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Hello everyone,

 

I know I should be worrying about my profiles for my Reception children, which I am ... a lot, but am so worried about my teaching. I am doing Transport this half term and I really struggle with setting out independent activities. While I'm doing my focus group activities I really need the other children to be focused on their independent activities, which they're not! They wander around my very small classroom helping themselves to things in the drawers. Yesterday I put out pasta with chopsticks, I had them doing writing at the writing table about their holidays - however I needed my TA to be with them and she scribed for them because they are not independent writers at all! I'm trying really hard for them to use their sounds in their independent writing and some of them just don't want to even mark make, but stay on the construction the whole time! I tried introducing a fluency activity, but they don;t seem to be interested and were bored. I was making a play mat for Rosie's Walk in creative/KUW yesterday afternoon, again some children weren't interested, they said it was boring! I don't want to be a boring teacher!

Please could you give me some ideas of what to put out for them and how to keep them engaged in what they're doing. Even when I put playdough out, they start putting it on their heads, they're not interested in making letters with them or making their names. Could you advise me on what computer programmes I could set up for them to be engaged in also please?

 

On another note, again to do with my teaching - I have one focus group per day for CLL & MD - so each group does a version of the same activity throughout the week. However, I get very stuck on what to do with them on the carpet for the 15 minutes before they go off to do their independent activities and I take my focus group. I have bought Bingo Lingo and the Tom Thumb book by A&C Black. You see I'm Key stage 2 trained and currently an NQT and I used and adapated the Numeracy plans, which helped me as a guide... but I remember doing counting - one more, take away thoughout the week and they said not counting again!!! Oh God, what am I doing wrong - do I just sing songs with them the rest of week and use the Bingo Lingo and Tom Thumb books for my intro - this wouldn't be 15 minutes worth though?

 

Please help! and so sorry to be so demanding!

 

Thank you, Natasha

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Hi Natasha, Above all, dont panic or get stressed over it. You are evaluating and reflecting on your practice which is aways a good thing and shows you to be a good teacher. :o

 

Independent activites are just that, so I'd look at how independent they really are if you are setting them out. Are they things the children are interested in? If not can they be adapted?

If they are getting things out of drawers are they adding to what they are already playing with or are they choosing completely different things? Can you encourage them to put things away when they've finished before they get new stuff out? It might help them to focus on what they are playing with.

 

Instead of writing about their holiday could they draw a picture, making any marks they want?

Praising each mark might encourage them to want to 'write' more.

Could you add some marking making materials and note pads, clip boards into the construction area?

Boys especailly are more prone to write if they see a reason, but all children might benefit. Put a phone there too, so they can take messages, orders, write reports on how the buildings getting along etc.

Think about your other activities too, the play mat you wanted to make was probably lovely, but how much independent creative input did the children have? Was it adult led to the extent that the layout was arranged for them, the colours decided? Had they recently read the book? Could they have made it in the construction area, 3D sometimes works better.

Dont worry about playdough on their heads. It all goes towards the general skills needed for holding a pencil and writing. Have games like who can make the longest snake fastest, roll the smallest balls, twist the twistiest snail.

Teachers TV has a good programme on using puppets, obviously you have to be quite confident in using them especially in front of other adults but it might give you some ideas on how to liven up carpet time. You can watch it HERE

xD

 

When I did transport at playgroup we were lucky enough to know people with a limo, a reliant robin, a motorbike and a van. We had them parked outside at intervals and looked at each one. How many children could we fit into the limo? Shame we left playdough n the carpet! We looked under the bonnet of my car, had the police visit with their car and bikes (and once upon a time the horses but we dont have them in Brum anymore). We talked about all the bits and pieces and the children were able to draw some pretty convincing pictures of a motorbike.

Find out how things work, cogs and wheels, pulleys are good for showing the basics of force and power.

If you've just been doing about their holidays they must have had various ways of travalling there. Collect a load of boxes and let them make trains, buses etc, provide materials to make tickets, money. Have roles, driver, pasenger, mechanic, ticketmaster. Scibe their play and read it back to them, ask questions, where are they going on their journey, wht do they need to take, what are they going for.

 

Have fun :(

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God i know how you feel!

 

I teach 12 children a year younger than reception, 8 of which are very energetic boys. I find that they are more focused and calmer if i give them a task or challenge then send them on their way. I also try to make the activities into something they are interested in.

 

The children i teach are younger than yours but some of these ideas may help.

 

Play dough - who can make the scariest alien? I give them play dough, google eyes and pipe cleaners, after they have made their alien i asked them to write on a small card the aliens name then they can display it/ or present it to the rest of the class, i used this after reading Man on the moon - they loved it!

 

If your doing transport maybe you could get them to cut out some wheels from card, or you prepare some and ask them to make cars, trains buses etc. Some lolly sticks could be used to make aeroplane wings.

 

Another playdough idea is making birthday cakes. Maybe its just my children but they always want to make cakes from play dough, i added a packet of birthday candles to the play dough and off they go - very good for counting mind you they struggled when they asked how old i was when they wanted to make the cake for me.

 

Mark making - very messy but a table covered in shaving foam with paint or glitter usually works for me. I have some laminated alphabet cards on display near the table, after a while my children started writing letters of their own accord.

 

small white boards with marker pens are a big favourite, clip boards which i will use for a treasure hunt - can you find? i have some pictures of things from the classroom that they tick if they can find.

 

I know things are different in the Uk, i work abroad and use Jolly phonics which all the children really love - not sure if you still use it, but now the children are confident with all the sounds they are confident to sound out words and attempt to write them, during circle time i ask the children to help me write words on the board that i have forgotten how to write - they will write anything if its on the board, once their confidence has grown they will use writing more and more in their play.

A little boy who has been with me a few months and has shown no interest in mark making or writing spent 30 mins in our farm shop the other day putting price tags on the food, i could not get him out, each individual egg was priced

 

Hope this helped

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God i know how you feel!

 

I teach 12 children a year younger than reception, 8 of which are very energetic boys. I find that they are more focused and calmer if i give them a task or challenge then send them on their way. I also try to make the activities into something they are interested in.

 

The children i teach are younger than yours but some of these ideas may help.

 

Play dough - who can make the scariest alien? I give them play dough, google eyes and pipe cleaners, after they have made their alien i asked them to write on a small card the aliens name then they can display it/ or present it to the rest of the class, i used this after reading Man on the moon - they loved it!

 

If your doing transport maybe you could get them to cut out some wheels from card, or you prepare some and ask them to make cars, trains buses etc. Some lolly sticks could be used to make aeroplane wings.

 

Another playdough idea is making birthday cakes. Maybe its just my children but they always want to make cakes from play dough, i added a packet of birthday candles to the play dough and off they go - very good for counting mind you they struggled when they asked how old i was when they wanted to make the cake for me.

 

Mark making - very messy but a table covered in shaving foam with paint or glitter usually works for me. I have some laminated alphabet cards on display near the table, after a while my children started writing letters of their own accord.

 

small white boards with marker pens are a big favourite, clip boards which i will use for a treasure hunt - can you find? i have some pictures of things from the classroom that they tick if they can find.

 

I know things are different in the Uk, i work abroad and use Jolly phonics which all the children really love - not sure if you still use it, but now the children are confident with all the sounds they are confident to sound out words and attempt to write them, during circle time i ask the children to help me write words on the board that i have forgotten how to write - they will write anything if its on the board, once their confidence has grown they will use writing more and more in their play.

A little boy who has been with me a few months and has shown no interest in mark making or writing spent 30 mins in our farm shop the other day putting price tags on the food, i could not get him out, each individual egg was priced

 

Hope this helped

 

Thank you so much for these ideas! Yes, my play mat was VERY teacher directed, I basically picked out the junk materials for them to use for the different areas of Rosie's walk. The last play mat I did with them, which was a 3d map of we're gping on a bear hunt, they didn;t use in their play at all... so I wanted it to look more like the places in the story for them to relate to it and then actually use in independent activities and chld initiated play.

 

I really appreciate your time in getting back to me!

XXX

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Hi nmarquez and I don't think I have said 'Welcome' so a very warm welcome from me. Firstly as Rea says you are concerned and committed enough to be evaluating your practice and identifying key points that you see for improving your practice. I think as conscientious teachers (which you so obviously are) we remain permanent NQT's in thinking we are Never Quite There. We are constantly looking for things that will improve teaching and learning.

It's important that the children can access resources independently to support their play however I do feel that there needs to be very clear guide lines about putting one resource away before another in areas such as the sand,water or construction area. You may find that giving children a

restricted choice for a short while may help to establish this expectation. In the Autumn term (with new starters) children access from a given range of materials. This extends to children deciding the materials for the next day and then progresses to self-selecting as they become increasingly familiar with responsibilities. It's a step-by-step process but there is always a choice.Start with tip-toes.

Have only just taken the first part of your post or would be here for hours!

And 'No' you are not demanding. Just dedicated. That needs no aplogies whatsoever!

luluj

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Hi Natasha. First of all a big hug because you're feeling so low! Second, WE'VE ALL FELT LIKE YOU ARE FEELING NOW!

 

I think that teaching is very difficult now because we're trying to motivate and enthuse children who have so much stuff: computer consoles, TVs, CDs etc. Unfortunately all of these things provide 'entertainment' without any effort. Teachers don't come with flashing lights and we do expect effort so straight away we're fighting against the way that many children have been trained to be from a young age. I try and get round this by being entertaining and always think that teaching is rather like acting - I fling myself around a lot, do silly voices and we do lots of acting, singing etc and I think this helps to keep them on their toes a little! I also try and get them involved in as much as possible so if I'm doing 1 less do it with some of them at the front of the class with 1 of them being eaten by a crocodile or something. If you're choosing people who are working hard or listening well then this seems to have a magical effect on behaviour. Funny that! Giving children a 'time to talk' before you ask for an answer to a question also helps to split up the lesson so it isn't just them sitting there passively and everyone has had a chance to share their ideas. I say something like, 'I'm going to ask you a question and then I'm going to give you a bit of time to decide what you think...Have you got an idea? Talk to the person sitting next to you.' I'll then 'listen in' or join in with a few discussions and then collect a few examples from the class and can link in what I've heard: 'Oh that's a good idea. Fred was saying that down here'.

 

Your children also sound, and this isn't a criticism of you or them, quite rude. I'll probably get people say they don't agree with this but I don't think it's acceptable for people to say 'I'm bored' and I think it's okay to tell children that. Also if you don't want them to get things out of the trays I'd tell them that too.

 

I had previously taught in Y2 and went to Reception 4 years ago this coming September. What a steep learning curve! I started trying to do a carousel of activities and it didn't work so I had to change it. I now have free flow activities whilst I work on a guided activity with groups but I also have times to just 'be' with the children. Perhaps you need to have more stuff out?

 

I do an 'Off we go!' topic which covers journeys and transport. These are my plans for the week just ended:

week_1.doc

week_1.doc

week_1.doc

 

I'm more than happy to give you more if you would like them.

 

I think your children are very lucky to have someone who so obviously wants to do their best for them.

 

All the best, Moose x

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Hi Natasha

youve had some excellent advice already and I dont have anything different to add really. But I am going to move this to the curriculum area of the forum for year 1/ reception in the hope that you might get some more replies there as growing doesnt seem quite right!?

 

I always spin the "Im bored" back at the children on the rare occasions that I hear it and give them something specific to do as its often a " I dont know what to do" plea.

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