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How Much 'direction' To Give Reception Children


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Hi,

 

I am going to be taking a writing group of 6 boys every week with the aim of encouraging independant writing about things they are interested in and im a little confused about how much 'direction' to give them as i know im suppose to enourage choice and independant as much as possible. I am not their class teacher but teach them one day a week. For example i was thinking of this as a possible 20 mins group lesson. Children hold a toy car. Ask the chn to describe the car i.e. colour, the parts of the car and how fast/slow it goes by testing it. Write down the words the children come up with on the whiteboard. Then the children select their writing materials, i was going to have card in the shape of a car, car wrapping paper, post it notes etc and a range of writing materials i.e. glitter pens, felt tips, pencils and then children write down the words they choose from my list or indeed make up their own stepping back and letting them get on with it but maybe asking a few questions about what they are doing. Is their too much direction here or are the children being given enough choices and independant? Another idea was holding a mobile phone and ringing the Gruffalo. Asking the children what the Gruffalo said and writing on the whiteboard words from the the childrens conversations. Then the children choose materials to write down their converstaion with the Gruffalo. Any other ideas/ suggestions greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you

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These sound like lovely ideas to me! I'm presuming that by 'independent' writing in this case they actually mean that they want the boys to write without someone spelling out the words and telling them exactly what to write, rather than independent in the sense of continuous provision. If I'm mistaken here please feel free to correct me or perhaps you need to clarify with the teacher exactly how independent she means?

 

If I'm on the right track though I wouldn't worry that the things you have described are too directed. You have been asked to do a directed task with them so of course you have to give them some direction, particularly with it being a short focussed session. If you gave them a blank piece of paper and said 'write about what you want' there is the possibility that they will sit there and say they can't think of anything to write about for 20 minutes. Remember that the EYFS is about adult led activities as well as child initiated ones. This is obviously part of their adult directed time and I'm sure they're getting lots of opportunities to be independent and choose during their normal class time.

 

Perhaps someone else will come along with some other ideas, I'm afraid I'm all out of creativity at the moment!

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You are absolutely on the button with wanting to work from the interests of the boys - no go unless you do!

 

In order to make it more so, you need to find out exactly what their interests are - Ben 10 - Superheroes - TV related - Pirates - Films - cars etc.

 

I would put out a range of images / books, boy orientated and observe which ones made them go 'wow, it's ...........! Only then can you truly merge interests with what you need to teach them - link the phonics to interests - can you label parts of this picture with a phoneme, written or using a magnetic letter.

 

Boys need to know reason why they are doing something and then they will do the lead up skills - girls just do it cos teacher said so! Let your boys know what they need to learn and why!

 

PM me if you need more info / help / support

 

Jenni

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Do remember, as I'm sure you do, that you are the teacher and it is not wrong to teach these boys how to write a sentence etc. Some modelling and appropriate support to enable them to learn the skills of writing are ok. I would think about making books and using whiteboards as this has always encouraged the boys I have had and using writing implements that are easy for them to manipulate if their fine coordination is poor.

 

Have fun!

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I imagine you have been asked to do this as there are a group of boys who never include writing in their child initiated play-we all have children who do this. I would think that one way of going about it could be to model how writing can be included in their play and you could use their interests to imagine scenarios eg if they are superheros you could have them answering the phone telling them of an emergency and you could talk them through and model that they need to record the phonecall to get to the correct address. You could in this way talk them through hearing the sounds in words and what they could use to help them around the room to write down the information. I do agree with the above comments though I do have guided writing sessions with all my children each week geared to their interests and our theme and I do model and teach how to write and it is amazing how many children reproduce what I have taught in their child initiated play.

Deb

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