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hi all,

We've been here before I know. I'm having a few issues in school at the moment and want some "NOW" pictures of how you are organising and planning, operating during the day.

On one hand I am being encouraged to operate in a very informal and play based way with integrated teaching focus times but on the other hand I am being pressurised to set and meet targets & produce reams of recorded work. We have had an increased assembly attendence imposed on us which my team members like but I find very difficult.

Basically I am trying to reevaluate what we are doing in our routines etc.

 

Thanks for your help!

 

Susan

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Hi Susan,

 

I am finding myself in the same situation and feel like i have been struggling this term to please everybody.

Would also like to know how everyone else is doing it!!

 

Sarah

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Susan, I think this issue is on every FS2 teachers mind. I feel torn both ways ie we are giving the children school skills therefore assembly from the spring term is a good idea, aspect of NLS and NNS have to be in place by the summer term and planned appropriately. But and it is a big but, this is not really FS ethos!

We have kind of given in to pressure for above as last year, when our children went to Y1, it took time before they were ready to settle to NC.

Oh dear, no answers then. I still don't know the right way. I feel that we are almost going back to good reception practise!

:o Chris

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Hello Susan,

 

I've just spent a bit of time trying to reorganise my planning to make it more purposeful. I'm now using an A3 sized weekly timetable to block in lessons, indicate which adults will be working with which groups, when child initiated time is etc, and then I'm filling in a daily plan sheet which contains the objectives where needed, and details of whole class and group teaching. It seems to be working quite well, although I'll have to wait for someone to see it before I am really confident that I'm doing everything that's required!

 

I'm very worried that I'm not doing enough child initiated play - still feeling a lot of top down pressure about the literacy/numeracy skills that need to be squeezed in by the end of year R! We have a short 'choosing' session when the childrne come in first thing, but I'm busy talking to parents, doing the register etc so it's not a purposeful time for me in terms of interacting with the children, modelling play or observing.

 

THe rest of each morning is pretty much filled with 'lessons', and then we do child initiated time for about an hour in the afternoon most days. My TA helps out with group tasks but the system that's in place for hearing readers means she's hardly ever in class during CI times - so I think I'm probably not doing enough observations and I'm sure that meaningful interventions with the children are suffering. Perhaps I'll start another thread to find out what other people are doing with regard to individual readers as it's something I'd like to change for next year (and it will be really resisted by some people, I know). I'm being moderated for the profiles on Friday, so I'm hoping that they say we need to be doing more observations which would give me a bit more weight of authority with the powers that be!

 

I hope this gives some idea of what we are doing and is helpful in some way!!

 

Dianne xxx

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Hi I'm just responding to the comments about observing children and finding time (and permission!) to sometimes not do focused activities but to stand back and observe children using the classroom areas. I plan in 20 min slots for one of us(I work with a Nursery Nurse) to 'float' and support/observe the child initiated learning. I can usually find time during a session when one of us is finishing off a focused activity and perhaps half the session is available for observation. I am always surprised by the results - so much goes on that we are not aware of!

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Dear Foundation,

 

Well, I'm enjoying 1/2 term at the moment - and thinking some MORE about my planning. To be honest, I don't think it's 'right' at the moment - so I'm having another go. This past 1/2 term I've been doing short term planning on to an A3 sized timetable as a rough overview each week, then fleshing out my lessons on a daily plan sheet. BUT the 'lesson plans' are too squashed up, so I think I'm going to start doing a 1/2 page plan for each taught 'lesson' - whole class input + details of group work + independent tasks (even if it is not taught all at one time). Hope I'm making sense so far!!

 

The biggest problem I've got is that I'm not writing anything down for Child Initiated play (but how can I if it is the children who are supposed to be making the decisions?) AND I'm not planning for the environment in any way. This last issue is the one I think I may get in trouble over SO I'll happily send you my plans if you let me know your email BUT I'd also like some help with what planning you do for your environment - is it in your medium or weekly plans, what does it look like etc etc! Anyone got any bright ideas????

 

Hope this rambly post makes some sense to someone out there!

 

Dianne xxx

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I plan for my environment using 2 grids. I have one for outdoors and one for indoors, I then have all the areas in my classroom along the side and the different types of play for the outside area i.e small world play etc. In the column next to it I write the resources that will be made available to the children and an Early learning goal that could possibly be worked on using the given resources. Hope this makes sense and is what you mean. That is on top of my literacy, numeracy and other weekly planning.

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Luckyquack,

 

Hi, that makes lots of sense!! What I'm wondering is, does this planning change much from week to week or do you just have to make a few changes as you change bits & pieces in the classroom. For example, jigsaw puzzles are available all the time, and the early learning goal would probably be the same too? If so, do you word process this planning so that you only have to make the relevant changes each week, or do you handwrite it? I'm trying to get away with as little work as possible here, as you may have guessed (planning is NOT my favourite occupation!)

 

Thanks a lot,

 

Dianne xxx

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It is still in its early stages. I do handwrite them at the moment as I word process my other plans at home but write on the area provisions in school as I plan for the areas with my Nursery Nurse.

 

I have the following areas on my indoors plans: sand, water, graphics, reading corner, role play, small world, construction, interest table, maths table, malleable play, art and craft, music area, ICT. I leave a table or 2 empty for the children to choose their own resources and have an overall ELG about developing independence etc as the LO for the activities to children get out.

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HI evryone & thanks for your replies,

This seems to have evolved into another discussion on planning! I have a new planning sheet that I am just beginning to get used to so will get that posted on site or can send it to anyone interested. I'd relly appreciate seeing what all of you are actually doing , that would help my investigation if you could email them to me, please. :o

 

My original planning request was for info on the timetabling of your day.

I am very conscious that we do not use our outdoor area enough. Ideally we would like to free flow but in practise we don't. How do you organise this or what do you do?

I've dropped the formal school playtime that we used to have and thats much better.

 

Our outside area is very limited ----large expanse of tarmac with 1 raised flowerbed and a few planters, There is no shelter for rain or sun except at 1 end which is really designed for parents to wait under as this is our main playground. The reception classes do have a small fenced area in which is a piece of climbing apparatus on saftey surfacing, a small wooden house structure and our outside store. Our classrooms open directly onto this but the main school also have to have acess to the play equipement at morning play and lunchtime so setting up activities is quite difficult, or at least we find it so.

In winter very little of the playground has any sun unless it is a really sunny day and in the summer there is no shade anywhere!

 

Main playground also has a small table with roadmap top, and some marked surfaces- an alphabet spiral, a number caterpillar to 12 and a 100 square.

I find it very difficult to engage the children in using these, either as a whole class or in groups- the ones you need have lways been distracted by action elsewhere.

 

Any ideas?

 

Susan

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I share some of your problems with your outdoor area Susan - not much to do out there and it's ever so difficult to timetable myself outside, or anyone come to that! I often let a group of 8 work outside using the giant building blocks, shop, sand etc without supervision (as I can see them clearly from inside and pop out every so often to keep tabs on them) but I'm sure that I'll have to stop this soon as I'm certain it's not allowed at all!!

It is really hard to set up the playground in advance too because the parents come that way in the morning and let their pre-school children play with it - I'm looking at a way of 'cordoning off' a section so that I can set it up, and make it clear to parents this is a no-go area for their little ones!!!

I'll try sending you an email of my weekly timetable which shows the structure of the day - I'd love to see other people's too, as mine's quite formal and I would love to have some evidence to back up changes I'd like to make. Abandoning playtime seems like a big deal in this school, but I do think it would be a very good ideafor us. Anyway, I've waffled on a lot, & want to hear what other people have to say!!! :o

 

Dianne xxx

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Hi Diane, it would be really useful to see your timetable.

its so easy to be formal especially in a school.

 

We do have the fenced area but very little in the way of resources to set up. The parents need to access the classrooms from the playground through the fenced area but are discouraged from waiting in it or letting their children play there. But I have no cver so if it should start to rain anything I've taken out would get wet and what would be suitable anyway?

 

Anyone else, how do you take your inside out?

 

Susan

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I know children have to let off steam but playtimes are very uncomfortable for some children.I feel this is the time when it is harder to control bullying. Ratios have to be adhered to in the classroom but do they at playtime Is there a need for dinner ladies to have training in childcare

and should the ratios be higher at playtimes?

I know that all my 26 pre-school children we let in the garden it would be chaos. Fortunately they don't want to all go out at once. According to how many are out their we adjust our ratios of staff throughout the session between indoors and outside.

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I'll try and explain our day -

We begin with a Literacy session - not the Literacy hour but a range of activities based around a big book or other text which cover word and text level objectives - they include role play, computers, construction (build a home for three little pigs for example), sand or water (props to re-tell the stories), writing areas, phonic activities and group reading activities. We then have a Numeracy session (we are lucky to have two separate areas so can set up the activities and leave them all morning) which is run in the same way - we have a weekly theme - e.g. number recognition and counting) and set up activities - the children have relatively free choice and I work with small groups along with a TA. There are plenty of opportunities for observation and assessment built in. In both the Literacy and Numeracy sessions we have some whole class time when we use puppets to make the learning intentions clear. We do not do much recorded work - we take a lot of phots and make lots of notes - I'll refer again to the new Ofsted handbook page 44 which clearly states that inspectors do not expect to see recorded work at this stage. In the afternoons we offer a range of activities including outdoor play, often reinforcing work started in the morning and incorporating a focus on K&U, Creative Development etc each day through a planned teaching activity which we do with all the children over the course of a week. This work is planned around a topic or theme such as journeys and runs for half a term. PSHE runs throughout the activities and we plan in observation time in the afternoons too.

It's hard to give a real picture in writing of what we do - it is child centred, play based and often responsive to the children's interests and needs, but we do cover all the FS curriculum. We have whole class music and singing sessions, circle time and stories and role play and speaking and listening activities dominate. Art and craft activities are offered each day as is free access to construction areas. We are currently developing a "finding out" area where we are establishing an enquiry based learning area with an interest table - mystery object for example. We keep all our observation records in 6 folders - 1 for each area of learning - and we also keep a list in each folder of photographic evidence which we store on the computer - it saves priniting out every photo we take!! For example we have just stored a file of photos of physical play showing different aspects of the PD strand. They are easily accessible and we know we can print off any we need.

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Hi Angela, thanks for that!

My head doesn't really want to see literacy and numeracy only mornings. I'm slowly revamping my day to accomodate the formal work I'm suddenly being required to do, which is incidentally driving the children mad so I'm also trying to discretely get rid of it again! She also wants us to go outside more and I'm sure she doesn't mean just in tha afternoon so I'm working on that one.

 

Do you use a literacy scheme? Maths?

 

which new Ofsted handbook do you mean? I must check that out, the info I have is quite old now.

 

Susan :o

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Hi, this makes interesting reading, everyone does it so differently don't they? I am currently using the Highscope ideas of a group time (basically adult-directed activities - each day a different area of learning) and plan-do -review, child-initiated learning. That means that we have free-flow indoor / outdoor play for about an hour each morning and all children participate and all adults. We have a nursery class so the two classes join together for this (we don't join the rest of the school for morning playtime). Its good for spending time playing with and observing childrne at play but it can seem like chaos. I'm currently wondering about whether to stick with it! I also do a 10 minute literacy slot (focus - phonics / high frequency words), a storytime, and a 10 minute numeracy slot to cover the Lit and Num Hour bits. I'd be interested to know what people think - I keep having moments of self-doubt!!

Thanks

 

Vicki

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hi vicky

your Highscope way of working sounds interesting. How many adult led/ focussed activities do you do each day and how many staff do you have? we (myself and a my TA) usually attempt to do 4 a day, 1 each in the morning and 1 each in the afternoon. we have 4 groups. i often feel very rushed and stressed and don't feel there is much quality in my teaching! it also seems to be the norm at my school (i'm in my first year) that the TA's do all the observations and all creative and KUW stuff and the teachers do the numeracy and literacy, I don't think this is right at all and am trying my best to make it more balanced without upsetting anyone!

Lizz xx

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Hi, Really interested in this topic as it would be nice to find out what everyone else is doing. I've just been on a course where the Herts. early years team have compiled a disk full of proformas for FS planning. If you want me to..ahem.. attempt.. to mail it to you, let me know and i'll give it a go! :D Might be of some use.

 

I'm still getting to grips with it myself as last year we worked to more of a year 1 timetable and I wasn't happy with it.

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also... how do you get a little picture to go with your name?...... Oh God! I've been around 4 year olds too long!!! I do want to know though!

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Ok Ill try and explain. (dont hold your breath thouigh, you might just have to wait for Steve to come along and tell you properly :o )

 

Took me ages to work it out too.

At the top of the page, you will see the heading 'my controls'

Click on this.

On the left hand side, you will see various headings, one of which is 'edit avatar settings'. Click on this.

You can choose pre installed or your own . If you want a preinstalled one, look down the list and choose the one you like. If you want to find your own, I believe there are various sites you can get them from but you have to put the address in that box that starts http://

 

Then at the bottom, it says, 'add this avatar to my settings' and bingo!!!

 

Ill be amazed if it works..........give it a go :D:D

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At last I have a computer again! It has been a while as my computer decided to give up and I am sorry to those people who emailed asking for my planning.

 

I have been very interested in reading about how you all plan your day. Like all of you, I am always questioning myself. Am I too structured? Am I covering the right things? When should I fit in reading? Observations etc? There never seems to be enough hours in the day, by the time you've added two PE sessions, 3 assemblies and some time in the ICT suite, not to mention the usual interuptions you get: dentist, medicals, fire drills etc. It's a wonder we remain sane at all!!!!

 

I have a reception class of 26 and I am in my first year of teaching. I have changed my planning, classroom management, organisation etc numerous times since September! I am also implementing the Early Reading Research (ERR) program (which has been incredible) which dictates a lot of my day. On a 'normal' day my timetable is as follows: children come in and choose a laminated handwriting practise sheet, then they can choose an activity until registration. After the register it's dictated spellings (ERR) then onto the carpet for mental maths. Then class is split into 3 maths groups who are each assigned to either myself or a TA for 1/2 term (I have 2 TA's one just comes in for maths), then it's playtime, then literacy based activities including whole class ERR which is phonics, letter & word recognition, Big Book etc. After lunch I have an activity board with a range of child initiated activities that the children choose freely. I will also have 1 or 2 topic related/creative activities which we call children over to complete.

 

I feel that whilst my class is quite structured, the children do have free play in the afternoons and they complete C.I. activities during maths & language too. Everyone does things differently, this works for me....but who's to say I will still be doing the same structure come the end of the summer term?!!!

 

Just to add, we have a small, partly covered outdoor area which I use throughout the day for all different activities both adult led and C.I. we also go on trikes etc.

 

Hope this helps! :D

 

Shelley

 

P.S. It's good to be back!!!!!

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Absolutely perfect explanation Mundia! Don't doubt yourself! :)

 

I'd just suggest that if you have your own avatar Dartybunny (and I seriously hope you're going to find one of a running rabbit!), you should save it to your hard disk from wherever you find it, then use the browse button in My Controls (where Mundia directed you to) to upload it.

 

And hi, Shelley - it's good to hear from you and nice to have you back! :D

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Sorry Lizz and Steve for not getting back to you more promptly!! You asked for more information about my day - based on the Highscope organisation. The children do 1 focussed activity each session, so thats 2 focussed activities each day (part time children just do one - I still have part-timers until Easter!) There are 4 groups of children working at the same time (thats the whole class). I know that sounds hectic, and sometimes it can be, but it frees me up for the second part of the session, when the children have Plan-do -review and I get to play with them, observe, and generally follow their interests! I have found that with the focussed activities, it is all about planning appropriate activities - they have to be quite open-ended (ie. 'build a bridge for the 3 billy goats gruff to cross the river - make sure it is long enough to reach across the river and strong enough to hold the goats'). I also find that most of my activities cover several areas at once - although the main focus might be KUW, there is literacy and maths involved too. I have one TA and usually one parent helper, so they do the sessions focussed activity with one group each, and I work with 2 groups of children (I spend half of the time with each group so I work with the lesser able first as they tend to need more support at the beginning of the activity and then I go to a more able group to extend them for the second half of the activity). I don't mean I always work with the same two groups though!

 

I really like the Plan-do-review part of the day - I feel less stressed and rushed during this part of the day - the children are so focused and happy and busy and they always have plenty of roles for me!! Today for example, I sat outdoors and 'fished' using a magnetic fishing rod, then we 'cooked' the fish in the 'fire' (a crate) then someone stepped in the fire and we had to put them out! When I went inside I worked with some children who wanted to finish the illustrations of the book we have written called 'Jasper's Beanstalk Part two' - as they have decided they want to read it to the nursery children. Both these activities were all the children's own ideas, not mine. The children tend to do lots of designing and making and lots of role play and physical games as we have free-flow access to the outdoors, though if an adult sits down at a maths game or writing activity children often are drawn to this activity! My reception class and the nursery class nextdoor join up for Plan-do-review which is great for both sets of children.

Plan-do-review begins with the children sitting in 3 circles in different parts of the classroom (8 children in each circle - mixed age, gender and ability) They then are asked 'What do you want to do today?' and the children are usually very descriptive - we adults tend to ask questions like 'what do you need to build a rocket?' etc. We write down the children's plans (briefly) in a folder (one folder for each group). Then the children have 3/4 hour to 'do' their plans, then we meet in the same circle for review 'what did you do?' Again, the same questions to stimulate thinking - 'how could you make it better? what are you most proud of?'. The childnre do enjoy talking about themselves!! In the afternoons when I don't have as much help, the children work with a partner to plan and review - and they are very good at asking the questions and talking about their plans - I have a sneaky listen, and they don't ever use it as an opportunity to talk about something else.

Sorry, I think I have go on a bit!! I hope this makes sense, as you can tell I am very keen on some parts of my day but as with everyone else I worry if I fit in enough reading, PE etc and there never seems to be time to do everything!!

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Hi

 

we find its easier to take all out at the same time. (24 children with 4 members of staff). We then tend to take it in turns if children need the toilet etc to take certain children indoors....

 

it works for us :D

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Susan, looking through this thread reminded me that I never emailed my plans to you, nor gave a reason why!!! Sorry, the plans ar on the laptop, with no internet access at the moment, and it doesn't have a floppy drive either. I can't find my CDRW, so I'm waiting on a jump drive which school has promised me ( :o !!!)

 

Hope you got it all sorted (for now at least!) xD

 

Dianne xxx

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