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Guest JulieH
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Hi

I would be grateful for any advice any of you can give me. I have just moved into Reception after four years in Year 3 (my first post). I am teaching in a one form entry school and have had little support from within apart from being given copies of the Foundation Profile and Curriculum Guidance.

 

I have one classroom assistant in the mornings and a different one in the afternoons in a class of 28 at present, two afternoons I am on my own.

 

I have just experienced a week with a staggered intake of 8 to 14 with the remainder of the children starting next week. I love the age group :o , although I am finding the organisation quite overwhelming. How will I manage when the whole class are in I wonder? Especially on the afternoons when I have no other adult support.

 

I am also finding the whole planning process quite daunting. What time do I allocate to each area of learning? Does Short Term planning really have to be as intensive as the proformas I have seen i.e. separate detailed ones for each of the six areas weekly? I would be grateful for any ideas on how to simplify and yet still show I am addressing the learning objectives. Is there any good literature which will help with planning i.e. through topic areas to cover the six strands?

 

I have been reading some of your post on this site today and I realise I have very little understanding of the idea of child initiated activities. How much play should they have? My understanding is that I teach whole mornings of Literacy or Numeracy activities with a rolling programme of focused activities. Should I also be allowing children to choose activities during this time i.e. such as the home corner or toy cars etc.?

I have planned in my head that the children will have more chance to play on an afternoon, i.e. through Knowledge and Understanding and Physical and Creative Development, but how teacher led should these activities be?

 

I apologise for sounding so ignorant, I am due to go on a course covering 4 days during October and November which I am sure will

help me but unfortunately that doesn't help me when I so want to get it right now!

 

I will be so pleased to receive any advice whatsoever.

 

Regards Julie

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Hi Julie,

How old are your children?

As a 1 form intake you presumably have 30 children all to be 5 in the next school year?

 

My head, thankfully won't hear of us being alone with out support with that number of underfives. Its not the children's entitlement & you should ask for extra help. What do you do if someone falls over, wets themselves? If you are on your own do NOT overplan or do anything too exciting!

 

Its also quite difficult when you're the only teacher in the year group. I've been there & done that!

 

That doesn't sound very helpful does it? Don't mean to make you despair even more.

If you email me your address I will email you some planning proformas that I use.

 

I haven't got an "electronic" timetable but we try to have a short numeracy & literacy input every morning.(Or balance it so that you do 4 out of 5 for each.) 1 session is immediately after registration and another after fruit time.

We have abolished our formal playtime to extend activity time and if the weather is good they have access to the outside anyway. In my school I do not have a dedicated outdoor area and need to clear the space for the rest of the school at 10.30. At this time we gather on the carpet & have fruit, sing songs, have a story and staff rotate to have a comfort break & grab a coffee!

 

After lunch we have a session known as Guided reading but I use it to teach reading skills & book handling skills, extend vocabulary etc.

 

You do not need to have dedicated subject times as you have had in yr3. Block your activities and provision according to your space. Plan a range of activities to take place throughout the day. A cross curricular classroom will contain an art area, role play or house, book corner, computer. writing area, sand &/or water, construction &/or small world, jigsaws, number activities, malleable areas. You may not be able to provide all of these every day so balance it over the week or probably 2 weeks minimum to allow children access-free exploration & extension.

 

You will probably have a dedicated PE time. Library time. Music time.ICT access?

 

We have found it very soul destroying trying to work in the computer suite with them until at least January.Its all too new and formal. But we have a dedicated white board this term and 1 of my unit teachers is the ICT coordinator so she will use that with us all.

Remember PSE is the backbone to all you do and take as much time as you need to solve problems as hey arise. I also like to have a parachute activity time regularly or ring games to encourage control & cooperation etc and always bag the spot after Assembly.(We only have i whole school assembly each week and its usually a celebration of some sort or of a show & tell variety so we are encouraged to go & the children like it but need to move around afterwards)

 

Remember little children need to play & learn through their play, if you are too formal too soon you will only set problems for yourself and them and you'll feel you're banging your head against the wall.

 

Don't want to ramble on too long, beside its bedtime now!

Hope this helps alittle, but ask away if you need to.

 

Susan

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Hi Julie,

 

I too am new to Reception and am in a one form entry school. I am also finding it a little over whelming, especially regarding planning - which formats are most useful, yet do not entail hours and hours of paperwork for each activity?

 

Thanks Susan for your input - very useful. Maybe you could also help me out with planning formats. I think that it's a good idea to have a little literacy and numeracy every day, in short sharp bursts - Do you do this with whole class? Are your 'guided reading' sessions based on group work?

 

I would also be grateful to anyone who can offer any support. I also have a child with down syndrome in my new class, so any advice on this would be gratefully received!

 

Regards,

 

Julie

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Hi,

 

Yes, the literacy & numeracy sessions are whole class based. Many of my children are EAL but I am well supported- bilingual FT NNEB & bilingual am LSA.

 

Initially we pay a lot of detail to speaking & listening & phonics in Literacy with Big Book work in the Guided Reading slot. Guided reading depending on the focus may be entirely whole class based but very often I withdraw a group, on rotation once a week for a focused book discussion at their level! and NNEB supervises children on carpet with books from the book box, & vocab extension. My children need a huge input on English vocab- can't read a word when that word has no meaning can you? and picture clues give you another word. I usually try to finish with a story or much later with keywords.

 

Numeracy, I try to have a mental starter type activity, may only be counting to 10 etc & then a short teaching focus. We have found it best to follow the NNS re number skills as best as possible & block other topics. I've been using the Scholastic 100 numeracy lessons as a guide but it does move very fast for my children. (Home visits this last week have really highlighted the fact that in many Asian homes there is no numberwork taking place as we might provide in our homes for our children eg counting the stairs etc). we have Collins Maths in school but its too twee( gives my no credit of skillls or knowledge as a teacher)--my numeracy coordinator has just been coerced to buying me Abacus which looks good so I'm going to try that, we've also bought materials from BEAM recently.

 

Activities support our teaching focus/ determined by Goals/ determined by children.

I spend alot of time initially observing and working with the children to determine the skills and knowledge they are bringing me. I shall be pleased not to have to work a formal Baseline which was dreadfully demoralising but have devised my own checklist to give a starting out point and enable me to move them on.

I shall not operate groups until early October.

 

Obviously, my cohort will greatly effct what I do so this may not be entirely relevant to you. I guess you also need someone to support you in FS principles. My Head does & I'm SMT so no immediate problems there!

 

Hope this helps.

Susan

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Hi Julie, I am an NQT teaching reception in a 1 form entry school and have 26 children in my class. I specialised in Early Years during my final year of my teaching degree, so I understand your difficulties regarding planning and am experiencing the same problems with my classroom organisation too! :D

If you want any copies of my planning give me a shout! Good luck.

Shelley :)

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Thanks ever so much Shelley, some really useful advice. I too have been planning in a very cross curricular way, where every few weeks, we have a new 'topic'. I do not really have any specific times for literacy and numeracy activities, but do spend some whole class time, looking at books and learning our letter sound (we follow Jolly Phonics), as well as carrying out a little whole class 'mental maths'.

 

I want to try and get as many literacy and numeracy activities as I can, where the children can work on these independently (thus freeing my time for specific group activities) - Do you know of any that are good for this, or of any ideas for certain independent activities as my school seems to be short on things like this (and I'm quite good at persuading my head to buy me new things!).

 

As I'm finding my feet more, things are definately becoming more manageable, but any other advice you could give me would be greatly received!

 

Thanks ever so much

 

Julie :o

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Thanks ever so much Shelley, some really useful advice. I too have been planning in a very cross curricular way, where every few weeks, we have a new 'topic'. I do not really have any specific times for literacy and numeracy activities, but do spend some whole class time, looking at books and learning our letter sound (we follow Jolly Phonics), as well as carrying out a little whole class 'mental maths'.

 

I want to try and get as many literacy and numeracy activities as I can, where the children can work on these independently (thus freeing my time for specific group activities) - Do you know of any that are good for this, or of any ideas for certain independent activities as my school seems to be short on things like this (and I'm quite good at persuading my head to buy me new things!).

 

As I'm finding my feet more, things are definately becoming more manageable, but any other advice you could give me would be greatly received!

 

Thanks ever so much

 

Julie :o

I Julie, read your mail and great reply form Shelley (is that princess shellybelly by any chance)

A great numeracy scheme is abacus and the plans are available to download at hamiltontrust.org.uk

there are loads of great ideas for maths activities and if you get the books week by week plans. Try literacymatters for some good literacy plans or just for ideas x

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Angel is right - Abacus is great and a good time saver and we use this scheme throughout our school. I tend to follow the weekly learning objectives, but I don't stick to all of the suggested activities. Sometime I take the learning objective and do my own thing with it. For example this week I took 2 of the suggested activities (which were adult led) and then made up 3 other activities which the children could complete independently e.g. decorating number 5, doing puzzles and cutting and sticking pictures of the three bears in order. Not all of the activities were exactly in line with the specific learning objective, some were topic related but it was all maths development!!!

As far as activities that are child independent in literacy, I usually have 5 activities that the children rotate through over the week (2/3 adult led - depending on adult help!!) the independent activities usually consist of a listening activity e.g. listening to a story on tape and following it in a book, sound lotto etc, I usually get them to paint a picture related to the Big Book that we are reading, language puzzles etc etc. IFor adult led activities I usually try to include speaking & listening e.g. discussing a picture(s), some writing (we have wipeable whiteboards which are an invaluable resource for EVERYTHING!!). Making laminated pattern cards & games to use with wipeable pens are also an excellent resource. I have made lots myself, but many of the Early Years resource books that you can buy have photocopiable sheets.

Hope this helps! :D

 

PS. I have never been called princess ShellyBelly before - but my husband thinks it's hilarious, so I don't think I've heard the last of it!!!

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Hi all -

I'm re-posting this for Jackiewing! :D

Hi Julie!

 

There are lots of independent activities your children could do linked to

your literacy sessions. We often link our role play area into our big book

theme, using our chosing board to restrict the number of children playnig

there, or character pendants. The focus can be changed every couple of days

eg. the 3 bears have been robbed, or 3 pigs go to school etc. Try to include

lots of big pens, crayons, coloured paper with/without lines. We've even had

a wallpaper shop where the children love to design big patterns, using fat

felts on printers paper.

 

Even drawing pictures of nursery rhymes/ stories/characters is a useful

stop-gap. The children are developing their pencil control and have the

chance to make marks and write emergently. Use shaped paper - they love

this.

 

We also often use play dough - modelling phonemes (can overlay teacher's

model) or make something beginning with the letter sound (can draw pictures

as a model for this group) Treasure hunts in the sand for things beginning

with....another fun idea.

 

They also like tracing pictures or name cards and to make rubbings of

letters.

 

We also include small -world play in our activity session and construction

where the children can retell a story. If you have wonderful parents like we

do, why not get a storybag workshop together? They could make character

puppets for your favourite books.One of your independent activities could be

re-enacting the story/rhyme with the puppets, big book and pointer (can even

do this without the puppets).

 

Another idea we have used is using the taped story and headphones or singing

along to nursery rhymes.

 

The list is endless. Hope some of these ideas are of some help to you. Good

luck!

 

Jackie

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Jackie, what great ideas, I've printed them off to help me think of some of my own and pinch some of yours!! I'm always wracking my brains for child independent activities and they were great!

 

Steve, as for changing my name.......er, I think not!!! :o

 

I would just like to add that this forum is amazing. It is so nice to be able to share ideas with like-minded people and helps to ensure that we are delivering some fantastic learning opportunities. As an NQT I can't say what a help this site is....well done! :D

 

Thanks

Shelley

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Thanks Jackie for some really useful ideas. The more independence the children have the better and your activity ideas help to foster independent focused learning (without children realising), so thanks!

 

Julie :D

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i would really love to see copies of planning sheets that people are using for reception to help me to see how to fit all of it in. I have lots of ideas and have had 5 years in Nursery so I feel confident about the type of activities to use but still have difficulty trying to fit it all in. Shelley said she would be willing to share her planning - is ther anyone else who could help? :o

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Hi all -

Re the planning sheets and formats - It's confession time for Steve. Susan has very generously donated some planning formats for the forum members to make use of. :D

 

I haven't yet put them on the site :o

 

Basically, I need to give the documents themselves a bit of context - to stitch them together so to speak - and I haven't had time to do that yet. I will be doing it as soon as possible (we're talking not more than a week or so hopefully), so I hope that will assist with this discussion.

 

Sorry Susan - I promise I'll do it, but things are a bit frantic at the moment and it would be a shame to just post them with no explanation or framework - they might just get lost!

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I am so pleased that others stress over planning formats for foundations / reception class. I have been left pretty much to get on with it and I am stressing!! :o

 

I have missed the planning sheets orare they coming? Could someone send me some copies of how they plan - please!!!! xD

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Hi Emma,

No you haven't missed the planning sheets. Steve hasn't posted them yet!

They were blank proformas.

Planning is the really difficult bit especially if you're on your own.

 

Don't stress though. Keep talking on here!

What are you doing?

 

Susan

 

Steve, can we move this thread to the planning section?

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Your wish is my command Susan. Here it is look, in the Planning category! :D

 

:o Um - sorry I haven't posted the planning formats Susan. Unbelievably busy etc... (but I know that's no excuse). Helen and I have gone through your documents, and we're adding a couple of our own and trying to stitch them together into a kind of context document. (End of tomorrow at the latest we'll have something posted, I promise!)

 

Hi Emma -

As Susan says - don't panic! Sharing planning confusion with other people is the best way to move forward. We'll get these documents up in the next day or so. Read them then come back with some questions.

 

Welcome to the forum by the way! You're in Good Company! :D

 

Steve.

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Hello,

 

I would like, if possible, some advice on how to organise children to do activities. First I started having free choice of sand, water, role play, writing corner with short whole class sessions for shared writing, reading, circle time or numeracy. I liked the idea of free choice and time for the children to focus on something. However, the girls immediately took over the writing corner and most boys went straight to the construction and didn't want to leave! If I have groups and rotate them some children are just getting into things when it's time to move on... I have also tried having the free choice but taking one group at a time to do an adult led activity but then I am not able to support the other children's play. I read somewhere that play must be supported by an adult otherwise they are 'just playing' and the play is not valuable. I know it is better to have the adult support, but when groups of children play they do support one another don't they?

 

Sometimes I see these '100 lesson plans' books for reception and stress - are mine missing out cos they aren't all doing week by week lessons in writing a label or sentence building with key words..

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Mharhi, please dont stress ove feeling that your children may be msiing out- from what youhave said in you various posts, I am sure they are not. Childen dont NEED an adult all the time to play constructively, and sometimes the best play is wen an adult is not intervening. Obviously we all have to work with what we have, I seem to recall that you are in quite difficult cicumstances anyway, so if you are working with a group, the children have to be able to get on by themselves. However, I would also plan yourself to be in the 'play' situations eg in the sand , water, role play, so that they get the focus of your attention. And I would also plan to observe, therby not having a set teacher led activity on some sessions. That way, you can intervene in their play as you observe, and you get some wondeful insights.

Hope this makes sense :D

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Missed this one earlier as have had a very busy and stressful week!

TGIF & half term!!

 

I agree entirely Mundia.

Observations are a very important part of the process, so are tracking activities every so often. That way you can determine what needs to come next.

 

The 100 lessons can be quite useful for activities but don't nesessarily allow you to work from where your children are!

I've got the Scholastic literacy & numeracy and something similar from Practical pre-school publications- Foundations for literacy & for Numeracy(2 bks) but would not use them rigidly so don't worry if you haven't got them! Quite useful for ideas and to see some progression at times.

 

Susan

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I've followed this disvcussion with interest. I was new to Reception last year having years of experience elsewhere in the school. Last year I had a dream class who focussed well and co-operated like little angels. This year...!!! I really struggle with the independent activities as the children just do not seem able to settle into something I have set up for them. The role play is not satisfactory and I have to timetable an adult in. And I use Abacus but they seem to need an adult to keep them on task all the time. I do find that the children are far better on PE mornings when there is some break from the classroom. I am having a new outdoor play area created which should be finished soon and this will help, hopefully.

HELP. It feels chaotic at the moment. Any further tips on juggling it all?

heyjude :o

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Hi,

Cohorts of children vary greatly, don't be too disheartened.

It will affect what you do and perhaps the formal progress that the children make.

 

Use your knowledge of where the children are and plan accordingly! You have already noticed that PE is good so can you make more breaks in your timetable.

Focused activities may be short lived for this group, if they don't respond to extended activity times then shorten them. Be adaptable, offer what the children need and you and they will be less frustrated and make more of the time, overall. Activities often need to be modelled several times before the children know how to respond and independent activities with very young children are often over before they've begun.

 

My class is the most responsive class I have had for a long time and I am looking to speed up the provision that I normally offer. Their role play was better in their first week inschool than anything I saw in my classroom for the whole of last year! But tidying up is another issue!!

 

If you can be more specific then we may be able to help more?

 

Susan

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well said Susan.

Heyjude, is it possible for you to use the hall time more, if the children are responding to this? One school I worked at, we timetabled the hall every day (because the rest of the school did lit/num in the mornings, the hall was never use). We found that we used the time not just to devlop physical skills but laso we did maths work ans music there as well. It may help the children to settle better to the activities they are currently struggling with.

Also if you have to timetable an adult in the role play, do so, that is obviously where you judge the need to be (assumming that you an adult that is). Remember also that it is still really early days yet.

Can you pinpoint what gives you the most problems, and work on one thing at time.

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