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Team Teaching In Reception


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I am currently in an interesting and exciting position...in July our school is closing and amalgalating with another in a brand new building. The school will be two form entry and the Reception classes will be opposite each other with a large, enclosed shared area between teh two.

 

I feel that this situation would lend itself well to tam teaching, however I have spoken to a number fo people who teach in this way but plan and structure their day very differently.

 

some introduce separately, then allow free flow between the rooms but call children from their own class group to take part in small group activities. others take turns to introduce or introduce together and then run separate activities which they call all children from the year group to take part.

 

My question is therefore how do you plan and structure your days? How do you feel this works? and how do you track the children's learning?

 

I look forward to hearing your opinions.

 

Thanx

Annette

 

ps there are currently 29 children on the roll to start in Reception in September but it is expected that once the school opens the numbers will increase rapidly, with a maximum capacity of 48 children.

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Hi Annette, sounds lovely!

How many adults will you have at any one time?

I tried to set up a team teaching Reception unit, 90 children with 3 teachers, 3 NNs and 3 pt LSAs. Unfortunately because our building was old, the internal connections were not good but we did all have access to the same outside space. However, I think we could have overcome the internal limitations had all the staff been on board! It would also have been easier with less children to manage, as we all balked somewhat at the idea of possibly 90 children to track!

We had set up our 3 classrooms as curriculum areas and each teacher and NN team had their own class. We did find however that the children were reluctant to move away from their class bases and setting up activities in another curriculum area outside your home base was tricky. We never quite got all those things sorted and felt eventually that we were wasting too much time and returned to 3 classrooms. I do feel that this was a missed opportunity and a backward move and feel that we as staff needed to be more in tune with the idea than I can see we were, in hindsight!

So, if you can set your classrooms and shared space to be cross curricular, ie one sand area, one creative area etc rather than duplicating provision in both rooms you might be well on the way to acheiving what you hope to do. then I would suggest that you and the other teacher have joint ownership of the space as this will also help the way you interact within it. You may decide within this that you want a set base for registration or you may decide to rotate.

I think you will need to make it clear to the children what is on offer across the space and that it is better to do that within your own groups. I would also suggest that you have take responsabiluty for the record keeping for your own registration groups but that you devise a means whereby the teacher/ adult with an activity is offering this across the year group rather than just her class and reporting back to the other in some way. if you limit activites to your own registration group you are going to be limiting th einteraction of the children and the team teaching that you want to establish.

Hope that makes some sense, I could probably continue but you need some other opinions here!

Good luck.

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Susan I am currently in the position of 'remodelling' a three form entry reception area. We have one big room (with two classes in it) and a third classroom next door. The third classroom does not have direct access to outdoor. We are currently putting our heads together to think of how this could be managed. The reception teacher in the third room is reluctant to take on the concept of having 'three areas' and the classes moving between each at timetabled times of the day because she has a good, established working environment in her classroom. She feels content with what she does, rightly so, and is at the moment finding it very difficult to visualise how moving around so much will do the children any good.

 

If anything, her concerns are that if we do set up the three themed areas, then the children will not have the access to continuous provision all the time, toilet access will be confusing (as at current the third reception room has a different set of toilets), that behaviour will be a problem with the children being constantly changed around and not having a 'base', that the differing teaching approaches will clash with one another i.e. what is acceptable a teaching task at one end of the room may be interfering with what the 'other' teacher in the room may not be too happy with etc. These are issues she feels strongly about.

 

I agree with what she is saying but I also see the possibilities of the other way of working. As a teacher in the big room, I clash with the FS co because of my desire to use the continuous provision all the time for all my teaching activities, whereas the FS co at the moment wants the children all at the tables all of the time. The third reception teacher does not work like this and understandably doesn't.

 

How did you manage it, and on reflection, how would you manage it now to get everybody and the children on board??

 

Thanks for allowing the rant!!!

 

D xxx

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hi Gater

personally I am convinced that this is the way to move Reception classes forward but I also think that to do this you need to have all staff on board. You have already acknowledged that one of your teachers has reservations and that they may be justified. You will have to convince her that you have satisfactory answers but if she is secure in what she does within her classroom, she may be able to move this into the bigger area.

 

We eventually reverted back to our 3 classrooms, but I felt this was a backward move overall. However one of the reasons why we decided to do this was because the children did not free flow and therefore limited themselves in their access to resources and provision. We identified this as a problem very early on but were unsuccessful in getting the children to mix across all 3 rooms. The only children who did move were inclined to do so as a drifting process and were therefore time wasting and unsettled! We recognised that we needed to indicated to the children what was available at all times and in an attempt to encourage children to mix tried getting together for each "teacher" to describe what they were doing each day, but this took up too much time!

 

I think we needed to develop a more high scope approach, of plan, do and review with visual symbols but I did not feel qualified to do this without knowing much more.

 

We also found the sharing of our classrooms very difficult.

 

Time management became an issue when teaching focus times over ran and we felt pressurised to continually clock watch to make sure we were all moving round at the right times. Teaching focus times lost their spontaneity and flexiblity to respond to the children.

 

Behaviour was made an issue by one teacher which in turn was reflected in lack of encouragement for free flow but with an expectation that children will be ok, I dont think this would have been an issue.

 

Unless all 3 of you are aboard though, I think you will find this quite difficult to implement. it certainly sounds at the moment as if the 2 of who share the bigger classroom need to move towards a more consistent way of working before you can take your other colleague on board.

 

Good luck and please ask any other questions you need to. I will be intereted to hear how you get on.

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We always placed adults in different spaces and focus areas depending on the planned curriculum. They moved areas often and the children moved around because they weren't fixed to a "Class" or "teacher" except for assessment purposes. All areas were planned for as if they were one big classroom and we shared the responsibility of setting up wherever was needed, not just "my room". Self registration also prevented the lock down into one room for ages in the morning. Groups were callled as required and according to differentiation across the cohort, we thought about all the children as one class (60, 2 form entry). 3 - 4 adults in a 2 room + outside arrangement. (Old victorian school). I would say don't try to herd children around to a rigid timetable of who's where when which just wastes their time, and makes everyone frustrated. You might as well be in different classes in that scenario I think.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi there, we are a 1 or 2 class entry Early Admission's Reception ( if that makes sense - depends on the numbers each year) and over the last few years have tried to make it work as a team teaching situation in a number of ways - we haven't found many solutions but there are a number of things I would suggest you consider as a starter

 

- the geography of your area - does it allow for the flow of children or does it cause children to become ' locked to one area' Can improvements be made to 'open out the space' - knocking walls down maybe ! What about outside access? Does the geography alllow children to make links between areas of learning and how best can you promote this by the positioning of different provisions e.g. making area near paint ( We are forever moving our areas around in the hope that we will find the best layout - having a cloakroom area for shared equipment such as sand / home corner and wooden blocks is NOT ideal!

- which areas will be which and who will be responsible for planning and teaching in these areas - how will you gather observations etc.

- how will the children be grouped in each base on age / mixed age / will their be a gender/ other balance in each base if the children are split on age?

- How will staff move round the areas - we found that some children stayed with a certain staff member at the start of the year and weren't accessing the full range of provision - we have tried rotating 4 staff around 4 areas but we all ended up confused - it seemed to work best at the start of the year but by April we have tended to move back to class bases.

- Where will the children have 'group times' we have tried a number of ideas / splitting children 3 ways and delivering 3 different group times which each child experiences each day We also tried having a maths 'teacher' and 'lit teacher' but we found it so hard to keep track of our children and really know their abilities especially when we had to report back to parents. We also tried a 'key worker' system last year which seemed to work really well. All staff had 12 chidlren in their groups / all ahd a group base and all delivered 3 x 10 min inputs to their groups at the start of the year. By Christmas we had begun to integrate the children into a larger class group for some experiences.It depends in the level of expertise of staff - this year we appointed a new member of staff who wasn't confident with expectations etc so we haven't run this system but we will certainly be considering it at the start of the new year.

Hope you are able to make sense of this and that it gives you some ideas - I'd like to hear about other ways people have of team teaching - it is certainly a very positive experience but I am certain that geography of the area is an essential ingredient in making it more or less successful.

Good luck !

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PS we found giving the areas a title e.g Clown room / Quiet area ( it never was!) gave the children the idea that there wasn't a class base - you could use colours or something like that it took us away from Mrs's .....classrooom !

Let us know how you get on !

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