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All Children Taking Part In Whole Class Work In A More Formal Manner.


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Hi All

 

Apart from the occasional carpet session I don't have my class taking part in a whole class activity, I am far more informal than that. Most carpet sessions are small groups, as are any teacher led activities throughout the day. However my colleague is a big believer in introducing whole class sessions to prepare them for year one. She does this by teaching whole class handwriting every week, starting with an input session on carpet and then a carousel of activities that the children move round in order, when directed to do so.

I can kind of understand the logic behind this but I still feel that it is better to withdraw small groups of children to do handwriting/motor skills work (depending on ability) whilst the others continue exploring CP. What are your thoughts?

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not in reception so a personal view this one..

 

what you are doing is in line with EYFS, and is what I believe should be happening...

 

as to the reason for doing the 'formal' teaching.. in preparation for... this is not what reception is about.. it has its own 'curriculum' and this is what should be followed, I do not believe that is a place to prepare them for the next year.. if this is the case does year 1 work all year to prepare then for the next year... after all that is what logic would dictate..

 

now over to someone else who can give the reasons in a more constructive way...

 

 

Inge

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I always did a combination of whole class and small groups and I see no problem with this. I don't see any reason not to have some short sharp whole class sessions, spread throughout the day, and you may well find the children are used to this depending on what setting they have come from (if any).

 

It isnt about preparing children for year one, and it is a good opportunity for you and your year group partner to reflect on why you do/dont agree with it.

 

It isn't in my view, anti EYFS to have a whole class for story/rhyme, phonics, music or dance, PSRN input, etc, but its a good idea to think about

 

what you might do in a whole group session

When you would do it

How long it would last for

How often during the day.

 

 

Like with all things EYFS, I believe its about balance.

 

Im sure there will be a variety of opinions on this one!

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Hi

just to say I agree with Inge...I feel the children should come first. What you do is the kind of reception routine / approach I'd be happy to know our preschool leavers were going into!

 

However my colleague is a big believer in introducing whole class sessions to prepare them for year one.

 

Empathise with you here....I am still having to deal with my staff team feeling this way..."we have to get them ready for reception" -

This is such a 'niggle' for me lately and it starts early ... in my placement setting I was horrified to hear baby room staff saying we have to get the babies sitting still and listening ready for the toddler room routine :(:o

 

Inge put it very well...why should we have to prepare children for the next stage when the 'statutory' emphasis on us is to be child centered and play based! It's not our fault that the rest of the education system doesnt work to these ideals - yet...WE are the 'foundation' and should stand firm. There is a steady move happening to bring the others (yr 1 and even 2) in line with us...but that will take time.

 

The classes our children progress to should instead take into account where they've come from..the stage they are at now and take it from there.

 

Definitely resist this pressure - you are doing the right thing! xD

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Guest LornaW

Yes agree it is not about prepaing for the next stage it is about what is right now for each child it is the job of the Y1 teacher to build on YR. There are times when whole class is appropriate say in singing or story but this is not about preparing them for Y1!!!!

 

Lorna

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I currently teach year 1 and I do not want the reception teachers to prepare the children for year1, how can they possibly do that, they are not me and my whole class/ small group activities will never be quite the same as theirs as we are working in different class set ups etc.

 

However, as Mundia says there are times in all classes when whole class groups are appropriate and others when small groups work better. In my experience as a reception teacher, towards the end of the reception year there are times when children enjoy the challenge of what might be considered a more formal reaching situation but it should still be appropriate for the children's needs.

 

Children's behaviour is a good indicator of whether they are being appropriately taught and managed so I dont think there is actually a right or a wrong answer to this one, for some people and children it will work, for others it wont!

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I don't have a problem with short whole class sessions in reception - sometimes it's the best way to teach something.

I wouldn't teach handwriting as a whole class session as it isn't effective and I wouldn't do it to prepare children for the following year I really hate the whole idea that nursery is the preparation for school and reception is preparation for Y1 and primary is preparation for ...

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I do have short whole class sessions at times. As others have said, sometimes it is the best/easiest way.

 

I don't do it for handwriting though - when I have done it with much smaller groups, I have been able to really meet the needs of individuals.

 

And ..... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr to REception having to be prepared for Year 1!

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Don't get me wrong I do teach whole class work as sometimes it is appropriate, it is normally a carpet session, I wouldn't then set the children off on the same activity, all completing it at the same time, I just see that as a far more year One model.

The handwriting for example, I would rather teach a group of 4 children for 10 minutes than have the whole class rotating around handwriting activities for 40 minutes. Especially because only 2 activities have an adult on them, so the other 2 are just keeping the children occupied until they rotate round to an activity led by an adult. Doesn't it make more sense to allow the children to follow their own interests during the time they are not doing a teacher led handwriting activity?

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Don't get me wrong I do teach whole class work as sometimes it is appropriate, it is normally a carpet session, I wouldn't then set the children off on the same activity, all completing it at the same time, I just see that as a far more year One model.

The handwriting for example, I would rather teach a group of 4 children for 10 minutes than have the whole class rotating around handwriting activities for 40 minutes. Especially because only 2 activities have an adult on them, so the other 2 are just keeping the children occupied until they rotate round to an activity led by an adult. Doesn't it make more sense to allow the children to follow their own interests during the time they are not doing a teacher led handwriting activity?

 

I agree, I think children benefit from accessing continuous provision when not engaged in adult led tasks. I actually still think this in year 1 but that's probably another topic altogether! I do whole class teaching for some short carpet sessions and story/song/ circle time. The rest is in small groups which is much more beneficial to the children. x

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Don't get me wrong I do teach whole class work as sometimes it is appropriate, it is normally a carpet session, I wouldn't then set the children off on the same activity, all completing it at the same time, I just see that as a far more year One model.

 

:o I wish it wasn't. What makes year one children so 'ready' for all sitting down at the same time and doing the same activity. I try to avoid it like the plague in my classroom and indeed am spending the summer trying to find somewhere to store the many tables and chairs that I have just removed from my newly inherited year one classroom at a new school. That's another story altogether though!

 

Sorry to hijack the thread with a small rant there!

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:o I wish it wasn't. What makes year one children so 'ready' for all sitting down at the same time and doing the same activity. I try to avoid it like the plague in my classroom and indeed am spending the summer trying to find somewhere to store the many tables and chairs that I have just removed from my newly inherited year one classroom at a new school. That's another story altogether though!

 

Sorry to hijack the thread with a small rant there!

 

Totally agree Kariana. Good luck with your new school. Is your head happy to embrace your approach in year 1? I'm excited that from September year 1 will taught more like you describe. x

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Totally agree Kariana. Good luck with your new school. Is your head happy to embrace your approach in year 1? I'm excited that from September year 1 will taught more like you describe. x

 

 

Yes luckily she is. I think part of the reason I was put into the year one class (the job was advertised as KS1 originally so could have been 1 or 2) is that I had the experience of bringing continuous provision into year one already from my school this year. Hopefully she'll continue to support it when she sees it in action! Everytime my head walked in last year the classroom seemed to be in chaotic uproar, but luckily the results proved it was working so the head was more than happy to let me get on with it. Will be more of a challenge this year as a lot of the children are coming in above average, whereas my class last year were all below average when I got them!

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Kariana, Im fighting this battle too, but working in a very small space with few resources. If I remove the tables and chairs I dont think I will actually gain much. Can you share how you have been working please. I know what I want to do but cant get the doing right!

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Kariana, Im fighting this battle too, but working in a very small space with few resources. If I remove the tables and chairs I dont think I will actually gain much. Can you share how you have been working please. I know what I want to do but cant get the doing right!

 

The key thing is to move away from having one seat per child. Once you let go of that idea you will find yourself wondering why you ever sat them all down together in the first place, and it isn't anywhere near as chaotic as it sounds! I often set my children off doing activities on the carpet that they might previously have done at tables and on the rare occasions they all need to write or draw together 5 year olds think nothing of lying on the carpet with a book to lean on as they write. Indeed by choice many of them write, colour or draw that way by preference when they have completely free choice.

 

I have only two sets of tables for groups to work at. There are also tables for other things, such as one which always has a small world tray on it, a couple at the edge of the classroom for the writing area, listening area and computer area etc. Once you've got rid of some tables and chairs you'll find that any other furniture can suddenly be used in new and creative ways. I've taken some drawer units that were previously against the wall and set them up as dividers at different points in the classroom. Experimenting during the holidays is the key! My big problem this year is that I have no nice corners in my classroom for roleplay or reading areas etc due to there being a lot of fixed kitchen style units around the edges, as well as lots of windows and doors, however I'm using the furniture to create them and the classroom is gradually taking shape, although it will probably be moved around another ten times before I'm happy with it!

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Thanks Kariana, cant get into my classroom this holiday due to work going on elsewhere! I do intend to create areas but not sure how I am going to manage my weekly (silent) independent writing slot which is non negotiable, in group???

 

How do you challenge your independent workers?

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Thanks Kariana, cant get into my classroom this holiday due to work going on elsewhere! I do intend to create areas but not sure how I am going to manage my weekly (silent) independent writing slot which is non negotiable, in group???

 

How do you challenge your independent workers?

 

 

They have challenges which they complete during their independent time (there's much discussion about these in the year 2 area of the site so I won't repeat it all here). They work really well though and the levels of independence and self confidence demonstrated by my class last year were beyond anyone's expectations, even mine!

 

As for your weekly silent writing slot: poor children! I hate it when management thrust things on you that are obviously not appropriate for the age group. On the other hand can they not do their silent writing on the floor? Mine used to do their spelling tests on the floor, as well as their maths assessments (another management thing!) and they manged to do it silently without a fuss. Writing on the floor is actually good for those with poor fine motor skills anyway as it strengthens the wrists. They also used to make use of other tables at this time such as the writing table or listening area and because the stuff out on those tables was there all the time and because they knew what the expectations were there was not the problem you might expect regarding fiddling with things or being distracted by the equipment right next to them.

 

Hope that helps and poor you not being able to get into your classroom over summer! I don't think I'd feel at all prepared come September!

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Thanks Kariana, I dont like the idea of children writing on the floor to be honest ut thats me! You have reassurred me about the other organisational things as ideally I would like space to set up and a working space for every child but my classroom really isnt big enough. I am going to need to take my role play and book corner into the corridor working space as it is and painting and malleable play has to go there too, so all a big squash!

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Guest tinkerbell

Hi Susan

Small classroom is a nightmare,I even have another classwalking through mine to get to theirs so I have lost a corner straight away! and I have to think of our noise level all the time so as not to disturb them!

 

I have a creative table which I leave empty at the start of the day and when I have done my imput we write a menu on the board of what the children would llike to do so it then turns into,junk modelling or painting or dough,ordrawing etc etc...the children get really good at setting it up or my TA does whilst we are still planning the activities.

 

Because of the size of the room I take it half termly to have sand or water,luckily I have both outside.

 

All the time I am moving things around and changing to suit the children and what we are doing.For more space I too get rid of tables (stick them in a corner in corridor)then drag them back in to make a huge creative table if more children want to work there...its a hassle but has become part and parcel of the job.

 

I only have 6 yr1 (17 reception) and I do like them to do handwriting and written work in books at the table.I teach correct posture when handwriting etc call me old fashioned!.If not at the table the children have their own writing /mark making area office ,white boards, iwb,clipboards,class lists,etc that they write on ,on the floor,beanbags,outside etc.

 

Tinkerbell

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Susan, could the 'silent writing' be done by groups at different points in the week, therefore enabling to sit at tables? Or do they have to do it all at the same time?

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Yes luckily she is. I think part of the reason I was put into the year one class (the job was advertised as KS1 originally so could have been 1 or 2) is that I had the experience of bringing continuous provision into year one already from my school this year. Hopefully she'll continue to support it when she sees it in action! Everytime my head walked in last year the classroom seemed to be in chaotic uproar, but luckily the results proved it was working so the head was more than happy to let me get on with it. Will be more of a challenge this year as a lot of the children are coming in above average, whereas my class last year were all below average when I got them!

 

I think that is brilliant. More schools should be doing what your KS1 are obviously moving towards. They are lucky to have you. Good luck and let us know how it goes. I love a good transition story! All the best.

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Yes agree it is not about prepaing for the next stage it is about what is right now for each child it is the job of the Y1 teacher to build on YR. There are times when whole class is appropriate say in singing or story but this is not about preparing them for Y1!!!!

 

Lorna

 

 

Totally agree Lorna - i sidetracked on my consultation form and said exactly this :)

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What on earth are you all doing worrying about school in the holidays. The best teachers are those who have a life outside school and don't become bogged down with different personalities and rules. Find time to be free - smell the roses and have a break from school.

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What on earth are you all doing worrying about school in the holidays. The best teachers are those who have a life outside school and don't become bogged down with different personalities and rules. Find time to be free - smell the roses and have a break from school.

 

Tin, this made me chuckle .........................................................is this tongue in cheek? .....since you obviously aren't smelling the roses and having a break hahaha .....because you are here. I think for many of us holidays are a time when we can sit back and have some thinking time and reflect on the changes we can/ want to make. I personally feel much more relaxed when i start a new term feeling organised, which I think you can only do if you put some time in. That doesn't mean we don't have a life outside of school.

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