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Hi! I need some help please and hope that i have come to the right place!!!

 

I am teaching in recepetion and am keen to find out how other teachers run their weeks - am planning a new topic for next term - At the Farm and have loads of great ideas for activities - but how does everyone carry directed activities out within their classroom - without ending up with a standard 3 part lesson (intro, activities and plenary). This is the way i am most comfortable teaching, however i am aware that this is not reccomended in reception and i am thereore trying to adapt my provision. i am aware that some people have a carousel over the course of a week to ensure that all children have a CLL, MD, CD, KU linked to the topic but if this is the case - what is your carpet focus - have tried this and the children seemed a little lost when they left their maths input to an art activity - please help!!!

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I have a daily carpet focus for phonics and shared writing, sometimes incorporating a big book too, also for maths (rhymes, mental/oral, shapes etc). I teach music as a whole class and have one or two K&U whole class sessions a week (usually fairly short). My TA or I then catch the children as we need them to complete directed activities while the rest of the class follow child-initiated activities. - Always a bit of a juggling act but it seems to work for us :D

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how do you organise this into a timetable? Also, once the children have had thier literacy or numeracy input - how do they follow it up?

Thanks for your reply!

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I don't write up a formal timetable for each day of the week xD Apart from my whole class sessions I try and remain flexible :D However, I do have a series of activities which have to be completed over the week. Generally I have only 2 focused writing activities in a week. I have a focus group running after literacy each day and grab children as appropriate. Sometimes this work continues through part of the afternoon if I am in danger of not getting through it all! I also have a phonic or reading game running each day - some are self-correcting, others need a supporting adult (generally either a parent or a student). I always have a numeracy activity relating to my lesson - sometimes more than one (sand/water/dough/role play can all be used at different times as well as a table-top activity or game). The children work on their own at some of these activities and with an adult at others. I don't stress too much as long as the children all get a turn at the adult focus activities (usually 3 a week for maths). We review the children's work at carpet time.

Does this make sense?

I'm sure other teachers work in a much more formal way than me :o

No literacy or numeracy hours in my classroom yet!!!

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I have a carpet intro at the start of the session (morning or afternoon). There will then be an adult-led activity linked to the intro that each group will do at some point in the session. There will also be an independent activity linked to the intro that each group will do in the session.

I have 4 groups altogether so that means that at any one time 1 group is with an adult, 1 group is doing something directed independently and the other 2 groups are doing child-initated activities.

I try and have a sort of plenary at the end of the session.

I find this means that all though not everyone can do something related staight away it is not long before they do the activity - I used to run a carousel over the week but it annoyed me!

Also we try to put things in the areas that they can choose to go to that are related to what we have been doing eg when we did the farm we had farm animal cutters with the playdough, a farm mat in the small world area, pictures of tractors to inspire them in the construction area etc!

Sorry to ramble, hope that helps!

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I do more or less the same as you do and it works well most of the time. This seems the best to me as there is a mixture of child initiated and adult directed activites. I do not do a designated literacy or numeracy hour although sometimes i might have a session which is focused mainly on one or the other- just to give them a change and a taster. I make it fun tho'.

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  • 2 months later...

I am once again at loggerheads with the FS co (and the other teacher in a double classroom). Once again I had fallen into the trap of believing her when she agreed to getting rid of tables and working differently for September. Within a couple of days of going to the Early Excellence centre for inspiration, she has once again reverted to 'it won't work for these children (EAL) as they need to be comforted by routine and formality'.

 

Problem is, I'm going to make myself ill. I'm going to explain our current setup and although you will probably see the issues, will outline mine!!

 

Right, when the children come in (60) they play indepedently for 40 or so minutes. In that time, 2 TAs are usually preparing snack/sorting paperwork etc. 2 NNs are either preparing their carpet input (alternate between NN and Teachers/Lit/Num each week). FS Co. is often talking to NN or out of class on errands or maybe talking to the children. I'm usually talking to the children.

 

Stop entire class. Tidy away all the toys (setup on tables NOT areas). Sit class down for Lit (before break). 20 min carpet input. Send all four groups to table. Three groups get adult directed activity and one group gets directed independent work for 15/20 mins. Stop for snack. 15 mins playtime.

 

Come in from playtime. 20 mins numeracy input. 15/20 mins table activities (same adult/directed ratio). Lunchtime.

 

Come in from lunch. Register on carpet. Send a group for creative activity (another group to follow after they've finished), one group for a group read and one group will do indivividual reading, and a group for KU (another group to follow after they've finished). This is repeated daily until all the children have done all the activities. Adults ALL directing so rest of class are choosing (without facilitators causing chaos when boys get large construction blocks etc).

 

15 min playtime and 30 mins story. Home time. Same day in day out - Me cry!

 

This has been going on since September (yes September!) and has been going on for years and years. I've tried my hardest to encourage moving away from the formality of things. The argument is the children all 'look' busy at their tables and the activities are enjoyable. Thing is, they are not all ready for this. I've got a very low ability class this time and the acitivities are difficult to work with a group of 8 children, with obvious differing abilities within that group and attention spans of fish. It might be alright for her side of geniuses (I won't get into the fact that she sorted the children distribution out!!!!), but for mine it's hard. Especially when I'm an adult down and me and the NN have to juggle two groups each which means back and forward therefore not very productive or purposeful times at the table.

 

The continuous provision is seen as areas that are used when the children are choosing - so I feel I am unable to allow my children to use them during Lit and Num because they will distract the children down at the other end who are sat at tables. Therefore, my children sit at tables too. This means that for this week when my Lit focus was writing lists, the table time might have consisted of a variety of lit activities, but in the afternoons when I was busy elsewhere, I would start off by hinting that the children use the writing area to write me some lists - trouble is, coz I'm timetabled so rigorously, I can't get into the writing area to actually model at the beginning of the week - I can only do that as a whole class input during Lit.

 

I thought we were going to be moving away from this - I am being given false hope all the time. Yr 1 are sorting their transition out and showed me the plan for how they are going to be introducing FS elements in Sept - they have drawn up practically the exact plan I wanted to implement in Sept for Reception - and the FS co is now refusing to let me even go that far. So in the whole three classes of Yr - in my room I am going to have more tables than they are!!!! How ridiculous is that??!!!

 

She's not talked to me all week because I keep moving furniture down at my side and actually blasted me in front of the children yesterday afternoon because I did my own thing and shock horror actually carried out an activity with the children that I hadn't informed her about. What would usually take a whole week for my children to carry out (because of obviously splitting the groups up and 'sharing' the activity with the other class), took me an afternoon of fun with my class to complete !!! Best bit is, because the NN has group responsibility, it means that I only ever have really worked with three groups in my class - I have never had the opportunity to work with one group because they are the NNs home group!!! I have 8 children that I would be stumped about at parent's evening if she fell ill - I could muddle, but am sure you understand that they are not as well known as the other kids.

 

The only thing that is keeping me sane is the fact that I've talked to the head about the situation and he's coming in to monitor it (with his obs routine he hadn't thought he would need to include Rec straight away but has reassured me that he will be coming in). He's the new head. The FS co is a senior manager and married to the Chair of Goernors. It's hard to feel that I can trust anyone to air my concerns, but I've taken it by the bullet and gone to the head and he reassures me that things will be monitored - I had a case of verbal honesty diarrhea and told him that what the FS co often tells him is not fully what goes on - she is very misleading and sometimes I often believe she believes that she is doing the stuff.

 

Apart from that, I don't think there is anything else I can do. I'm getting support from other colleagues who know what she's like but it doens't help me or the children much.

 

Has anyone seen anything recent and of worthy read that denounces this type of setup in Reception. Forget the FS curriculum document and Early Years Advisors - they obviously don't hold much weight!!!! Anything that I can accidentally drop on her desk on Monday . . . coz despite being yelled at in front of the children, despite being told one thing one minute and one thing the next, I will get things sorted for the kids eventually - it just may mean me being physically sick each day before I go to work!!!

 

Thanks for the moan!!!

 

D xxx

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Oh Gater lots of empathy from me. I know about feeling physically sick when you get lots of mixed messages about what should be happening, and then you aren't allowed to carry out what you know is the right thing to do. I ended up having 2 weeks off with stress caused by a similar problem of mixed mesages and someone saying one thing, especially to Governors and LEA when they were really doing another. Hang on in there as you are doing the right thing and you are thinking of your children. Let's hope your new HT will be able to help you, but change wont happen all at once so you will need lots of support and TLC from us.

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Thanks JackieL it's nice to know that (about the support and not the stress!!!). Feel like I'm running round in circles. Don't want to sound like a winger with my colleagues, but have no one to talk about it at home either coz am the only teacher and no one seems able to empathise with my situation at home.

 

Don't also want to be seen as a trouble maker with the new head, but don't know what else to do. Was looking for a new job before Easter until the new head asked me to consider staying for a while longer and the FS co actually freaked at my looking elsewhere and started to be angelic - demon now resurfacing.

 

Don't expect immediate solutions, am aware that not everyone is keen on change, but am also not in the habit of being accepting of senior manager and fs Co going backwards and forwards with her decision making - leading a 3form reception class but hindering it if you know what I mean!

 

How long I can go on I don't know. Thought she was retiring, but she keeps holding on with claws! Taking it a day at a time gets wiery when you go in at a high only to be kicked down by the end of it - gets VERY wiery!

 

At least I can rely on somewhere and lots of support from you guys! Don't know what I'd do without this site - I've been teaching two years and been online with this site most of that time !!! THANKS to all !!!!

 

D xxx

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Gater, so sorry, I dont know what to say other than you must hang in there. Take each day as it comes and try to do something, just a little thing that will help you to feel that you are doing what you know is right. This is really difficult for you in a shared classroom but you should not be shouted at, and certainly not in front of the children and you should document and report that. Is your head aware of how desperate you feel?

All children need rules and routines to feel secure but this does not mean that they should not be appropriate and it is even more important for EAL children to develop their language through appropriate play based activities.

Keep talking. Good luck.

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Maybe you should wave the KEEP guidance at your FS co? (DfES 1201-2005 G)

Also - take alook at the new Foundation Stage Toolkit. Lots of lovely video footage on CDROM...

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It's probably coz its really late that I can't find those two suggestions on the web - any links would be muchly appreciated ASPK!!!

 

Thanks! Don't know what I'd do without you - probably be up a lot later than this worrying about stuff!

 

D xxx

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It's probably coz its really late that I can't find those two suggestions on the web - any links would be muchly appreciated ASPK!!!

 

Thanks!  Don't know what I'd do without you - probably be up a lot later than this worrying about stuff!

 

D xxx

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Both publications are available from DfES (tel 0845 6022260)

The KEEP document is available for download from the Web - www.standards.dfes.gov.uk

The Foundation Stage Toolkit is a set of 7 CDROMs (ref DfES 1198-2005 GCDI) designed for "Heads of children's centres, Headteacgers and Managers of early years settings"

CD1 = Birth to 3 Matters

CD2 = Sure Start Parents video

CD3 = Key Foundation Stage publications (curriculum guidance, KEEP, FS profile handbook, Planning for Learning)

CD4 = Seeing the FS profile (obs and ass)

CD5 = QCA building the profile (case studies for training)

CD6 = Effective Reception class practice

CD7 = Celebrating Young Children (exhibition video to "inform and inspire")

 

 

There is a further CDROM available from DfES from the exhibition entitled "Celebrating young children, those who live and work with them" , which isupposed to be even more comprehensive than CD7, but I haven't seen it yet.

 

The intention in my school is that the head and I will be using the Toolkit as INSET material to inform and inspire not only my Reception colleagues but also those in KS1 - especially relevant in view of the focus on improving transition :D

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