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Help, Find Planning Really Difficult


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Help, seem to be drowning in my planning. I can never think of enough ideas to keep them all occupied and I am not very sure how to move them on in certain areas. I am an NQT in Reception but don't have another FS colleague to work with some am just doing what I think works using some Medium Term plans. I am always last minute with plans and feel like I am losing my class a bit as they are not properly stimulated. They are quite a challenging class who find it very difficult to listen even for short periods and can't seem to work on activities/play without speaking at high volume so it does make focused work really hard. I would be grateful for an idea of what should/could be covered in an average day particularly in the Summer term.

 

Claire :o

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Will try to help if I can, but I'm not sure I'm doing it 'right'. I seem to plan for loads of things that never get done - so I may not be the best to help, but if you give me some ideas for what you're trying to cover - what's your topic (if you have a topic)?

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Hi, I am doing Minibeasts and have the Norfolk/Southwark planning which is really good for general ideas. What I get stuck on is planning for the independent activities whilst I am working with a focused group. I am not sure I am trying to do enough and I find it hard thinking of 4 other related activities that they can do which will keep them occupied. I have an example of a plan attached. I suppose I am looking for an expert eye to see if I am missing anything or doing too much/too little.

Wkly_Plan_5.6.doc

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Not sure if this will help or not as I am based in a Foundation Unit where Nursery and Reception mingle. At this time of year I am currently planning to ensure that any 'gaps' in the Literacy objectives/ Numeracy objectives are covered in the next few weeks e.g. alliteration, updating high frequency word checklists to assess knowledge before they go into Year 1, focussing on correct letter formation as the children seem to have got more confident at writing and less skilled at the actual formation! In Numeracy I have added an extra topic of data handling as I feel I need to do a bit more on this alongside our other topics this term - Money, Time, Counting and Recognising numbers. Our overall topic is Journeys this half term so I am also doing cross curricular links such as story maps, designing boats to sail in the water tray,etc. During the week I tend to plan the activities over 2 days to ensure I get through all or most of the children, I also tend to alternate Numeracy and Literacy in the mornings/afternoons so that each subject can be done in a morning when the children in my class seem less tired. Friday is usually an assessment or 'catch up' day when we check if children have missed anything vital. We are now doing a more formal Literacy Hour and Numeracy (45 mins approx) at this time of year and have 2 focussed groups at this time and other groups are independent or working with other staff in the unit. Hope this is of some use to you!! Let me know if you would like more info

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Guest tinkerbell

Clairelu

Hi don't despair..we all get bogged down at times with our planning and like you say its your class and their needs.

I am no expert your plans look fine, do you have any other adult help?if not do parents come into school to help?Could you have areas set up for children to do their own independent work,more role play activites, sand/water work, building tall towers with bricks, where they think up their own tasks?

Do you stay with one group for the session? could you work through 2 or 3 groups and move the children around so they dont get fed up?

I don't really know I have 4 groups and a reception class assisstant we take turns in taking children 1 or 2 groups at a time to take them outside for outdoor work.This makes the room quieter.

Tinkerbellx

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Just had a quick look at your planning. Am I right in saying you specify the child initiated activities for the children? Do you sit the children down together at tables? How is your classroom organised?

 

I ask because I've found for the first year in my three years of teaching I have had the chance this year to organise the class as I want and not as a 'large shared room'. I've divided the room so I have my own class side, and then set up areas of learning (construction area, writing area, sand, water etc etc). There are continous provision stuff in each (technical term :D) ie in the water they have templated shelves that have stuff out all the time etc. The enhancements I make are when they either fit in with a topic I do or when it is appropriate to the chidlren's interest. This means that when I am on an adult-directed activity, I can be sure that the children are occupied in areas of the classroom. I use my other adult to then ensure that the children in these areas of 'choice' are being stretched.

 

For example, an Under the Sea topic came about at the end of last week when a child brought in the book Finding Nemo. So today I've worked with groups on a writing activity that had us writing labels for a display that has gone up. We were constructing independent sentences. The majority of the class were on task in the areas of provision in the classroom, but I had made suggestions at carpet input (when a child had asked me to write everyone a job list!), that when they were working on their own, it would be lovely if people could help me by making paintings, models etc of underwater creatures. Not all will, but the children who are now confident and happy to grasp onto your suggested ideas will take their own learning that one step further with your input. Others will then carry that idea one step further and come up with their own ideas rather than simply regurgitating mine.

 

My other adult then went into the water area and enhanced the work going on with shells and sea creatures there with a floating and sinking activity that had the children predicting what they thought would sink etc. I also wanted them to use the appropriate position vocabulary.

 

It means that I don't have to worry about whether I am managing to give my children enough stimulus - the classroom is their working environment and they can independently access it, with adult enhancements as well as the adult focused activities that we do in and amongst. Hope that helps slightly. If not, feel free to send me a message and I'll waffle some more!

 

D xxx

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Hi Claire, I'm not an expert by any means but these are some of the things that spring instantly to mind.

 

* You have some lovely ideas

* You are obviously really good at differentiation, indicating that you know your children really well

* You are good at tieing things into a theme

 

Something that you could, maybe, think about is the fact that your child-led activities could allow more scope for the children to go in their own direction. It is hard for young children to remember exactly what they are expected to do if they haven't got someone there to guide them. Also, they may not feel like maths activities at that precise moment in time and want to do something else.

 

Have you thought about still keeping your tight learning intentions for your adult directed activities but having at least one thing out for each of the 6 areas? For example, if your topic is minibeasts you could work with groups and have the rest of your classroom set up to include the following:

 

CLL - book browsing fiction and non-fiction texts that include minibeasts

MD - how many diff ways can you put 6 dots on a ladybird - have outlines of ladybirds and counters

CD - use chalks to draw minibeasts on the ground in the outside area

KUW - make habitats for minibeasts using compost, twigs, grass and plastic insects

PD - make models of minibeasts using playdough

PSED - go on a minibeast hunt, record what you find and make a great thing of putting things back where you find them and not hurting things

 

Your provision could also include your permanent areas such as materials' tray, role play, writing area etc.

 

I plan in this way and am happy to share my plans if you would find it all useful. Please feel free to say here or PM me if you would prefer.

 

There'll be loads of people who will come up with excellent ideas - they always do.

 

You're doing a grand job!

 

Moose x

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Hi Gater

have just read your reply about planning and ways of working really liked your idea on having topics based on something the children have brought in -one question do you plan in retrospect?

 

Thanks

Ruth :D

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Hi, I think your plans are great too and you obviously work really hard. This is alos my first year in reception, and I have really learnt how child initiated, is so important.

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There are some fantastic ideas here! One thing I'm trying to organise in my forecast for next year is how to impliment my plans. I have one very talented TA (really experianced and good on phonics etc). We both share the same ethos of child initated and centerd learning/ the learning through play etc.

Things over the last few years have been very acedemic and traditional in approach. As a consequence, adults in the classroom have been employed at the 'desk' in very focused acedemic led work (mainly CLL)

Our main concern is how we cover this and maintain the balance. I know you can 'carousel' groups, but in my mind I can still see us at the desk, neglecting the imput in other areas. There is pressure to hear reading groups every day etc.

Anyone willing to share how the classroom manage their plans??!

 

All the best

Skylight

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I can plan in retrospect yes - I've come to the belief in my third year of teaching that the more time I spend filling in boxes, the more opportunities the children manage to find of going against what I've put in them boxes!! I'm quite happy for them to do the leading and manage to get my intentions out of them in some form or another!! I've stopped panicking about not getting stuff covered/done because at the end of the day, I'm comfortable knowing what I want them to learn and if I can find a way of doing that on the children's terms, then I'm happy!! :D

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That sounds good advice Gater. I'm looking forard to when the anxiety and wanting to 'do things right' gives way a little. I know that in the past (however much I plan) children abandon those intentions and come up with something new and equally educational.

I think I need to start looking forward and enjoying a little more, without getting too bogged down.

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Clairelu,

Do not worry! You are not alone! I am also an NQT experienceing problems and it looks like my class next year will have simular problems. I've started a topic 'Stimulating atarting points'. Your link sort of merges with mine. Have a look, we might be able to help each other?

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