they were free to do them when they wanted during child initiated time as long as they did the work - this sounds to me a good idea, but not sure how she organised this and introduced it to the children to begin with. I am trying to find out and will let you know if I get anywhere. :o

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We work this way in Y1 and in January I will be extending into Y2 unfortunately it will be just me and 29 children

Would be interested to see how exactly you organise this - could it be done over two classes, Years R to 2?

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Emilia, Id really appreciate seeing an example timetable please. I have no problem with the FS ethos but moving it into yr1 and accommodating the reading tasks etc is proving a challenge!

 

I want to provide challenges as you describe but am also struggling to plan for this.

Marion how do you plan to get this up and running?

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At the moment I've got so many ideas running through my head (while still trying to focus on reception's needs and interests ) but it's fine the LA advisor has set me a deadline of 5th of Jan to have it organised :o

 

I plan to set up some workshop areas (size of classroom limits how many so I'm thinking carefully about what to include) and try to find a suitable balance of AI & CI (at the moment I'm thinking possible 2:1 split) I want to try and provide opportunities for lots of independent learning from children's interests while providing literacy and numeracy skills. xD I may operate a good old fashioned carousel or teach skills in the morning and apply through independent learning in the afternoon.

 

The class I'm inheriting has been taught very (and I mean VERY) formally no carpet area, working in silence ...

:( :( :( :wacko: xD :rolleyes: :unsure: ;):ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

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Emilia, Id really appreciate seeing an example timetable please. I have no problem with the FS ethos but moving it into yr1 and accommodating the reading tasks etc is proving a challenge!

 

I want to provide challenges as you describe but am also struggling to plan for this.

Marion how do you plan to get this up and running?

 

 

 

Susan I am attaching my weekly timetable. We have discreet sessions for word level work and number work as we have found it difficult to fit this into topics. We also have set times for outdoor games and PE and we spend an afternoon on Writers workshop which has teacher input and then group work but is also very practical.We do not have playtimes and if we feel the children need a break we all go out together but we are very lucky and all have immediate access to the outdoor so there are always some outdoor activities. I use the Sally Featerhstone books Carrying on in Y1 for my challenges as well as old copies of Infant Projects and of course EYE magazine and Nursery world are full of good ideas.

 

You will see lots of Challege Time with focussed group work on my timetable and this is when children work independently on their challenges and my TA and I work with focussed groups on whatever needs to be taught that week.

 

If you look at the International Primary Curriculum they have great ideas and their philosophy is one we subscribe to. It works for us and has taken many years to develop and adapt in our school.

 

Emilia

CLJ_weekly_timetables.doc

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Thanks Emilia, thats very useful. However, can you clarify how you introduce the challenges exactly please? I think from where I am, that may be the stumbling block.

 

We will have a major staff restructuring in school soon and will lose a lot of TA support and Id like to feel that I have this up and running before then. Im feeling constrained by the NC which is probably daft, if I can do it in reception Im sure I can do it in yr1 but we have limited space and limited resources at the moment.

I am also trying to work closely, in a team teaching situation probably with my yr group partner. At the moment she teaches mine PE and I teach hers ICT skills and we plan to use our joint PPA time to make sure our activities match more across the week. We need to have an Independent writing session every week too but we are not to assess the literacy focus we have taught that week in this. We have thought that after a teaching focus we could open our adjoining door and have focused groups both teachers and the TA and CI so that would fit your model, I think? We need to fit our reading, guided and individual in somewhere too.

 

Marion when you talk of teaching skills, do you mean literacy and numeracy only? I had hoped to do that this term but in practise it hasnt worked. Do you use the literacy/ numeracy units from the framework model or have you adapted this? Part of my PM is to embed Talk for Writing across year 1.

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Susan during ppa time we discuss what challenges we will make the following week and these are related to the topic and as the term goes on related to things we have seen from the children. If you think of challenge time as a more sufisticated Plan/Do/Review or child initiated but the adults are giving the challenge or provication and the children work at it in their own way.

 

So on a Monday after word work we will discuss the challenges for the week with the children and each child has their own challenge chart aand as the complete a challenge they will put this on their chart. Children can work on the challenges in any order they like but they know they should complte them all by the end of the week. During challenge time I will take a group to work on a specific aspect of learning, this will be literacy, numeracy, science, art or humanities. My TA does this also and while we are working with small groups the children are working on their challenges and becasue they are used to child initiated time in reception they get on very independently with the challneges.

 

In the first term in September my TA will suppor the challenge children and I work with a small group but once they are in the routine we can have two focussed groups.

 

I think this would work very well with your team teaching idea and your independent writing can be during a writers workshop or you could make it a challenge each week. Especailly as one of your focessed group times with probably be guided writing so you can give some really good input with the children during the week.

 

We fit in guided reading, guided writing, handwriting practice and shared writing every week. We do not hear individual readers but we do have parents who come in and share books with children. We also do daily phonics with all children and still find we have plenty of time.

 

We DO NOT use QCA and we DO NOT use the framesworks but we do use the NC programmes of Study and as we cover an area we highlight it and you will be amazed at how much is covered more than once in Y1 and Y2.

 

We found that this motivated children more and also gave us more satisfaction as class teachers as we could go into great depth if that is how the children wanted to go.

 

At the beginning of a topic we brainstorm / mind map with the children and as we cover the learning we highlight this and they can all see just how much they have learned over the course of a topic.

 

We also do not have lots of different excersise books we have a writing book, Maths book and all other work is done on paper and made into a book at the end of a topic.

 

We do not have a table and chair for every child we have two sets of three tables for our group work and one other set of three for art and craft and a couple for children to use for quiter activities in challenge time. Each class has a role play area and a book corner so it looks similar to reception.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Emilia

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I love the idea of challenge cards for each child. At the moment we have tick lists on each area and children put a tick by their name when they have visited the area but it's difficult to collate all the information as it involves looking at every list over and over to get a view of how each individual child is doing.

 

What sort of challenges do you set the children though? Could you give me some examples? I'm finding it really hard to come up with original and fun activities that the children can complete on their own.

 

Also we were told by an advisor not to run a carousel system in our year one class. She actually went so far as to call this a 'classic mistake' of extending the FS into KS1. Apparently because some children are ready a more formal KS1 style of learning, whilst other children should be almost completely working in a foundation stage way, so those with higher levels of ability should be accessing the continuous provision a lot less often according to this advisor. Seems odd to me, and if nothing else rather unfair on those poor children who have to sit down and work every lesson whilst all around them their friends are basically getting to play! What are everyone's thoughts on this?

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Kariana the types of challenges you could run are many and varied depending on the topic / theme you are working on at the time. so lets say it is Christmas one challenges could be to order the set of Christmas cards according to the story then make your own story to match the events. More able children will be able to write the story and less able can order and if you like you can also have test already written to match the cards. then design and make a Christmas Card, Build your own Bethlehem using the bricks and draw a map of your town etc etc.

 

Here are some other challenges from other topics

  • Make a game between you that is just about walking backwards with something on your head. Record your rules in instructions in whatever way you find best.
  • Build as tall a tower as you can to hold a football.
  • Find out which cutter will give you the most amount of cakes from one piece of dough.
  • Using twigs and peelers design and make a tool for mark making. What do you notice when you are whittling with the peelers?

 

As for your advisor s/he is a little out of date the new Rose Review and the Cambridge review are all saying children need to be more involved in their own learning and in the end remember they are only advisors and if you feel your children are making good progress then you do not need to take their advice. It is not about being more formal but about making progress.

 

The Sally Featherstone books mentioned by Emilia are really great and are full of good open ended challenges.

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Marion when you talk of teaching skills, do you mean literacy and numeracy only? I had hoped to do that this term but in practise it hasnt worked. Do you use the literacy/ numeracy units from the framework model or have you adapted this? Part of my PM is to embed Talk for Writing across year 1.

As I will have Y2 literacy and numeracy will be part of almost everything we do. Obviously literacy is part of everything we teach through speaking and listening to reading and recording so those skills are important but I also meant the skills of working and thinking independently, finding problems and solving them.

I won't be using the literacy framework (I haven't decided about numeracy yet - it has always been a bit more child friendly than literacy so I may use it or adapt it )

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Emilia, I have a few questions about challenge time:

 

do children always have to do one of the challenges that you set up, or can they think of other things they want to do as well?

can they do a challenge more than once if they want to?

what happens if they don't do a challenge?

do you or your TA ever work with children doing the challenges or are they always independent?

 

Thank you!

Megan

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Emilia, I have a few questions about challenge time:

 

do children always have to do one of the challenges that you set up, or can they think of other things they want to do as well?

Megan yes they do have to work through the 6 challenges we give them and this is becasue when we began this we left it very much like child initiated and we found the children were not progressing so we devise the challenges. However they are open eneded and if a child wants to go down their own track that would be fine.

can they do a challenge more than once if they want to?

Yes they could but they know they have to complete all 6 by the end of the week.

what happens if they don't do a challenge?

Then they will be asked to consider why and if they have a valid reason that is fine. if a child is continually not finsish ing a challenge I would be looking to see if i was expecting too much and adjust accordingly.

do you or your TA ever work with children doing the challenges or are they always independent?

At the beginning of the year when we introduce challenges in the first week either me or my TA will support the indepent challenges then we reduce this support as our aim for for them to support one another or to be independent and for us to work with focussed groups.

 

At the end of each challenge time different children will feed back to the group on how they have tackled a challenge, what they have discovered or made and children get a chance to ask questions of those feeding back and we do this is two groups led by myself and the TA.

 

Emilia

 

 

Thank you!

Megan

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Thanks Emilia, that is very helpful and very much how I would like to work. I have lots of that structure set up already but have been unable to get it off the ground.

It would really help if you could please show me some examples of your challenges so that I can share with my colleague, so that we both know what we are talking about!?

Thanks.

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As for your advisor s/he is a little out of date the new Rose Review and the Cambridge review are all saying children need to be more involved in their own learning and in the end remember they are only advisors and if you feel your children are making good progress then you do not need to take their advice. It is not about being more formal but about making progress.

 

The Sally Featherstone books mentioned by Emilia are really great and are full of good open ended challenges.

 

Sadly my head will take it as gospel and she considers this advisor to be 'excellent'. We are expected to implement everything she says.

 

I love the sound of all your challenges! My children have trouble working independently when they could be playing. If I sit them down formally they get on, but given a choice all my boys would rather play with the cars and all my girls would rather draw on whiteboards! Getting them to do the current set of challenges has proved quite difficult, how do you motivate your children to do them?

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Sadly my head will take it as gospel and she considers this advisor to be 'excellent'. We are expected to implement everything she says.

 

I love the sound of all your challenges! My children have trouble working independently when they could be playing. If I sit them down formally they get on, but given a choice all my boys would rather play with the cars and all my girls would rather draw on whiteboards! Getting them to do the current set of challenges has proved quite difficult, how do you motivate your children to do them?

 

Morning Kariana!

 

If your boys only want to play with the cars then build this into the challenges and likewise with the girls. On a monday when we introduce the challenges we do make it sounds as if what they are doing is 'playing a game' Then at review time we get another chance to put in a bit more 'oomph'!. boys like competition and I often hook into that. to begin with build the challenges around their interests and as close to the outcomes you want. It is so much easier to do this in September but if you tired after Christmas I am sure it could go well. Remeber that you will work with all the children in small focessed groups about 4 times during the week so that is when you get the input in. The challenges are about consolidating existing skills so should not require them to use skills or knowledge they don't already have but instead they are building up the practice for the skill to become automatic. A bit like the treading a path Pie corbett refers to in his Talk for Writing.

 

I will bring back some of my books from school and post somemore challenges later tonight.

 

Emilia

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OK here are some of the challenges i have used and all were taken from the Sally Featherstone books but adapted for the topic work we have been doing.

 

Using the magazine on the craft table find three things that give off light cut them out and stick in your challenge book and label them.

 

Go into the cave ( our Role Play area ) how does it feel to sit in the dark? Which torch in the science box gives you the best light in the cave? Draw or write your findings in your challnege book.

 

Design and make a pair off curtains that will bock out the light to the cave entrance. Record your design in your challenge book and you could also use the digital camera to record this design.

 

Design and build a house using whichever material you feel is most appropriate. Record in your challenge book.

 

Look at the maps and photographs and find the type of house that looks most like the one you live in. What type of house is this and what number do you live at. Record in your challenge book.

 

Look at the pictures of houses which one do you think is the oldest and which is the newest. Put them in a timeline and record using the digital camera. Explain to a firend why you have put the houses in order in yuor timeline or write it in you challenge book.

 

Listen to the music and as you do take your pencil for a walk on a large piece of paper. What do you notice about the marks? When you have finished you can fill the spaces using colours of your choice.

 

Look in the catalogues and chose one item you would love to buy. How much is the item and find three different ways to pay that sum of money.

 

In the water tray find out which bottle holds the most. Which two hold the same amount and which holds the least.

 

Survey the class and find out each persons favourite drink.What is the most favourtie and what is the least favourite. Record in your challenge book.

 

Draw a picture of an alien. Label all the best features and describe what kind or personality it has.

 

Complete the word search using a highlighter pen.

 

Draw a picture of your bedroom and label all the items in it.

 

In the construction area build with whatever you like. When you have finished write a label for your construction.

 

Roll out the playdough as thin as you can and then using the star / heart / circle / sqare / cutter see how many biscuits you could make. count and record in challenge book. Now put back together and try with a different cutter. do you get the same amount? Explain why.

 

Just a sample! We have a challenge book where the children record all of their work and it helps me to see if they are still at the drawing to explain or are beginning to write.

 

Emilia

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Hi Marion

 

I am Y1 this year but have had Y2 and our Y2 work this way also so the challenges will be a little more difficult etc but the systems are the same.

 

Also in Y2 we do the SATs tests in February so we can see where the children are and use them as formative rather than summative as at the end of Y2 teacher assessment has the weighting. So we do the maths, spelling and if we have any very able children in reading we give them the reading comprehension and that way it is over and done with, we use the info to plan and parents don't get upset as they don't know we are doing them!

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That is brilliant Emilia

 

which of the featherstone books have you taken these from?

 

 

Sorry should have said it is Meeting the Cahllenge in Y1 and they also have Carrying on in Y1 both excellent!

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That's great Emilia, thank you for posting these. We are going to start challenge books after the holidays and hopefully we can really get the children into using them and completing the challenges. Do you find that the chidlren remember about doing the challenges and what they are? (Most of my class wouldn't be able to read them) What do you do if a child isn't completing them each week or do you find this isn't a problem?

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That's great Emilia, thank you for posting these. We are going to start challenge books after the holidays and hopefully we can really get the children into using them and completing the challenges. Do you find that the chidlren remember about doing the challenges and what they are? (Most of my class wouldn't be able to read them)

 

They do remember to do the challenges Kariana if you make them exciting enough and I would start off with the kind of challenges you know they will all want to do. You may also want to leave your TA free to begin with so s/he can help out. Also when I introduce them on a Monday I make a big thing about it and each challenge has its' own symbol so for those who cannot read they can remember the symbol. Also check some children can read them and then they will be able to help for those who cannot!

 

What do you do if a child isn't completing them each week or do you find this isn't a problem?

Spend some time talking through with the child and see if you can find out why - then it may be you are making them too difficult or they are not the sort of thing that child is interested in or they are not open ended enough. Adapt them the following week and it is rare to find children not completing them!

 

Good luck I look forward to hearing how it goes!

 

Emilia

 

 

( thick thick snow here!!!! Whoopee!)

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Really great and interesting post! I am in reception but really want to move to year 1 in the future to take the best of foundation stage with me so really inspiring!

 

Just wondered if the challenges are differentiated, different children doing different challenges or is it all based on outcome? Would be very interested to see your planning - do you put learning objectives to the challenges?

 

Thanks!

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Hi KST

 

yes we do put leaqrning objectives to the challenges but we do not differentiate as they are so open ended but in the Sally featherstone book she does differentiate but for me it is about giving children some autonomy in how they solve a challenge so they are sometimes very individual.

 

We don't have to hand in weekly planning but I do write a day book so i am not sure how useful my planning would be.

 

Emilia

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I've been trying to buy that book "Meeting the Challenge" by Sally Featherstone but I can't seem to find it anywhere. Amazon doesn't seem to have any in stock. Is there anywhere else I can get it from where it won't cost a fortune? Or are there any others of her book you would recommend for this sort of thing? They're so expensive I don't want to buy them and then find out I've bought one that's not very useful after all!

 

 

Also I'm struggling to try and come up with a new timetable for next term which will leave the children more independent time and yet still allow me to fit everything in. After playtime, assembly and phonics I'm left with 2 hours in the morning and the other teacher has 2 hours in the afternoon. She's supposed to be doing the guided reading so at least that's one less thing for me to fit in. Could you give me an idea of how your week would run, particularly the mornings? I just can't seem to get everything to fit at the moment!

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