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Learning Journals - Yes Or No?


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We are having a Learning Journals crisis! To do or not to do? We keep lots of evidence through class celebration books of areas of learning and project work - photos, observations etc, EYFSP data is updated on a monthly basis on eye profile so progress can be monitored closely, photographic evidence is kept in 30 folders on the network - each child having their own folder to be given on a CD to parents at the end of the year. And we keep Look Listen and Note records for every child. Do we need individual Learning Journays as well? Discuss!!!

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We have just started doing them this term. They are lovely but it does sound as though you are doing it already but not keeping it in one place.

 

We have keygroup's with about 11 children in each. The group leaders are allocated 3 'times' a week to work on the journals. They are alot of work but the staff seem to enjoy doing them and they are easy to use.

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Although they are lovely it sounds as if you are doing plenty already so you don't really need to start doing them. They will just make a lot of extra work and are just one more thing to get behind on and spend holidays/weekends catching up on, particularly if you don't have a lot of staff. Lots of settings don't do them (particularly schools I find, though that's a generalisation!) and of course Ofsted don't mind either way.

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I'm always interested in this Catma, as I think the distinctions between the traditional special books, learning journeys and progress monitoring tools and recommendations is quite blurred. Several LAs to my knowledge have produced templates and forms to follow for producing Learning Journeys (using the uppercase to distinguish them from a less prescribed learning journey.

 

Others use it effectively to describe the very informal special books that nurseries give to their parents on leaving, which largely include personal pictures, comments and samples of work the children produce.

 

Which always leaves me a bit confused as to what people are talking about when the term is used in a conversation here. What are your thoughts on this as someone with experience in more or less every camp! :o

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Guest tinkerbell

You sound to be collecting evidence on everything! I know what you mean about doing individual learning journals as the evidence is there.But what do you show the parents ? how can the parents add their bit to contribute to a full picture of the child?

I send the CD of photos at christmas,the parents love them.

We make a big book of photos each half term and each child takes it home for one evening,parents write comments in an exercise book kept in the front page.That way the parents get a feel for what is going on in class.

Yes I do do individual Learning Journals and send them home each half term.

 

Tinkerbell

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Guest ShelleyT

I've just spent an hour and a half updating my Learning Stories for this week. And it's only Tuesday! They take forever but we had OfSTED in June and it is the only thing the lead inspector was interested in. So sorry f you don't want to do it but I think it's expected now. :o

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Up until now I have had class celebration books for each area of the EYFS with work samples and photos etc and then individual folders for sticky notes and obs which weren't stuck in but I am doing just individual learning journeys this year as I was fed up having so many different places where evidence was stored. I had so many files on the go but if someone asked me where is your evidence that x has a chieved point 5 in KUW for example I would not be able to put my hands on it without looking through loads of paperwork or photos. Each child now has a scrapbook which we call their wow book and any evidence goes in there from their CI play so in there we have the usual photos, sticky labels narrative obs, wow vouchers etc as well as any work samples done in CI time. All evidence is immediately filed in box files for each child and then I have a gran who sticks all the stuff in on a weekly basis and then I take the books home weekly and annotate the evidence (with the EYFSP point it shows evidence of eg KUW2) and mark it on an overview of EYFSP with the date. So far the system is working well for me although quite a lot of work but I am on top of it. It takes me 1 evening per week to annotate and transfer the info from the wow book to their EYFSP overview for 30 children. I see my wow books primarily as being a progress monitoring, assessment and planning tool for me but they will also be a lovely record of the child's first school year for the child to keep.

Deb

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I think as previously stated it is a matter of deciding which "learning journey" option suits each setting and then making sure that the information in them is not repeated (just for the sake of it) elsewhere.

 

We have learning journeys in the guise of "special books" and I would advocate this way rather than photographs on a computer stored in files because the children have free access to their books as do the parents.

 

Staff can revisit activities, work, outings etc with the children too and celebrate with them all the wonderful things they do.

 

They can be time consuming but I think they say more about a child on their move to reception than some highlighted charts could possibly do!!

 

Just my opinion though of course!

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I've been reading what you've been writing about Learning Journeys. I have ordinary A4 exercise books as learning journeys which I keep in 2 box files. Inside them I put the post-it note observations that we do. Sometimes these have photographs to support them. If chn do anything written or creative we put them in the LJs too. I'm now thinking I'm not doing enough. I've got parents' evening next week and I'm wondering whether I should have done more. As yet there is no input by parents, but I'm going to introduce home diaries for parents to comment on what their chn do at home and anything they have done of significance.

 

I too put the obs in the LJs one night a week and I've trained all staff to put on the relevant profile point on their obs so it is already written on it ready for going in the LJs.

 

Is this enough for Ofsted or should I be doing more? I've only been in the reception class 18mths and still trying different things. Any advice would be appreciated - I'm the class teacher in a mixed reception/year1 class (and I job share).

thanks

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Hi All, we have started not adding observations of target children on our activity forms as we only write them again to give to key persons who put them in learning journeys - we need to keep paperwork to a minimum - our ofsted ladies loved our learning journeys as the parents understood what we were looking at so think simply - also if thinking ahead look at the EYFS review by Tickell - less paperowrk so think about how this should be implimented when looking over the next year. :o

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