Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

How To Get Children To Want To Work With You


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have been mulling this over for a time and I would appreciate your views please.

 

I work in Reception and operate a free flow system in the morning where all the 'jobs' on offer relate to my mini-theme of the week which is encompassed by an umbrella termly topic. My TA and I pull out children to work with on work that is sometimes differentiated by ability but is sometimes an experiential activity. For example, this week and the next we are doing pirates and on Monday we are going to make authentic pirate biscuits, taste them and imagine being at sea for weeks and only having these to eat. I think the children will enjoy this.

 

BUT sometimes I plan things that the children aren't that interested in doing and they obviously resent having to leave what they're doing/were going to do (I try not to call them away if they're engrossed in a self-chosen activity) and having to come and work with us.

 

This was really brought home to me on Thursday where with my most able we were going to write menus for a pirate's wedding (based on 'The Trouble with Uncle'). It was a disaster and on reflection I know that this was my fault - too dry and boring. I re-did it today laying out a 'banquet' and letting the children make their own menus. They had clip-art pictures, pens etc for decoration and did some good writing - 'cac' was a particular favourite! The results were better in terms of motivation, enjoyment, writing for a purpose etc but weren't something that I could stick in their books etc as 'proof'.

 

I always try to have Friday as a 'floating' day where I get to play with the children, see where they are with their learning etc and I noticed lots of good things today and I wonder what I miss on other days of the week were I am doing focused activities. That kind of makes me wonder if I should just be with the children all the time and play with them but then I start wondering if the things that I notice on a Friday come about because of the focused inputs they receive.

 

This is really long and rambling isn't it? :o

 

I think my key points are:

 

* how important are focused activities?

* how do you get children to not see working with an adult as a chore?

* how important is proof of children's learning i.e. having evidence that you can show to your Head, parents, Ofsted...

 

Wise words, once again, would be very much appreciated so that I can start to sort out the muddle in my head!

Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Moose, Just my initial thoughts, off the top of my head. I'm not a qualified teacher, work in preschool and therefore don't fully understand the expectations in your real life that you get from your head or Ofsted but.............

 

I think from what you have said your children are too busy having lots of fun to stop for a "particular", what might appear to them to be an "out of context" activity. I don't think it is necessarily that they link "adult" with "chore" either because I bet they respond very well with you on Fridays. :D

 

What you have described about Fridays, is I hope how the early years is moving forward, more observation, individual extending / scaffolding and following the childrens lead ( a difficult thing to do after years of trying to evidence and meet specific criteria's)

 

I think you have recognised that children have different "learning styles" therefore we need to find different ways to assess any given criteria with each group of children who have the same / similar learning styles. ( hope I've explained that ok).

 

The way you adapted your menu writing proves this, if for example there were a few children who didn't join in and respond well to the "banquet" then maybe they would be the ones who would have responded well to the initial assessment method. ( ie: 1-1 instead of large group activity)

 

This is exactly the reason why I believe that work sheets are inappropriate.

 

So, how do you evidence: if your aim was to assess each childs ability at "writing for a purpose" then I would have used observation notes. In the banquet scenario, I would have prepared a "comprehensive" tick sheet, with headings such as;

1. Name, 2. Writing for a purpose, 3. self initiated, 4. followed peers, 5.adult encouraged.

1. Joe 2. Short coment what they wrote. 3,4,or 5 tick

 

I would then support this with photo's of the activity ( I print my pics on sticky label paper, A4 size, and stick on a blank page next to my plans) So when Ofsted look at my plans I have evidence of what actually happened.

 

My EYAT advised me that when she used to teach she would write everything in a planning book / daily diary and used this for evidence for Inspection. Personnaly I would like to dictate my whole day onto tape and make an inspector listen to it all :o ooops I digress.......

 

Hope this helps, I just want to add again that you have really shown that you are very knowledgable about your childrens learning needs and all credit to you for looking at ways to meet evidence requirements without compromising on the childrens experiences.

 

Peggy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Peggy - the thing you said about having to stop for a 'particular' purpose that is probably 'out of context' rang bells and is, I think, something that I need to think about. The thing is, how do I get round that? For example, if I was doing '1 more' then do I need to tie that in to the pirate theme? I suppose I could do that with pirate pictures...feeling a bit sick now because everything takes so many resources and hours of preparation doesn't it? xD God, I have no life as it is! Do you think this type of thing would make the learning more contextualised?

 

I operate a pictorial system where children have to put their names on a picture of the job they are going to do. I was talking to my TA today about 'the problem' and she suggested putting my and her pictures up to denote that they are 'jobs'. Do you think this might help too? Now I feel really sick at the thought of my picture being on permanent display! Time for lots of make-up and those big knickers that allegedly hold everything in! :o

 

Also, how do I get round the fact that some of the children would never, in a million years, CHOOSE to come and write. On Thursday I MADE my more able children come and write their menus but today I left it as a choosing thing. Some of the children that I know are perfectly capable of writing did come and write but many of them didn't. How would you get round this?

 

Sorry, in being kind enough to reply you've landed yourself with a whole load more questions!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Moose! I think you are vocalising what all of us are thinking - well done you :D Reception IS hard and I doubt if anyone truly gets it right. There certainly is pressure to grab children for focused activities when they would probably rather be doing other things, but sometimes there is very little alternative if you want to get round all the children. One of my colleagues at work (Y1) has found that having a "sentence writer of the day" has proved highly motivational for her reluctant writers - I wonder if something along those lines might work for yours?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think she just gives out a sticker to whomever she feels has written the most fantastic sentence! (But I'm sure she takes into consideration what constitutes "fantastic" for different children). The point is that she will announce to the class who the "sentence writer of the day" is and that in itself is motivational. You might not want to give out stickers in your class - maybe some other treat would be more appropriate, such as using a special gel pen or taking a precious toy home for the night...

It was just a thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moose,

 

I just wanted to say that you have my sympathy. I hate dragging children away from what they are doing - even at the end of the session when by rights I should be whooping with joy and pushing them out of the door as fast as their little legs can carry them. :D

 

It must be really hard to be working in a reception class with all the pressures you face. All I can say is never under estimate the value of the children's own play. Also having fun and education are not mutally exclusive. Surely if your only headache is how to provide evidence, rather than actually engaging the children in inspirational activities, then this is a good thing! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moose,

 

Our nursery classes keep learning story boards with lots of anotated photographic evidence of what the children have been up to. This includes direct quotes from the children or teacher notes on the learning taking place.These are then kept as evidence and go on the wall for children and parents to see - both of which love it - it really shows that the adults respect their work in the YR classroom.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Moose! I think you are vocalising what all of us are thinking - well done you  :D  Reception IS hard and I doubt if anyone truly gets it right. There certainly is pressure to grab children for focused activities when they would probably rather be doing other things, but sometimes there is very little alternative if you want to get round all the children. One of my colleagues at work (Y1) has found that having a "sentence writer of the day" has proved highly motivational for her reluctant writers - I wonder if something along those lines might work for yours?

49010[/snapback]

I just wanted to say I sooo agree with you ASPK. I spend my whole life trying to work out the best way of running a Reception room and I never feel like I've got it right! It's so frustrating!!! One of our bug bears is trying to develop outdoor play - with limited staff and pressures to be developing reading, writing skills etc, etc. I know you can develop some of these skills outdoors too, but who wants a classroom door open when it's freezing outside? My only solution seems to be to try to do a little of everything, not ideal but the only way I can think of that gives all the children a little of what they need.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep! Free flow indoor/outdoor play is extremely hard to manage with limited staff - I maintain that to really work effectively we need two adults outside and two inside. It won't happen, though, especially with falling numbers and tight budgets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is always a problem when children are engrossed in a chosen activity and you want them to come and work with you. i usually start a session telling the children the 'jobs' on offer and say I will be at 'x' activity and will need some people to come and help me luckily I find my present class are really eager and I have to turn people away until I have space for them. There are always one or two who seem to vanish and I find it helps to pick them for the first group before they have chance to get too caught up in other things. Also I bought some stickers from Pedagogs (someone recommended on here) and find these highly motivating. :)

Good Luck dont think there is an easy answer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've found this area difficult too this year - by difficult, I mean by managing myself - because the children are happy!

 

I've found that I tend to set up an activity and ask for helpers for it i.e. "Who would like to help me write a sentence in their special book?" etc. I usually get them flooding to come and help me - because that's often how they see it - that I'd like their help. There are the odd occasions where I want specific children to do something, but usually I ask when they seem to be floating and 'in-between' jobs. If they are busy, but it's something I really need them to do, I either go to them, or call them over, often saying please a dozen times, before they smile and join me. I don't pressure them, as often what they are doing is a very good example of indepedent learning anyway. I try and ensure that the adult focused stuff are things that are necessary - stuff that needs an adult. For example, if I want to have children attempt writing for a purpose, I could ask a group to sit with me and write stuff in their special books (which is an incentive by itself), but other times, I may set up a table with objects and labels, and at the carpet I may have set the scene i.e. on the table there are lots of objects that you could use to make a shopping list with etc. The usual stuff we do. Then I get to see who would do it by choice (and they are often the ones who are ready for the activity anyway). The others often need adult extension in the continuous provision areas.

 

I'm very much aware of overkilling the whole focused activities as previous years have seen the setting I was in having a very structured approach to reception. This year I was given autonomy as to how I wanted to set up my classroom and run my days - this has been a blessing. It has meant that I am free to allow the children to lead - and lead they do. I do have to remind myself that as long as they are learning and progressing, I shouldn't have to worry about conforming to pressures from elsewhere, as what we are doing is obviously working for them.

 

I'm trying to continuously remind myself to have the observer hat on - it allows you to work on the premise of where the children are, rather than where you think the children are. It is a lovely feeling to know that you are accommodating their individual needs, rather than the needs strategy documents say they'll have at this particular time of day, in this partciular week, of this particular term, of this particular year in their education.

 

As you might guess, am loving being in my room at the minute - it's when you go out of the room that all the crap comes tumbling down!

 

Hope that sort of helps - ish!

 

x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just wanted to say I sooo agree with you ASPK.  I spend my whole life trying to work out the best way of running a Reception room and I never feel like I've got it right!  It's so frustrating!!!  One of our bug bears is trying to develop outdoor play - with limited staff and pressures to be developing reading, writing skills etc, etc.  I know you can develop some of these skills outdoors too, but who wants a classroom door open when it's freezing outside? My only solution seems to be to try to do a little of everything, not ideal but the only way I can think of that gives all the children a little of what they need.

49027[/snapback]

 

 

I work in a Foundation Stage Unit so situation is slightly different in that there are 4 adults (currently 53 children) One of the things OFSTED praised us for was that we said we hadnt got it right BUT were changing and trying different things. We DO opperate an open door policy (even when its freezing) have had to buy thermals (no kidding) since the beginning of this school year we have only closed the door 1 day and that was because the caretaker had run out of salt and it was dangerously icy. Its not ideal for the adults but with a group top heavy in boys this seems to suit the children and we can only try..........cant we? :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for your views so far and thank you ASPK for telling me more about the 'sentence writer of the day'.

 

Hi Marion - I loved the idea of Ofsted saying you hadn't got it right but that you were adapting and trying new things. I don't suppose they gave you any ideas of what IS right did they? I'd pay any amount of money to know! :D Also, when you say you're doing x activity, how do you manage to make it so that children want to be with you? Do you think your just saying 'I'm going to be doing this' is the motiviation in that you've turned your self into a 'job'? Is that the same type of thing as me putting up a picture of myself, do you think, on my pictorial system? Also, how 'exciting' is the job that you're doing usually? How would you go about making, say, the concept of '1 more' exciting? Sorry, Marion, I know this isn't the first time you've helped me out. I am grateful though! :)

 

How many focused activities do people do in a week? On Tuesday we're not in the classroom as we have a specialist music teacher who has my class for half an hour, then we watch a numbertime video and then we have P.E. This takes up the morning. Friday is Golden Time and my 'just playing' with the children morning. This leaves Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Currently my TA and I do 1 activity each. She does half the class on Monday whilst I work with the other half and then we swop children on the Wednesday. This is only 14 and a half children (!) to get through in a morning but sometimes it feels like a real struggle. Thursday has been dedicated to literacy of some sort e.g. writing, CVC word building, initial sound discrimination and we aim to cover the whole class then but this feels like a massive burden and is not enjoyable for us or the children. Is there any point in my saying, to my more able children, come and write? What am I actually teaching them if I do this? Am I trying to do too much?

 

I am pondering the idea of not doing anything with my more able children on Thursday morning, leaving me more time with my less able children, and then setting up some kind of role-play based writing scenario for Friday (like the banquet thing) which I would want my more able children to do but then this becomes another task doesn't it, that I've got to get children to do and blows out my 'free' Friday morning. AARGH! Back round I go in another huge circle: not waving but drowning!

 

Don't know what I'd do without this site.

Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Usually I say 'I will be looking for people to help me' (this seems to be highly motivating) and usually I have to turn children away until there is space at my activity. Sometime I just sit down and do the activity by myself and find the children wander over to see what I am doing usually followed by a request to join in. I do target those children I KNOW wont come to me and try to make this at the beginning or end of a session so they get a chance to work at their chosen activity. Sometimes its a matter of grabbing children as they wander from one activity to the next 'before you do THAT will you come and help me with THIS job?'

 

 

OFSTED didnt seem to have the answer either. To be honest I dont think there is an answer xD

 

How about for 1 more using your pirate biscuits?

put some on the plate and ask them to count how many

once they get it right ask them to add one more biscuit and say how many now

once they can do it by counting say 'I have 4 biscuits' if I had one more how many would I have?

try it with pirate gold maybe?

 

we start out with chocolate buttons and let them eat the buttons when they have finished all my sums :) food is a great motivator (didnt have any problem getting ALL the children to join in that one :o )

 

Also counting round a circle and stopping and asking what number is next? what number is one more?

 

in the shop can I have 3 apples? and 1 more how many does that make altogether?

will try to think of some more ideas and get back to you

Edited by MARl0N
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can I just add that while the focused activities have their place sometime you have to abandon them and go with the children. We were doing some pirate stuff a while ago and a group of boys werent interested in the writing activity at all :o They wanted to make Treasure maps instead so we all made treasure maps and when I started to add words to mine everyone wanted to add words. Maybe it wasnt what we'd planned but it was still worthwhile and just a small note on the planning to show you are changing to meet the children's interest and needs. Think its in Excellence and Enjoyment document xD maybe!

Edited by MARl0N
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, the 'one more' thing was just an example. My independent activites, I think, are good fun and motivating (that's not meant to sound arrogant) but I find it hard to always think of exciting, motivational things to do for my focused activities. Do you always try to tie them in to have a topic focus? How long do you aim for a focused activity to last? Reading what you've said previously about outlining what you will be doing, I think that it's been a mistake my not saying what me and my TA will be doing and may be part of what Peggy said about children seeing 'us' as being out of context.

 

How many focused activities do you do in a week? Will these be with the whole class? Do you have everyone doing the same thing, differentiated for ability or would you, say, work on an aspect of KUW with some children, MD with others according to small groups of children's needs? I hope it's not the latter as I have toyed with this but I can just envisage the planning - mine takes long enough as it is!

Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because we are a unit with both nursery and reception aged children we work around the different maturity/abilities.

What we do is have 2 literacy and 2 numeracy activities per day (these are usually adult led focused activites) and one other adult led focused activity from another curriculum area so it may be KUW or creative or......... we also have an adult free to float every day they may be making observations or assessment or just joining in activities to try and move things along.

At the beginning of each session we make the children aware of what each adult will be doing and find the majority choose to join in at some point in the day :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just some thoughts on this.....

 

 

the FSCG often specifies direct teaching as a key part of effective teaching/learning in all the introductions to each area, as well as children being allowed to respond to the provision (either chosen by adults or selected themselves) or their experiences. Eppe gives us best practice as a 50/50 balance of the above. So we know we are going to be working directly with childen. This may be at an activity developed and delivered by the adult or responding to the children's play by joining in with it. In any case working within a context that is coming from childrens needs and interests and experience is the primary motivator.

 

Interest comes from being able to cue into whatever it is in front of you, to make sense of it, and to use it to push the boundaries of your experience a little further in many different areas of learning. I dance a lot, so I'm interested in strictly come dancing because I want to watch how the experts dance so I can develop my style and practice new ideas out. I hate to miss out on a programme and make a point of being around to see them because the interest in it is a powerful motivator.

 

I think children are the same. Interest comes from being able to see the links something has with your own life experiences. If Pirates say don't float your boat, and you don't really understand what they are all about, maybe you've never even been to the seaside, you ain't gonna want to write about them, no matter how much an adult exhorts you to do so because it could be so abstract for you!!! So I think it's important to connect with the experiences the children bring to the setting to extend on from where they are in it's truest form. What have they been playing/doing/showing interest in that might be extended into 1 more 1 less? Is it a jumping game, is it wanting to count out the fruits, is it wanting to play with the sorting objects, maybe it's just rooting it in the world around them? It's snowing, so do one more one less snowflake cos that will be of interest - it's happening!! When developing themes we should ask ourselves how relevant is this to the child's world view and where do I link it to something they may already know about so they can build a chain in their learning rather than islands of information that we think they should enjoy..

 

Each child may have a different trigger and it is the value of real assessment that helps us find it to develop a secure and positive learning environment that truly engages children because they have a part in it's development.

 

Not really a response to the original query, more a resume of my current thinking!

 

Cx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have read all these replies with great interest. The questions that have been raised are ones I ask myself. At times I feel a sense of despair because I don't seem to have quite got the balance right with the adult initiated activities. The child initiated activities work well.

Thank you for raising the questions. I now know that it isn't only me that's constantly searching and refecting on how to manage and organise the reception class activities.

The only thing which I sometimes get comfort from is that at least we are all able to reflect upon our practice. We accept that changes need to be made and to decide on the next strategy.

I hope this makes sense!

Kathleen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be honest that's exactly what we told OFSTED and they praised us for recognising the fact and being able to look for answers. Anyone waiting for inspection my advice would be to explain how we are changing and adapting constantly to meet the children's needs. This certainly went down well with our OFSTEd team.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ive been reading/ following this with interest.

 

I've mostly found children keen to join adult led activities. I used to tell the children what I would be doing which seemed to help motivation and to grab those you thought might be more reluctant at a point when their own play was not going to be disrupted. The child who has been waiting ages for a bike or the computer is not going to keen to come away and work with the teacher just as he/she gets their turn but may more readily work with you while waiting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Moose,

what a fantastic reply from Catma. On the whole, I would say my whole week sounds like your Fridays - we don't have that many focussed activites (4 a week I think) but do have frequent, short, teacher in put sessions throughout the day. The 50/50 point from Catma was very interesting and I will look again to see how far off this balance we are. We have been told by our Early Years advisor to NEVER call children over to participate in a teacher directed activity during child -initiated sessions, so we try not to do this. (Sometimes we do though but always feel bad about it.)

 

Sometimes the more you know, the harder everything is! You can only try your best and by questioning yourself (as you are doing) you are certainly doing all the right things and sound like a fantastic teacher.

 

Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The advice we were given when we started planning our unit was 60 per cent child initiated autumn term falling to 40 per cent child initiated summer term. we are now looking at our transition to year 1 policy to find a balance when the children leave the unit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where does the 50:50 and 60:40 ratio come from? That sounds horribly aggressive and antagonistic! It's not meant to, honest! I am genuinely interested! Why, on why, don't I know these things? Oops sorry, Catma. Have just re-read your post and you say Eppe says this is 'best practice'. At the risk of showing my vast, untapped ignorance, who/what is Eppe? :o

Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks again, Marion. Why have I never heard of this stuff? I DREAD Ofsted coming in (I've never been Ofsted-ed) and asking me this stuff and I'd just have to sit there opening and shutting my mouth with nothing (or garbage) coming out! My trouble is that I don't know stuff - I feel things. I think this has a place but don't think it will get me through an Ofsted :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about using a puppet. In my nursery we have Louise - She's one of those puppets where you can control her hands and fingers as well as her mouth. I use her to encourage the children over - they always seem to wanrt to help Louise...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for putting the link in Marion - have been entertaining nephew and niece all weekend so have been otherwise occupied.

 

Anyway, yes EPPE is as it says, one of the findings from this longitudinal study was that the settings that provided a near equal balance of child initiated/adult directed activity had the best outcomes for children, hence my short hand of 50/50.

 

Cx

Edited by catma
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks again, Marion. Why have I never heard of this stuff? I DREAD Ofsted coming in (I've never been Ofsted-ed) and asking me this stuff and I'd just have to sit there opening and shutting my mouth with nothing (or garbage) coming out! My trouble is that I don't know stuff - I feel things. I think this has a place but don't think it will get me through an Ofsted  :o

49226[/snapback]

 

Please try not to worry we all feel there are things we should know and no one has told us. Thats the beauty of this site we can all share ideas and infomation. Personally I think 'feeling things' is important its the teachers who dont 'feel' we should worry about!

The new OFSTED organisation doesnt leave inspectors with a great deal of time to 'interrogate' teachers (only joking) In 2 days depending on the size of your school you may not see an inspector :D

Edited by MARl0N
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)