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:o This is my fourth year in reception and finding it really difficult.Felt organisation good in previous years. There are 3 practitioners and 34 children. I have grouped them to help to differentiate work but finding children at free-choice activities are noisy or off task. Two practitioners work on focus or one focus, one reading and the other on child-choice/observation. However finding that i'm not completing tasks as i need to help others. Really stressing me out. How does everyone else work it? Feel like i am continually telling children about noise but when i look at them they are all working away at something even if not what i wanted. Got ofsted coming and really worried....as children are supposed to know what they are learning about at tasks but even though have talked about this, they don't really know. HELP!!! Love teaching but can't go on this way. Help!!! Any examples/advice would be most appreciated. xD
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I feel the same way!!

 

At the moment all of our children (45 with 2 teachers and 1 TA) are allowed total free choice when not on a focused activity (in and out usually available at the same time).

 

I know there's been a big push on child initiated stuff so feel fine with this mostly, but have recently introduced a simple system to try and make sure the children access at least 1 or 2 activities independently - to try and vary their choice and to get them used to the idea of working / playing independently.

 

We call some activities 'Star Activities'.

 

Red stars mean we would like the children to access them during that particular day.

Yellow stars mean any time during the week.

 

The children tick their name / colour in name. Only have 1 or 2 a week.

 

Not sure how it will work yet - only introduced this week. I know some children will still not access it but it might work for some.

 

1 other idea I saw when I was first in Reception, and often use, is TASK CARDS. They just highlight key questions / vocab for some independent activities. They are introduced to whole class, and then serve as a reminder to children or other adults. Doesn't work for some but not everything will!!

 

Good luck

 

Kelly

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Have you heard about Plan Do and Review

Children plan activities with a teaching focus during planning, then have to complete what they plan to do and then spend time reviewing what they have learnt. Could explain more if you want me to.

Trudie

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Yes I would be interested in plan, do and review! Thanks for all your support. Had a nightmare day agian today. It just seems when all 34 are in one room it's chaos. Took 10 out for pancake racing and 10 out for making pancakes and the difference in working with small groups was amazing. The children were so calm and purposeful! Have to try and split them up a bit. Feel low about it and thinking of resigning. Feel need to give children my all not stress! :o

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Oh purplecat xD no immediate answers as yet but just a great big hug... I've been there but we get through it... and there is more to life than our blooming classrooms. I am sure you are doing your best, even thought it may not seem like it at times. At least you care enough to be trying to do something about it... once again a big hug to you :o

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Purplecat, I think that splitting the childrne up into smaller groups is a ggod idea. I have 30 mixed R/Y1 (13/17) and I also have 5 more Y1s (from Y1/2class) for ICT , science, history, art/DT sessions. We are lucky enough to have a nursery too, and 3 of my R boys 9 statemented) spend 3 afternoons accessing their curriculm (much more approriate for them and reducesmy numbers to 32!)

Even when I don't have the extra 5 and we have 30 I spread out the children between 3 rooms, and outside too - makes for much quieter learningand more calm! AT times I have them all in one room, but it is much noisier, particualry when there is lots of child-initated stuff going on!

I try to vary who goes where, and tend to keep the R in the main classroom or outside (which is going to develop), whilst the Y1 work in groups in another room. Even if just one group goes out, it seems much calmer.

No real answer, just keep trying different things until you find somehting that works!

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Hi..more about PDR

I have 30 children in my class with 1 TA and sometimes an extra adult (mum helper). We do 3 sessions a week and each session lasts the whole afternoon. I have 3 VERY challenging boys who can cause havoc during PDR sessions but on the whole the children are focused and applying their learning and knowledge on activities and jobs that they choose to do.

We are all high scope ( http://www.high-scope.org.uk/) trained within the school which means we have attended training sessions on the philosphy of PDR which emphasises very highly the importance of developing independence skills and providing child initiated activities that the pupils can access because they choose them and plan their own work.

Preparation for the session:

Planning sheet that has been completed using learning objectives from previous weeks planning and shows all learning objectives for the different parts of the session (see attached sheet). This is then shared with any adult that is working with me so that we all know what learning is going on.

I then get ready any planning resources that may be needed have that all to hand to make sure the planning part runs smoothly.

I then put a variety on activity prompts around the room so that the children can see the different activities that they can plan to do. We never put out All the resources as finding their own resources is a very important

aspect of PDR.

The children go for a walk around the room to look in areas and then they PLAN. They do this either independently (usually by drawing what they plan or by putting their name next to a picture of the activity) or they plan with an adult. The group planning with an adult usually completes a short learning task and then in a sentence the children verbally explain what they plan to do and where.

We do not restrict their plans and so if 20 of them plan the home corner then 20 go there and they soon learn about space, taking turns and sharing. In the early stages the children only plan 1 activity but as they progress we move onto 2 and 3 plans.

The children then DO

There is always a learning objective linked to doing which the adults concentrate on whilst the children are doing and refer to. One adult goes outside and the other adult positions themselves at an activity. Here the adult helps and extends the learning in whatever way is appropriate. We have a list of open ended questions which we found in Nichola's Call's book the Thinking Child which we use to extend thinking and learning.

During doing time each adult also tracks 3 children and makes a brief observation of the learning taking place. These notes are kept in a file as evidence. we rarely have any problems with noise levels, we do sometimes have disruptions and tidying away takes up to 15mins to begin with.

During Reveiwing we come together to review our learning and talk about the session. These times are fantastic for PSHE as the children come up with things that worked well and what didn't. We then explore how to make things better for us all next time.

Children and adults love PDR and parents are very keen to know all about because the children talk about it a lot at home.

Hope that's helpful

Trudiex

PDR_planning_sheet.doc

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Trudie

 

This looks very interesting. Just to clarify, are the castles, elves etc differentiated groups hence the different formats for their plans or do the children rotate on different planning formats over different sessions?

Angela

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Hi Angela

Thanks for your interest in PDR. Yes, we do rotate planning jobs and the groups are differentiated and hence objectives slightly change according to group's ability. Do you do anything like this at your place?

Trudie

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Hi Trudie,

 

No I don't do anything similar, but share others qualms about noise, chaos feel sometimes. I'm in a semi open plan room. It's L shaped and each end is one reception class base. We have an outside area that we share. Two teachers, presently a student and two LSAs. We encourage lots of parental support. I find the antidote to the noise is to make sure outside is available as much as possible. It's like a pressure valve, when children who are needing to be boisterous can get out it really helps and then they are much more willing and ready to become involved in adult led activities wherever they are taking place. Their self-initiated play is more appropriate also, wherever they choose to do it! :D

Angela

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Hi unicid

At the moment we are working an integrated morning with 4 jobs that we rotate over 2 days. We do all the mental maths, pips, Big book,music, re in small sessions between jobs. We do PE and ICT in the mornings as well. We also do topic day on a Wednesday where we teach mostly K&U, C,PE, L(writing usually) and N. It's pretty hectic in the mornings :o and so having the freedom to play and work at their own pace really is important in the afternoon sessions. :) Also so many of my children are summer birthdays so they are still so young xD

Hope that is helpful

Trudiex

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