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Could Do With Some Advice


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Hi. I am working in a DN now and have been asked to work in the maths and literacy room. We are fortunate in that we have three rooms divided into all 6 areas of learning, although obviously some areas overlap, such as PSE.

 

Anyway, I have noticed that the children dislike coming into my room (have been there 3 weeks now, although in the company for nearly 2 months) so I am following on from the NN that has now left. There is very much a 'work' emphasis in there and I believe this is why the children do not find it as fun and exciting as I would like.

 

My main goal this month has been to observe each of the children and look at where they are at in terms of activities/experiences I can carry out with them. I feel that I know the children pretty well already in terms of personality but in terms of what they can do and what they need, I am fidning this really difficult. As a result, the room has continued to run in the same way as before and to be honest, it is boring. Even the staff take umbrage if they are asked to work in there with me!

 

So, I could do with some exciting ways of jazzing up the place. I'm not allowed to do messy activities in there as there is a designated room for that, nor am I allowed role play because there is a designated room for that.

 

So far, I have tried number rhymes and songs, such as the Currant bun song using the children as buns etc (have done this with a few rhymes actually and the novelty is wearing off!) I have tried making up rhymes for different things... This sounds so bland and boring and really like I haven't got a clue what I'm doing, but because of the restrictions in place, it makes it difficult to work outside of the equipment I have got. It's doing my head in! Although not in a negative way as usual, but I'm quite looking forward to tackling it head on.

 

I don't want the children to feel like they are having to come in, sit down and work, I would rather they learnt through play, but the extent of equipment that is used is paper and pencils/crayons/chalk, counting and sorting equipment.

 

To try and jazz it up this week, all the focus activities I have planned, I have made the resources myself. It's been a long week but so far, the children seem to be enjoying it.

 

I'm really sorry for that load of waffle, but I'm finding it hard to get my thoughts down quick enough. If someone has some exciting ideas they would be willing to share, I would be really grateful.

 

Thanks!

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Poor you. It must be really difficult for you, especially as you are not allowed to use messy play, etc. I am not sure how they can separate the different areas of learning like that - does that mean that no language or mathematical work is allowed to take place in the messy area, etc??!! xD What if a child does some mark making in the sand??!! :o

 

How about making up some exciting sacks or discovery boxes for children, to whet their appetites?

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How about some small world play - lots of language there. What about telephones and notepads/ proformas? Small sand trays to write in with fingers. Tape songs/ rhymes to sing/ talk with. Velcro numbers to stick up. Lots of sorting /counting object which could link with the theme. A doll's house for prepostion work?

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I can understand why you are having problems Clare-if you are finding it boring just think how the children must feel. I agree with Shelley in that you can't really separate out the areas in such a restrictive way. And, I have to say, I think I would be brain dead after a few weeks if I was restricted to just doing number and literacy work!! I would want to be moving round the rooms to ensure I didn't get bored.

Are you allowed to use plasticine or playdough? What about lots of measuring and weighing?

What have you done in the way of literacy? Do you have lots of number books such as Ten in the Bed that you could base activities around?

One activity we did was to make a train track with stations, bridges etc. to encourage positional language.

Linda

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But who says that you can't use role-play and getting messy with sand in that area :o ? Haven't they read the Foundation Stage Curriculum (e.g. pages 49 and 67) xD ?

Edited by SmileyPR
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Hi Clare, you have my sympathy xD Even the loveliest places find it difficult to think outside the box.

Have you asked the management if you can take other equipment into the room? If they said no could you get a solid reason from them? If you wrote some activity plans with firm math focus could you then show how you need other stuff?

Some places get so used to their routine and way of doing things that they forget where they should be, a few gentle hints might work, or failing that a proper sit down and discuss meeting.

 

Could you make board games using the children as counters, a big dice and mats on the floor?

Or how about using the children to make patterns, big, small, big, small, long hair, short hair.

Give them a digital camera to record it their work.

Have races in linking the unibricks, counting teddies into a bucket, building a tall tower (or is that construction?), give out winners medals just for the time they are in the room.

Hope you find a solution. :o

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Early Maths and Literacy should not be being offered as a separate entity but rather incorporated into all the play areas as much as possible. :o Is this essentially a 'quiet' space with table top games, puzzles and books?

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Sounds like an interesting way to distribute staff. :o

 

You dont mention any small world play equipment, which the early excellance centre have in all of their areas, they could be used for size, colours etc... Our children make lots of mathematical comments while playing with dinosaurs and bears etc.. They also used photographs for numbers e,g, 3 cats in a row, 5 teddy bears, 6 children, all in different photos which look fantastic, and the children could put those in order. You could use photo's of the children.

 

Good Luck!

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How about going for mark making in a big way with sand trays, water and huge brushes, playdough, clay, paint rollers and huge sheets of paper. Then practical numeracy such as tuf spots with a variety of materials and scales, trays for floating and sinking etc. etc.. You could justify any exciting activity as having literacy and maths. It sounds terrible to be restricted to rhymes and .....

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best thing at moment is the telephone, pads paper and pencils....children all want to draw / write when we had problems getting them near the area.

scales and measuring boxes,

song sacks too just a item which they pull out associated with songs, often more than one song, children add to the sack as they remember a rhyme and add an appropriate item to it, ours ours getting a bit big, and in need of number 2.

 

Tape recorder/Cd player and sound games..always a queue for this.

 

Puppets... for games songs, story, good for language

 

we made games with the children , shape hunt is a fave, they made the shapes, cut out and we laminated them , we then hide them in the room and they find them return them to a board with the matching shapes drawn on it, spend ages hiding and finding the shapes for each other.

 

Must be more, but it is harder if you have to try to do it without the rest of the setting to use too.

 

Inge

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I cannot see how this can work all of the areas intermix and intwine with eachother - we have made lady birds this week and it has encompassed messy play, counting, colours and language. How could you possibly separate that off?

 

An Idea for you could be story sacks? hand puppets? can you use instruments to tap out rythms?

 

Hope that helps and I don't envy your position

 

Deb

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Hello Clare loads of good ideas here already. I have a large bag which covers all areas of the curriculum just in case the children aren't interested in the planned activities. Apart from the ideas already mentioned i have made up 26 bags containing items using each letter of the alphabet. Parents saved their soap tablet bags.I also use these items and remove items and ask the children to guess the missing item. I have laminated pictures to correspond tp different nursery rhymes. The children take turns to pull a picture out of the bag and say the rhyme. The children also love playing matching pairs and snap. I use picture, letter and number packs. We have a large doll puppet that helps us count etc.

Good luck you will have so many exciting things to do and I am sure the children will look forward to coming in your room.

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Wow, thanks for all those fab ideas. I can see I'm going to be busy over the weekend making all these exciting new resources!

 

Linda, I did my planning for next week and for one of the focus activities, I wanted to do playdough and scissors. I wrote it on my plan and handed it to my manager for typing up and when it came back, playdough had been replaced with cards :o . The only 'messy' thing I have been allowed to do in there is collage using pritt stick (which actually looks very good on the wall and the children all recognise it as the Rainbow Fish).

 

Bubblejack, I love the washing bag idea. Might have to try that one!

 

I now have a selection of story sacks which I have made and they are hanging up for the children to access, I've made 3 games involving counting and sequencing. The next things on my list are:

 

a number line (probably clothes on a washing line kind of thing)

Bubblejack's brilliant idea for alphabet bags

sand paper letters

number t-shirts for the children to wear during rhymes such as 5 currant buns

song sacks (as suggested by Inge)

 

Yes, Beau. My room is quite small with two small tables, the carpet area and the computer. It is really quiet in there, so today I have had the CD player on with letter/number rhymes playing gently in the background.

 

My manager has decided to hold room meetings and planning meetings because I mentioned that there were messy and creative things I wanted the children to do to develop literacy/maths skills but was told by another member of staff that she wouldn't do them in her room as she had already planned for them once.

 

I am looking forward to making all of these resources and I know that whatever I want form my room in terms of equipment, I will get (they're good like that) but I can see I'm going to have to spend hours making my own things and whilst I don't mind doing it, I'm concerned that I'm not going to fit it all in with college and everything else.

 

Just have to see how it goes I suppose. Thanks again, for all your ideas and advice.

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Clare thought of you today when I was using the alphabet bags. I put the corresponding plastic letter in the bag and leave it only the table so the children can see it whilst we are playing with that sound. Also as well as writing the sound in the air I have a small etcha sketch so children can have a go at copying the letter if they wish.Many of my children will sit for ages doing this activity.

Have fun you will be searching the charity shops for small items to fit in the bags.

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Clare, number t shirts might be fidly for children to put on /take off why not just make number tabards. If you cut with pinking scissors you will not need to do any sewing.

 

Hi Bubblejack. How would I make tabards and what would I need? Can you tell that I'm not good in areas such as these? xD

 

Oh and what are pinking scissors?? :o

Edited by Clare
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Clare-have you got your copy of the new Early Years Foundation Stage yet? If you look at page 11 of the Statutory Framework booklet point 2.5 states "None of these areas of Learning and Development can be delivered in isolation from the others." You can also find this here. It's after the list of the areas of learning.

I think your manager needs to see this and take note. I know that it doesn't come into effect until 2008 but surely this is how you should be working anyway?

Linda

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hi Claire

 

pinking shears or Pinking scissors, as they may also be known are scissors which have a blade to cut material with a zig zag edge so that it will not fray , so no need to hem, have seen them in some supermarkets if you are lucky or haberdashery stores (rare sight these days). pinking shears to buy

 

for a tabard you will just need a length of material to go over childs head and reach waist etiher side , cut edges with pinking shears and also cut a slit for head to go through making sure you leave shoulders - sounds odd but try it with paper first if worried, you could use an old sheet for it, try a charity shop, we always find some in them.

 

we made some with net curtain for children to be snowflakes in counting rhyme for winter...(cannot remember it at present, children danced around and melted in turn.)

 

Hope this is what you were after and it is not too simple an explanation.... forgive me if it is, its an age thing and I love sewing and making items too.

 

Inge

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