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Tracking Childrens Free Choice


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Hi Everyone!!

 

I have never posted on here before but would like a bit of advice!!

 

I work in a foundation stage classroom in a primary school.

 

Following our recent Ofsted we were asked to consider tracking the childrens free choice in more detail.

The inspector suggested that each child should show their choices of where they have played on a didplay of some sort (hope that makes sense! :o )

 

Was wondering how others do this

 

Thanks Chlo

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Hi Everyone!!

 

I have never posted on here before but would like a bit of advice!!

 

I work in a foundation stage classroom in a primary school.

 

Following our recent Ofsted we were asked to consider tracking the childrens free choice in more detail.

The inspector suggested that each child should show their choices of where they have played on a didplay of some sort (hope that makes sense! :o )

 

Was wondering how others do this

 

Thanks Chlo

 

what about having laminated photos of different areas of your classroom on a display board/wall/book (something!) and the chn stick a photo of themselves or their name card on the photo when you have finshed CIT? something titled 'Look where I have been working today' or similar? You could then use it to talk about what the chn did in the session and what they were learning while they were there. If you really wnated to you could make a note of who played where before the next session and then you would have a record. We do the review like this at the end of CIT and it is good for giving others ideas about what they could make/do/play next time and helps the chn reflect on learning. In fact think I might make a display like that!

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We have a board with all children's names on and they use visual timetable type symbols to show where they would like to go and work during the session. I work in a FSU and use this with the YR children and will be looking to introduce with Nursery ch this year.

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Thanks, this is what our inspector said was just wondering how it worked in 'real life' with a class size of 30. Gonna need a big display board and a lt of room! :o

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Thanks, this is what our inspector said was just wondering how it worked in 'real life' with a class size of 30. Gonna need a big display board and a lt of room! :o

 

you got me thinking about it now! I am reluctant t use any boards for permanent displays. Could be better to have a photo in each area for chn to attatch their name to- wouldn't need so much room in one display that way. Or as H said, each child could have a card/sheet that they attatch the picture for where they worked, could be kept in a box or their tray rather than a big board.

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Hi Chloe

 

In truth - it doesn't work in real life! I work in lots of schools and have seen a number of systems, some involving photographs, some involving tick sheets, some signing in sheets. What invariably tends to happen is that children forget, because, they are not remotely bothered if they have self tracked their free play or not!

 

I once saw a Reception teacher end a session by 'roasting' the children about the fact they had forgotten to sign in to every area they had visited. She waved signing in sheets at them and exclaimed 'there are only 3 names on this list and I know for a fact that at least 10 people have been in here!'

 

This was also a school who had been asked to track free choice by Ofsted. My question is (as always) Why?

 

Once you have got to the bottom of that it will answer the 'How' question for you.

 

The usual Ofsted argument is...how do you know that the children are learning when they are not on a focussed activity? Tracking free choice is NOT the answer. Just because I visited the sand does not mean that I learned anything. I might have just gone in to tell my friend that I had saves the Barbie dress for her - and then come out again!

 

DO NOT stress over tracking systems that children will not use. Look at recording how you target your focussed activities - on who (or is it whom?), how often and why

 

Then - record how you have created challenge in your continuous provision based on the needs of your children. By that I mean: If your assessment of the children's markmaking shows that you have some emergent mark makers, some gross motor mark makers, some pincer grippers and some writers then your mark making area should have resources that meet all of those needs.

 

If I was to ask you why your mark making area had been set up in the way that it has you should link the set up back to need identified by assessment. The same goes for all of your areas.

 

You cannot guarantee what a child will do in an area when there is no adult there, but what you can do is reduce the risk of them doing nothing by 1) having appropriate resources and 2) setting levelled 'challenges' within areas for the children to complete accross the day/week.

 

I have just set up a mark making area in a school Nursery and I know that there are going to be a lot of gross motor mark makers so my mark making area is HUGE and I have mounted a curtain pole on the wall with a HUGE roll of paper on it which the children can pull down onto the floor (like a loo roll) and work on it big style!

 

I have posted a picture of it on my blog abcdoes.typepad.com

 

Another very effective system is to regularly plan out one of your staff for environment observation. This is a brilliant way of letting you know which parts of your environment are being used and by who/whom (here we go again!)

 

Make a list of all of the areas and then visit each one in turn over a period of a couple of hours. I record how boys and how many girls as that often makes interesting discussion about resourcing. Do it on different days at different times to get a good picture and then review your set up in light of your findings. Make sure you keep all of your tracking documents and your actions for anyone who wants to look.

 

Hope this helps

 

Alistair

 

ABC Does

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I love the expression 'Gross Motor Mark Makers', which is one rarely used - I shall adopt its usage if you don't mind. The curtain pole paper roll sounds a fabulous idea I'm off to check out your blog now.

 

Personally, I like the idea of children identifying where they've visited, but agree that in practice at nursery age, it just isn't going to work. Good old observation as Alaistair suggests sounds good to me, with photographs taken of areas throughout the day would help identify whose using which areas.

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