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I am being observed in a literacy lesson. The idea I have is to use a puppet. My class are reception. We are doing final sounds in cvc words. I will introduce the lesson by saying the puppet is having problems in saying final letter sounds in cvc words. I will say the word e.g cat and the puppet will try to say the word but not say the final word. The children will then offer suggestions on the final letter sounds. I will then write the cvc word on the board asking children to spell it.

One of the independent activities will be children printing a cvc word with paints and letter stamps then painting a picture of that word. Has anyone got any suggestions what other indpendent activity I could do and give me any advice to the activties that I have planned and if I can improve them.

I am being observed by HT and early years advisor and I overheard a telephone conversation today by the head and the early years advisor - the head told the early years that she thought that I wasnt teaching properly. Someone please help I feel absolutely desperate, in fact I am crying as I write this, I know that sounds pathetic and maybe I shouldnt have written it down but its true.

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Oh Jan

observations always tend to be stressful and in view of the overheard conversation I am not surprised you feel like this. I am tempted to ask you how you came to overhear this but that is actually irrelevant.

 

I find it difficult to comment on your lesson as I do not know your children, I know that the cohorts of children that I was teaching in Reception would have found this quite difficult and I assume you are not year1 as you talk about the early years advisor but perhaps I am wrong?

 

Your puppet idea is certainly good, do you use a puppet like this regularly? If not, will your children respond appropriately?

 

I think I would actually split your proposed activity into 2, providing pictures of objects with letter stamps for children to stamp the cvc name and giving the cvc word for child to identify and paint the object.

I would be concerned that the children will find your activity tricky, how will they know what a cvc word is, why is helmet not and hat or cap is??/

 

Think about what your children know and what you want them to learn and build some activities on the knowledge to aid the learning.

 

I dont feel very useful, have you looked at some books for ideas--phonics manuel etc.

 

GOOD LUCK.

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Does your HT have anything to base this on? Should you be receiving more support & guidance anyway (not sure what your situation is)?

I agree with Susan, that at this early stage in the year, reception might find this task tricky. If you have support staff, make sure you utilise them & fully brief them on what the learning objectives are, as well as what you want them to do.

I wish you all the luck in the world, & if it doesn't go as you want it to, make sure you've thought about next stages & can reflect in a positive way to your lesson, e.g. X didn't quite happen as I'd hoped it to, but next time I'd do Y instead. At least if you're able to pin-point good and bad points, you won't have to hear it from THEM. Try to take on board their feedback, and if you feel you need more support or should've had more support, let this be known.

Hope it goes well for you! :)

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Independant Activities

What about some laminated pictures - clip art with words printed underneath with final letter missing - use plasticine to make missing letters.

 

Do you have any magnetic letters, you could ask the children to make up some words using these, words could be real or made up.

 

Don't introduce too many new activites at the same time or the children wont know what to do.

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I'm glad you said that, Susan, I thought it sounded tricky too. Only a handful of my reception children can give final sounds.

 

Maybe a group of children could do some supported work changing the last letter in cvc words to make new ones eg bed/beg, peg/pen; cat/can etc (using magnetic letters?) - this way the emphasis will be on blending rather than segmenting, which the children may find easier.

 

Also Jan, when you say you will ask the children to spell the word, do you really mean sound it out? I only ask because most of my class don't know the names of all the letters yet so would not be able to do this.

 

I don't think you should stress too much and I agree with Susan about not introducing the puppet for the first time when being observed - always best to stick to routines they know. How will you keep all the children involved and motivated? Will they have white boards or letter fans; will they come up to the front to write the last letter or write it in the air etc etc.

 

Keep your chin up and let us know how you get on

 

Thinking of you,

Fox xx

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I've just started getting the children to hear final sounds in words. I've found it to be the top ability group - as the general middle lot are still identifying initial sounds, and by identifying, I literally mean listening for the sound and sorting accordingly.

 

I agree with Susan that it would be best to split your group, but I think it possibly would be better that you don't set your activity too difficult. By this I mean that if you know that final sounds is something relatively new and the children are still finding stamping purposefully difficult (!) and they aren't familiar with ALL the letters of the alphabet that you are using (grapheme wise), then maybe this is an activity that you could leave for further down the line? I say this more because it is something that could be a great extension activity for confident high fliers, but if it is relatively new, then there are much more demands on you and you could find that a) you are simply teaching them how to stamp on paper rather than one another! :o you are teaching them to recognise the grapheme and c) you are actually leading the activity for them.

 

As an observation activity, it might be best you showing both your head teacher and early years advisor just how capable you are of knowing where your children are by having a very workable activity that you can both extend and differentiate with ease.

 

For example, what I did today was have my phonics box. I do usually use a puppet, but for this first week of getting them to begin to hear final sounds, its been very hard getting them to hear it, let alone confuse them by saying the object wrong! Anyway, what I did was tell them I had a problem. They seem to like problem solving. I feigned stupidity at mixing all the items in my box - when really they should have been sorted by their final sound. I set out hoops (3) and asked them whether they'd mind helping me sort them - to which most are excited and the rest look at me with the 'do it yourself' face on that I try and ignore!

 

Anyway, we sort, with much emphasis on final sound (think I may spit some of the final sounds out as I emphasise them - but they will hear them damn it!!!). I've done it both as whole class and small group - but seen as you are using small groups, it would then give you scope for using the format of sorting but your confident ones would be able to try and find something to put in the circle that ends with 't', middlies would have to tell you which circle hat went into and your low ones could actually play more of a Kim's Game where things end with t in the tray except the odd one out - can they find it?

 

You are therefore differentiating your questioning, your activity and at the very least, you are allowing your children to play a game, but at the same time having individual needs accommodated.

 

As far as Head Teacher's comments, again, I agree with Susan's comments. Without seeing what you do, I can't say, without knowing whether your Head Teacher is wanting you to sit them at the table all the time, I don't know. It is hard to know this viewpoint before you observation. I feel for you - but I also think that you could also use it as fuel to prove them wrong. I've learnt in recent years to use criticism in a positive light - hard I know, but if not, it will get us down. The Head thinks this way for a reason - maybe feedback will provide clarity, but until then, you need to show that you a)know your children and their needs xD understand the need for children to learn through play and c) that the children you teach find the teaching you deliver to be purposeful and fun.

 

Am sure you will do your best - and that is all anyone of us can do. Hope that helps and am sure this is the right place to air any issues - it wasn't long ago that I was crying on here too - and it may not be too far away either, but at the minute, this post is about you and I hope you'll let us know how everything went for you.

 

x

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Hi, thank you all for your kind comments. I have a mixed reception year 1 class and to differentitiate i inted to ask the Year 1's to say a sentence using one of the words. I have now changed the painting activity - this is for my lower ability year ones. I am going to provide them with cvc words which they read and then paint a picture this will be with a TA. The group I am working with - I will provide CVC words with the initial letter missing we will talk as a group what letter could go before, the children will then make that letter out of playdough. My top abiltity Year 1 will be independently writing sentences using the cvc words. My other reception group will be accessing the continuous provision. I have a nursery nurse student and I have asked her - (she is used to doing this). In all areas of the CP i have focused questions, eg. wheels in the sand , how can you make the wheels go faster, slower etc. - to go round the areas asking the key questions to the children. I just hope I dont fall to pieces on the day.

Thank you once again for all you kind comments, suggestions and support they have really helped me to focus on what i want to achieve. I will certainly let you know what happens. The observation is a week tomorrow, it certainly is going to be a long week for me.

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Maybe think of using next week as a priming week - it may help your confidence to know that at least some of the activities you are providing are ones which the children are fairly aware of so that you aren't needed at all activities to keep the children on task.

 

Just remember to pace yourself - don't try to do too much at once because all hell will break loose!

 

x

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I really feel for you I hate being observed just remember you know your children better than they do. We have just had a new ofsted at the short notice. What they are focusing on is what the children are learning - keep telling them what they are going to learn in that lesson and what you are looking for. At the end ask them what they have been learning and tell them what they will do next - this enables those who want to or your more able to perhaps think about this. Also Head and advisor may go round and ask chn on independent activities what they are doing how and why? Good Luck - you can do it have a go first and don`t surprise the children with anything too new.

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jan43 YOU WILL BE FINE!!!

 

I really agree with Gwen, YOU know your children best, use this to your advantage and I would really stress the learning intention etc as Gwen says above.

 

Just an idea - not sure I will explain it very well - used to work along side a Language Impairment Unit and picked up some really useful things. What about in the whole class teaching bit getting them to 'feel' the initial or end sound. To do this:

 

1. get your children to roll up their sleeves (this could be a whole activity in itself - be warned)

2. get them to place one finger on their inside elbow and as they say 'cat' out loud tell them to move/slide their finger down towards their wrist/hand.

3. Ask them 'Where is the the 't' - hopefully they will tell you at their hand. "Where is the 'c' sound" - at the elbow.

 

Does it make sense? Anyway, as mentioned above, probably not best to try anything new (and as tricky as this ) for first time being observed.

 

Good Luck and let us know how you get on.

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Could i just add something. I have a TA who has told the head that she doesnt think that I am teaching the class properly and that she feels that I am not coping. That is one of the reasons that I am having this observation. The TA always critisises (not sure i have spelt that right, goodness me, i cant even spell now) everything I do and continually tells me how good the previous teacher was. If ever supply are in my class she always tells me how wonderful they were with the children. I am so worried what she may or may not do or say on friday, just another worry. Sorry to trouble everyone with my problems but I really do appreciate all your help and support, I only wish I was in one of your schools.

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Oh Jan, that is just about the worst senario! An unsupportive TA is really as bad if not worse than no support.

Make sure your planning is very clear and I think I would tell the children that she is to work with what they are going to do. Also prime her beforehand. I am sure that you do all these things anyway but make it really explicit in front of your observors!

Year 1/ reception is a really difficult mix although with the current emphasis on transition and making year 1 more play friendly it should be easier. I can only assume that your TA prefers a more formal approach so make sure you can justify your planning and organisation if asked.

 

try and have a good weekend.

Good luck.

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Oh no, it gets worse! Poor, poor you. It sounds like your TA is undermining you and sapping your confidence. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP.

 

As teachers (and TAs) we are all different with different strengths and weaknesses - however 'wonderful' the previous teacher was, you are equally 'wonderful' in your own unique way.

 

By the way, how do you know what your TA told the Head? Are you sure?

 

Be strong, have faith in your own abilities and go for it with your head held high!

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I've thought long and hard whether or not to put this in writing in case my HT knows who I am but anyway here goes. Today I overheard a telephone converstion that she was having with the early years advisor that is coming to see me. The part of the converstation I hear was my HT saying 'well it depends who you talk to, if you ask the TA then she will say that the teacher is not doing her job properly and is not coping but if you talk to the teacher then she will say that she is not being supported by the TA but personally I think the teacher is a compulive liar. It took every bit of my being not to confront her, I didnt I just came home and cried buckets. What sort of opinion will the advisor have about me? I just feel like giving up compeltely!

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Dear Jan,

Has the Head not spoken to you at all about this?

It seems very unfair that she is arranging observations for you without offering you some constructive support if she has concerns. What a horrid atmostphere. Good luck,Barb

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Hi, just thought I would let you know what happened in my observation. she said the carpet input was 'good, not very good but good' independant activities. My top ability were writing sentences using cvc words and she said she thought they wern't sure of their activity. She said she like the cvc words and the playdough and that I assessed them well, although she said I could have gone on then to do an observation on them (I had 10 mins to assess 6 children - so an observation was additional) one group were painting cvc words and she thought this activity was a little contrived one group of six were accessing the cp, she said they were doing this well and my student nursery nurse was quesioning them well. She said that the planning for each area was too detailed(my head asked me to plan a different activity for each area, with a key question every day) I said that I was planning how my ht was asking me to plan and thought it wasnt fair that she criticise me on that' She also commented that I had History in my planning and I didnt need to plan for that, I didnt need to follow QCA for my Y1's (I have 17 reception and 11 year Y1) In my reception I have a child who is statemented another child who has a Behaviour support worker with him for the next six weeks and another child who was excluded from his nursery because of his violent outbursts. They came in at 9.30 and had asked me before hand to keep them on the carpet so that they could see a short input, they then said I had kept them on the carpet for too long, I said that they were being unfair critising me for that when it was them who had asked me to keep them on the carpet. In the end she said that if I would get a AST to work alongside me to help to develop the continuous curriculum. I said no, I already feel rock bottom - one of my support staff who works with the child with behavioural problems has said that she cant believe the head is so unsupportive and putting the added stress of observing me with an early years advisor when there are so many children with severe behaviour problems. I really dont know what to do. I asked her for a copy of plans for continous provision and she said she would give me some, then left without giving me any. I feel like a total failure

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I really feel for you. I think the only thing is look at some of the positives - carpet input and independent activities 'good' - I know OFSTED no longer use 'very good', so other than 'outstanding' (which how many of us can achieve with consistency?) I'd be quite happy with 'good'.

 

As for the comments about planning - that surely is more of a criticism of the head if that's what you;ve been told to do. If you don't have to follow QCA history for your Year 1's you'll presumably be covering it in K & U so that should make your work load a bit easier.

 

I'd say the early years advisor will not have come away thinking 'you're not able to do the job'. I don't know how you'll be able to carry on working with the TA though, and I can see that your confidence in your head will be very limited - and short of looking for another job, or asking if it's possible to have a swop round of TA's I can't see an easy solution.

 

Chin up - we're all here for you.

Harricroft

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Well done Jan

I think considering the stress you have been under you did VERY WELL.

They always have to give you targets for improvement so take note of those you can act upon and bin those you can't. The HT should help you to change your planning format as she was responsible for it or it might suit you to change it and ask her to approve your changes.

We were offered a pre Ofsted inspection by our HT I did not want to be bothered but agreed to it, I made the mistake of not being ME and things did not go as planned. I did not make this mistake again. Just be yourself, remember your HT appointed you to this job, there must have been something about you she liked, when you have settled in and feeling more confident things will not seem quite so bad.

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Hi Jan

Glad you got through the obs and felt able to share your feedback with us. I think it's a good thing you were told your planning is too detailed because you can now legitmately reduce it!!! I can't imagine how you cope with a vetically mixed year group - it would be my worst nightmare! If I were in your shoes I would certainl take advantage of any support you are offered and if you can get an AST in to work alongside you I would jump at the chance.

I'm not sure what continuous provision planning you need, but the continuous provision sheets that were posted on the forum a while ago are very good (try a forum search) and you can adapt them to suit your own circumstances.

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Hi thanks for your kind words and comments. ASPK I fully understand what you are saying and under normal circumstances I would jump at the chance for an AST to work alongside me. However I really feel there is a hidden agenda. I really cant explain what I mean, but what I can say is that my teaching has never been in question and I have been teaching for 10 years. In an inspection I was given good or very good for each of the lessons that were inspected. Please dont think that I am being full of myself for telling you this but I just want to you understand - If I was in a supportive school with a HT with integrity then I would jump at the chance - we all carry on learning everyday - but I feel that would not be the case. I have actually given everything to my union and they are going to advise me what to do.

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Jan how long have you been working with this TA. Do you know how well she got on with the last teacher she worked with. Maybe she didn't get on with them.

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I am in my second year of teaching with her. Her friend in school wanted to come into reception and I said I would prefer to stay there, so I think that has something to do with it. I dont know how well she got on with the last teacher but all I can tell you is that her friend is only person she doesnt talk about. If she is in the staffroom as soon as someone walks out she has some sarcastic comment to say about them. I no longer go in the staff room becuase of the atmosphere. I just hope my union can do something about it.

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