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Has anyone else ability grouped their Reception class yet?

 

I was severely criticized by my Deputy Head last week because I had not grouped my class by ability in Literacy and was not offering differentiated activities. I was told I was not meeting the needs of the children and they were not making adequate progress.

 

These are children who had only been in school for three weeks and some were only in their second week of being full time.

 

Up to then, I was very happy in that the children were socialising well, following routines and most had settled happily into school life. However, I finished this week totally fed up and despondent. :oxD

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Hi Gail

We have roughly grouped our children into abilities but they had all been in for three weeks, and they were ready for differentiated work. We have quite a few higher ability and lower ability children and not many in betweens, with lots of August and September birthdays and hardly any birthdays from Dec - June. Did you explain your feelings to the Deputy?

Jo

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Yes, I did explain reasoning to my deputy. As this is the first time we have had a pure reception class, we had a visit from a local advisor who said not to assess for another couple of weeks. However, I was told to disregard this and differentiation must take effect from next week.

 

So differentiate I must!

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no we havent as yet, 3 weeks in we are still establishing the routines and rightly so. We know roughly how we will group them as I worked with most of the children last year in nursery so know them quite well. We are not yet working in groups, much of our time is supprting CI activities and these are differntiated by the way in which you interact with the children.

 

However, there is a degree to which we have to do what our managers expect of us, and if you are expected to have differentiated group activities, then you must. You could go back to your DH and ask exactly wht they mean about the children not making progress, (on what does he/she base her/his evidence?).

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Although I have assessed my children for Literacy and Numeracy I do not put my children in groups at all- throughout the year. Yes I diferentiate the work they are doing and the activities they are doing are based on the needs of the individual child. However they work in mixed ability groups so they are able to support each other and you don't end up with a group of children who all need alot of extra support at the same time.

 

I was anxious about doing this at first but have found it to be much easier to manage and the children are much more tolerant of each other. The more able help the less able and vice versa- it allows the children to learn from each other rather than always relying on the adult they are working with.

 

If asked I would be able to say which children were in each group AA, BA, B but if children always work in ability groups they become aware of those children that find academic work harder and this creates the wrong ethos in the classroom.

 

Sorry but I feel quite stronly about this. I have a mixed Yr1/ Yr R class and they work alongside each other as well and it has been a real boost for my year 1s, some of whom are working below the level of some of the new intake.

 

Lorna

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I also do PIPS baseline - which i have just finished this week - so was thinking of trying to put them into some sort of groupings as we are having a pre inspection review ( i think that is waht it is called) the first 2 days back after the half term so feel i should be doing something!!!

 

Sarah

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We do not put children into ability groups until the summer. We don't think that we will be doing this this year due to us working as a unit with the nursery. YR 1 is also becoming less formal with the introduction of continuing the learning journey. I don't think grouping the children is an issue. But what are you then expected to do with these 'groups' of children? Are you expected to be doing the literacy and numeracy hours?

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Has anyone else ability grouped their Reception class yet?

 

I was severely criticized by my Deputy Head last week because I had not grouped my class by ability in Literacy and was not offering differentiated activities. I was told I was not meeting the needs of the children and they were not making adequate progress.

 

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Well I'm just amazed that your deputy is even thinking about grouping the class at this time of year! I work 1:1 with the children with their literacy activities and differentiate mostly by support for at least the first half term. We won't be doing group work for quite a while yet!

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Hi I totally agree with Lorna. I am not a fan of ability grouping children at all. Young children are very astute and quickly pick up their 'place' or 'label' in the class which I believe can be truely damaging - especially if they have been given names like 'The Elephants' or 'The Tigers' - what does this do to a child's self-esteem ? (my own children have been grouped in such a way and it is heart breaking when they tell you they are no good because they'll never be in the ****** group) Also you must always have high expectations of every child for every thing they do - they might and often do surprise you!

 

We certainly haven't grouped our children yet, we will do for organisational reasons - but will have different groups for different things and keep the grouping very fluid and don't make a big thing out of it.

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we havent grouped our children yet and wont be for another few weeks - probably after half term. Meanwhile I work with them in small groups finding out what they can and cant do, establishing rules and routines and getting them settled. I thinkI have done a good job if I can get them settled by Christmas!!! and after that start on more focussed tasks

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Thanks everyone for your support. It has cheered me up a lot. I have decided to group the children roughly this week, but then do a baseline like assessment just before half-term. We are due an Ofsted but hopefully not before then!

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Guest tinkerbell

Hi

I seem to be in a similar situation too Lorna, I have a mixed R/Yr1 class

16 r and 6y1 . I put the r into mixed ability groups actually looking at who they played well with etc even splitting up some children who were dependent on each other coming from the same nursery (the 16 have come from 6 different nursery settings).we have 2 statemented children and another child with 'bullying' tendencies so have split them all up etc.

So i have 4 colour groups, plastic boxes for the children to put their book bags in.I will ask for my weakest yr1 child to go and help a reception group in lit so he gets the added benefit of phonic and handwriting prac.

I pair the children up for reading,assembly etc often girl with boy or yr1 with r.

basically you know your childrn and why you do things in class and your deputy should respect your professional judgement.I am sure you would be able to sit down and tell her why you group the way you do.

I have taught older children in the past and they were grouped by ability,I think lorna is right mix them up and the more able will help and be good role models for the less able.

Good look Tinkerbell

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