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Separate Focused Activity Time


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Hi,

Having read the Learning, playing and interacting document, I was very interested in the comment about keeping focused activity time separate from child-initiated time to avoid the two conflicting. Having always been advised to do focused activities with individuals or small groups while the other children were involved in CI play this was quite a new concept for me (although it was more like this when I started teaching reception and I changed my methods following advisor visits!). However, with support from some lovely people on this forum, I decided to give it a go.

So first thing we have one hour and fifteen mins of CI time indoors and outdoors with the children supported by three adults, followed by fruit & drinks, then focused activity time. This can be a whole-class activity e.g. PD in hall or key group activities or sometimes a mixture of the two. I plan the activities over the week, so sometimes we do different activities on different days or sometimes we can do the same depending on activity and resources etc (I think this is a bit like high scope but correct me if I'm wrong??).

So far, we have found the CI to be much calmer - not bringing children away from self-chosen activities (although we tried to avoid this as much as possible), time for us all to do long observations without rushing around, children much more involved in play as 1 more adult to support them and time to follow-up on individual next steps or target groups. The children seem much more engaged in focused activities because that's what we're all doing and they know we have tidied away the CI play equipment.

Would be interested to hear about anyone else who works in this way and if it is working for you?

Thanks

Green Hippo :)

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I run exactly the same except the other way around - adult led first. I agree with all your points, I find the chance to be involved in sustained shared thinking in CI time much better now that there isn't the pressure of adult led tasks at the same time. My only issue is I have 30 children and only 2 adults which makes small group time difficult in this structure so I have adult-directed tasks for children not working with in a group - this can take some work to get working well.

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We do run our focus activity sessions in this way although we also sometimes run them during CI time too. However we are pre-school and have a number of two year olds in the session, so it might work better for us because of that. When we do separate focus sessions we also leave a selection of activities for the younger children while they are relatively new to the setting as I feel it is unfair on them to only have one activity out while they are finding their feet. I feel a separate focus session would be my choice in a reception aged class as they are ready then for something more structured. I'm glad you've found a method that seems to be working for you.

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Hi, I think this would work better for us as well! I am struggling to fit everything in at the moment and therefore not doing anything well, especially observations!

COuld someone put a link on here for the document Learning, Play and Interacting as I can't find it.

Thank you.

 

Also could anyone tell me how they timetable their day when running their classroom in this way!

Thanks

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I have 28 children and 2 adults so I plan 2 independent activities which children are capable of doing themselves and my TA and I take a group each keeping one eye on the independent groups. This works really well, especially if the children know what goal they need to acheive in their group time. I roll the groups over 4 days so everyone has a go at all the activities.

Edited by Freefaller
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Well this is an interesting thread! ll year i have been told about not doing th above and low and behold they release a documet advising it! im confuddled?!

it sounds really interesting and the routine posted was really useful so i think im goig to run it by my o ordinator and maybe give it a go. i just want to clarify that the children all have focused activity time together?

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That's how it reads jennywren. Is everyone on this thread using this with Reception or mainly nursery? I am new to Reception and concerned about the ration of child to adult led/directed activities and having enough paper based evidence of work the children have done.

Thanks for the link and for sharing your timetable.

x

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I am in Nursery but the Reception class also manage their timetable this way. They start with teacher led then have child-initiated time which crosses over with the Nursery so they share the large room in the unit. Their afternoon follows the same pattern. I find it much easier to work out teacher-led to child-led ratios when working in this way. It also makes it easier to have free-flow outdoors even if there are only 2 adults - something I really struggled with last year when trying to run focused activities during child-initiated time.

Green Hippo x

Edited by green hippo
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well even though it gets my a bit grumpy that so many mixed messgaes are given to us all this is really interesting. iv downloaded the document and am gonna to have a ig thinking session, something i try often to avoid lo, and will let yous know how we get on. Thanks for shairng your experiences xxx

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I work this way too - have always worked in a similar way to 'High Scope', haven't changed with CGFS or EYFS because I know it works for our children! I find the children enjoy having a focused time and it really develops independence. (I still have the same sort of timetable that I had when I first taught Reception 20 years ago! -What goes around comes around!)

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This is really interesting! We are doing similar (keeping adult guided sessions separate) with two adults supporting two groups and 4 other groups working at set goals whether on carpet, in role-play or at a table. We swop groups through the week, so everyone has a turn at each goal. Child-initiated time is then in the afternoon.

 

I'd love to know whether those of you who work within whole class adult guided groups, like above, have a common aim during this time. For example is a morning session given over to a CLL objective, with differentiated groups looking at the same objective through different environments, or do you have PSRN on one table CLL on another. We do the latter, following a whole class adult led starter which only relates to one of the groups on any particular day- but it doesn't work!

 

Sorry for going on - hope you understand what I'm trying to ask - not sure if I've made myself clear :o

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We have two carpet groups, these are mixed ability but within these groups I have them grouped for maths activities as ch working at different objectives. Children sometimes stay in one group e.g. next week we are going to be looking at the names and sounds of garden birds, i have bought some lovely puppets and we are going to make some feeders so i will do that together, but the second carpet group maybe working on something else e.g. maths activity etc.

 

Once adult group time finished, the childrne then go into free flow. My classroom has areas of learning that are enhanced for the week, fornight, half term etc etc. So next week one of activities outdoors will be to make a bird seed feeder, it doesnt matter if a child from another group wants to join in.

 

Adults move around areas of learning, sometimes having a target group to work with e.g. i have a small group of ch who do not know colours so i have a lovely lotto game which they play with an adult, also mix the group with ch who lack confidence speaking in a familar group. The other adults would be on free flow.

 

I dont know if this is good practice, been trying to find out what others do, i think no one setting is the same, based on size of setting, adult ratio's and needs of ch and maybe thats why we feel frustrated because we are trying to find one uniformed way which doesnt exist. Have come up with planning sheet for each group- for adult led sessions at beginning of nursery. Also a planning sheet for letters and sound based activities which are planned at end of session 11.00-11.25.

 

I guess it is about what works for your setting.

 

All staff make observations, long and short throughout the session and we all feedback and share good practice etc etc so i need to chill and relax when it comes to short term planning!!!!!!!!!!! :o

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I'd love to know whether those of you who work within whole class adult guided groups, like above, have a common aim during this time. For example is a morning session given over to a CLL objective, with differentiated groups looking at the same objective through different environments, or do you have PSRN on one table CLL on another.

 

We follow the needs of the class and children's interests. Usually, one adult-led activity will be CLL based, everyting else will depend on what we need to develop that week.

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We follow the needs of the class and children's interests. Usually, one adult-led activity will be CLL based, everyting else will depend on what we need to develop that week.

 

 

Thanks freefaller - that's kind of what we do.

 

The problem I'm getting is that we are doing a whole class adult led carpet session followed by groups. Only one of these groups then follows through the carpet sesion with an adult focus while the rest do other things - often unrelated. Then we come back to the carpet and are supposed to move the learning on - but of course every group has been doing different things! without an adult to scafoold learning or engage in sustained shared thinking. It just seems to me like we should be helping the children to get more out of the learning time,if we are having to tell them which activities they are doing during group time. How do you do this?

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When I taught Reception, all our actvities during teacher-led time were related to the introduction but often with cross-curricular links e.g. if the shared book was the 3 little pigs, the independent groups would try to make houses out of different types of construction or asked to role-play out the story or make simple puppets to use to re-tell the story etc. The activities would sometimes be rotated through the week or sometimes the more able might have different activities to the less able groups. In the first half of the year the activities would only be short so the groups would swap half-way through, by the second half of the year the children could generally keep their concentration for longer so we wouldn't swap. Towards the end of the year we often had 2 groups doing the same activities simultaneously - both supported by the adult where the support was needed. I was on my own for half of the time and this organisation worked well. The only problem we encountered at times was that some children find it difficult to listen to and remember instructions so needed reminding through the activity.

Green Hippo x

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Thanks green hippo. This is a really interesting thread you've started.

 

Does anyone do a sort of 3 part lesson in Reception during adult guided time? - this is what is expected of me during obs at the moment (and i'm really sorry if it offends anyone :o but I kind of like the formality for short sessions). It just doesn't work with the planning which does not allow any assessment of what the groups working alone have learned / are interested in, or need to build on.

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It just doesn't work with the planning which does not allow any assessment of what the groups working alone have learned / are interested in, or need to build on.

Just answering to the quote above.

My children are beginning to understand their goal which they get before they start their group time. In small group recall time we discuss if they achieved that goal and how - self assessment in a way. My top group is really on the ball with it.

Edited by Freefaller
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