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Hey everybody,


Me and my colleague are entering our second year of teaching and we have been given the opportunity to change our planning structure. Currently, we teach a 10/15 minute input on a topic and then send the children off to 4 different activities. For example:

Activity 1- Red Group

Activity 2- Blue Group

Activity 3- Yellow Group

Activity 4- Green Group


The next day we will teach another input linked to the topic and then send them to a different activity. This means that by the end of the week, each group will have completed every activity. I think they call it 'round robins'. Once they have finished the activity, they are allowed to choose from the continuous provision in the classroom.


The thing that is bothering me is that activity 1 is usually writing and activity 2 is always reading. This means there is next to no time to float around the classroom with an iPad to get observations and Tapestry done.


Does anybody have any suggestions as to what we can do to change this please? It would be really useful if you could upload an example of your weeks planning so that we can see how you're structuring it. We want to change our ways but we have no experienced person to turn to about the subject.


Thank you for all of your replies, it's greatly appreciated.





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Sounds quite structured which is not my thing and presuming you are reception teacher.

But would ask why you need tapestry obs for reading or writing activity as there will be other physical evidence.

If what you mean is that these activities are heavily adult lead and you are not getting to see what child is choosing, do you have TA who could support either by taking activity or doing obs for you?

I am sure someone will be along to share their planning.

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I am a reception teacher. Forgive me, I wasn't very clear; I would be writing with a group of children whilst my TA would be reading with a group. We then swap so that she's not always reading and I am not always writing. This system has been in place since I arrived at the school a year ago. This leaves no time for anybody to float with an iPad. I rarely see children in continuous provision which is what I should be doing but I can't seem to get around this problem I have. Thank you for your reply....

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If it were me, I would be trying to find my teacher input activities through the play experiences I was providing. If you are clear what you are trying to teach in terms of the writing skills or number points, you could do a large group input and then send children off to your continuous provision which was 'cunningly planned' to encourage those skills - so writing through recipes, menus (in a cafe), lists and adverts in a shop, numbers and calculations on a building site role play experience. Is that any help?

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Thank you again for replying...


Rebecca, the way the school runs foundation is a structured piece of writing for each child each week with an adult. I only get writing during continuous provision from my HAPs usually. But I will try that much more next year to "structure".


How it works at our school is the day is split phonics 9:00-9:15, literacy 9:15-10:30, maths 10:50-11:40 and then topic/science/other curriculum in the afternoons. The class is split into 4 groups (red, yellow, green and blue). We will have 4 literacy sesssoons a week and 4 maths. In those sessions there are 4 activities which the children must complete on the different days (e.g. Red group will do activity 1 on Monday, activity 2 on Tuesday, activity 3 on Wednesday and activity 4 on Thursday). By the end of the week, each children will have completed the 4 tasks theoretically.


With the 4 activities (literacy), it's 2 adult led and 2 independent tasks (Which is what I think is wrong).... therefore activity 1 is always reading and activity 2 is always writing... so all of the adults are occupied which leaves no room to catch the continuous provision on an iPad.


It's so difficult to explain but that's the basics of it... I just have no idea how other Foundation units work apart from team teaching which is what I saw in 90% of observations of other schools.



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As an LA adviser in my day job I would be saying that this is quite an old fashioned "national strategies" model which you have maybe still got running here.


Whilst I appreciate the need to meet certain school requirements (and I would always try to ensure a teacher isn't in direct opposition to shool policy) I would tackle the time you are designating to each discrete area of learning here. Each area is in statute of equal importance!


So possibly i would suggest this:

Do your 15 mins phonics input but maybe do this after lunch or just before when you gather at the end of the morning?


Do two targetted groups for literacy input. One is maybe your targetted group guided writing activity for no more than 15/20 mins tops (and might be a lot shorter in the autumn vs july). The other could be a language based C+L/reading in context activity outside which other children can engage in alongside any targetted children.

The rest of the children can free flow and work independently. If there are plenty of embedded writing and reading purposes in your continuous provision you are still providing for the practice of these skills.


You will still get one piece of guided writing per week but as Moderation Manager I would want to see the independent writing that children do alongside this, so this adult guided writing should be only part of your writing curriculum offer - the rest is through SST/providing writing provocations across the curriculum offer in your provision.


Once the targetted activities are over by approx 9.40 you would now have, by your timetable, nearly an hour for free flow and adults engaging in sustained shared thinking/observing children's learning by being alongside them/targetting areas of the provision such as the workshop to model skills or build on input from previous days.


I'm guessing between 10.30 and 10.50 there is a playtime? If so do you need this? Many of my schools have removed this and find they have far more quality time during the day. Even if the children are not leaving the space and this is for adult purposes in EYFS it doesn't make a dot of difference to the children so this is still learning time really. This may gain you 110 minutes a week!!!


For the maths slot again limit the number of targetted/directed activity groups and the length of time you are working with them. Maths activities outside can be great games with adults to practise skills such as addition or subtraction. Most of my maths teaching was done through games and activities rather than table top working!!


The teaching and practice of maths and literacy skills comes not through carpet/tabletop activites but through the engagement of the interested adult and the application of writing or reading skills or maths concepts/vocabulary in practical contexts. Building a large structure outside with blocks will bring huge opportunities for SSM learning for example.


The statutory educational programmes (not dev matters but the actual curriculum in the framework) are very clear about what the EYFS curriculum is. How you deliver those skills and experiences is not specified anywhere.


Happy to answer any specific questions if you want to message me.


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  • 3 weeks later...

I apologise for the delay in responding to your wonderful reply. I decided that I was going to use your suggestions to change the way we plan and I would just like to say that so far, it is really positive. We have 1 adult guiding activities and the other is able to float with the iPad making observations of the continuous provision. It looks like it will give much more meaning to our continuous provision too.


We made the suggestion about break times but this was unfortunately denied due to TA's having a specified break duty.


You've all really helped me and my colleague with our issue and we really appreciate the time that you've taken to respond to us.



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We have 1 adult guiding activities and the other is able to float with the iPad making observations of the continuous provision. It looks like it will give much more meaning to our continuous provision too.


We made the suggestion about break times but this was unfortunately denied due to TA's having a specified break duty.

Glad to hear it's working better for you!


A suggestion: I would always say - don't float with an ipad! Put the ipad down and engage with the things the children are doing. Then IF you have something worth recording etc (ie something you don't already know about a child's skill set) then get the ipad out.


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