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Classroom Noise Level And Organisation


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I'm a NQT teaching in a Reception class. I would really appreciate some advice on how to organise my class! i've just had my new intake of January children so now have a full class of 30 (15 started in September). With a smaller class I was able to easily work with a group whilst the other children happily and constructively played within the classroom and were able to choose what they wanted to do or would complete a structured independent activity. Now I have 30 children I realise how small my classroom is and the noise level (not surprisingly) has increased considerably. I do spend time talking about using "our quiet voices" but it seems that often they are so absorbed in their play they don't realise they are shouting! Another problem I have is that I have a small group of boys who tend to only play with construction but do not seem to play very constructively! Despite my repeated instructions they all make the same thing and then play fight with them. It doesn't seem to matter what toys and resources i put out - a battle will take place! I don't want to restrict them playing but at the same time I don't think they are playing very constructively. I have tried saying thay have to make something in particular, e.g. a castle but they do this and then make something to battle with! They do not seemed to be interested in anything else and will complete other tasks very quickly in order to get back to their chosen play.

My parallel teacher tends to use a wheel system whereby each group of children are expected to stay at a table until it is time for everyone to swap. I'm not keen on this as I don't feel that the children are being allowed to make free choices or interact with each other sufficiently but I am thinking that it may be a solution to my problems.

Any advice would be useful as I am feeling a bit disheartened at the moment xD

Lizz x

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Hi Lizz

 

I am also a reception teacher... and I have a class of 25 children... I have all the summer born children and we only do 1 intake each year so I had a very similar problem last term. I had 25 very young children who were still at the developmental stage of solitary or parallel play.

 

I found that the best thing to do as I wanted to keep the idea of free choice play was to introduce an activitiy board which I put up around 6 choices for each session of the day so that they are able to choose but you still have some control over what you are getting them to do. It is useful to put objectives to some of the free choice activities but not all or they aren't getting the choice.

 

I also found that I needed to go back a step and teach these children how to play constructively.... teh only way to do that is to have 2 or 3 weeks where you plan guided play sessions have a big emphasis on spoken language and personal and social skills and have an adult directing the play with groups of children... giving them ideas, showing them how to use new equipment and toys. I have also started to make playmats with the children e.g. for our farm set they have paper mached a flat box with hills and a pond which will be painted and can become a focus for play.

 

I still find that the children need guided play sessions... where they are encouraged to try out the equipment and ideas are suggest by peers and adults.

 

I have found that this has decreased the noise level in the classroom and that the children are much more likely to play constructively.

 

I hope this gives you some ideas and don't give up.

 

Lorna :)

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LIZZ, :o Oh yes it sounds very familiar. My class last year were great - focussed in play etc. This year...!!! I also have all 30 in together by the Autumn half term.

I put them all in groups - random initially, but now according to ability/development. I timetable literacy and numeracy manily for my sanity!!! When children have completed their lit/num activity they consult an activity chart which I change daily. Against each group there are three different activities to choose from. The computer is one of those choices. I change these every day so that in a week everyone gets a chance at everything. But there are days when I give FREE choice and children can choose from anything which means they can help themselves from drawers and cupboards as well as the things set out. Within all this will be some focussed activities (art for example). During these play times we are able to make our observations for assessment, hear readers and do focussed work with individuals needing extra help.

They can get extremely noisy so I do try to get at least one group outside for some play (on a good day!) and have 2 classroom assistants in the mornings and parent helpers as well who assist with this. I also timetable in the role play corner with one of my TAs for some quality play and that is working brilliantly. If things are very noisy I start a clapping pattern that they copy and it finishes with folded arms ready for listening. I also have a "sh" chair for any individual offender. They take time out with a book and it helps to quieten them down as well as teach the whole class "sh" sound!!!

There is no right or wrong way and it takes a bit of experimentation to find what works with any particular class. Keep pressing on and don't be scared to make mistakes because that helps you to find out what works and what doesn't!

Every success, heyjude xD

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EY advice from the courses that I have attended have made the FS philosophy a lot clearer to me.

 

When freeplay- child-initiated play, happens - it should be all children at once. In order for this to be a productive time, with interaction from adults to enable questioning, scaffolding (buzz word!) and observations to take place, the adults should not be engaged with a group for a focused task at that time.

 

I have one session of child-initiated play each morning and each afternoon. When the children are not doing that, it is teacher input time which is whole class followed by independent tasks set my me when I then work with a group, the LSA with another and the rest are engaged in differentiated activities that they can undertake with minimal adult support.

 

Hope this helps.

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Lorna, I love the "guided" play!! An excellent way to describe it. Now we will have guided reading, guided writing and guided play! It fits better that child led etc. as it does mean the adults have to be involved.

We too have a variety of approaches over the week. We are trying guided writing all together (at different levels) and it is working. Means adults support two groups but there is a real focus of "writing". Just have to make sure the reason for the writing is a good one. I was standing in for our male teacher who has a new baby girl so the reason was to make a congratulation card - good results!

:) Chris

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