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About jools

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  • Birthday 26/06/60

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  • Your interest in Foundation Stage education
  1. I usually start Jolly Phonics after a couple of weeks. The kinesthetic actions really help to reinforce the corresponding sound. We have taught Jolly Phonics for years at our school and you will still see juniors sometimes using the actions when tackling an unfamiliar word. Do try to link each letter with a short story which emphasises the letter - I find that some auditory learners really take this on board but all the children love a story especially if you manage to personalise it. The scheme recommends 5 letters a week, however I find 3 is usually enough and I use the other 2 days to reinforce those sounds already learnt. Send the p/copy sheets home too - and if you get a chance (foundation stage parents eve, literacy evening etc) teach the actions to the parents - it works twice as well if the children are reinforcing their learning at home. Good luck in your new post. Jools
  2. I'm really enjoying reading about how you all organise your days. It's encouraging to know there isn't a wrong or right way and that everyone is struggling to make the best of it. This is how I organise my class of 30 children. All 30 children start in September but those children who are 5 after February only attend the morning sessions for the first term. The first half term concentrates on settling the children into the class and routines. I also spend this time baseline testing them even though it is no longer a legal requirement. I use the baseline test as evidence of having moved them on by the following July!! The second half term is play based and children are allowed to choose their activities throughout the day. The only exception being one 20 minute session every morning where we all learn a new letter - how to form it - and the sound it makes, and link this to a song we sing. All letters have a kinesthetic movement that accompanies it. The children take home a letter sheet which explains how to form the letter and what the action is to it. Parents are then involved in their children's learning from the beginning of formal schooling. From January all children attend full-time. During the mornings I introduce a short literacy session which is organised as a carousel of 5 different activities (the children cover a different activity each day). One focus activity (usually recorded in an exercise book) which I oversee and 4 other relevant but less 'evidence based' play activities where the children are expected to stay at one table for the session. My NN oversees these tables. In this way the children are beginning to take ownership of their own learning and I am managing to collect recordable evidence for both myself and any managers/inspectors who need to know. I also fit in 2 or 3 short numeracy sessions each week based on a similar carousel system. In the summer term I formally introduce the 45 high frequency words (some of which are the same as the reading scheme keywords they have already learnt) and a longer literacy and numeracy session most mornings. This helps the children become accustomed to a more formal and structured way of learning which unfortunately is how they are going to be taught for the rest of their time at school. I feel it is my duty to gently introduce this structure so that they don't react to their year 1 teaching in a negative and destructive way. Every afternoon throughout the year is dedicated to free play with the other foundation areas being covered with small groups and whole class as appropriate. I believe passionately in cross curricular teaching especially in literacy and try and organise all my literacy teaching around our topics rather than around prescriptive NLS plans. Outside play happens whenever the sun shines! even though this means decamping the whole class outside as we don't have a designated area and there are only 2 of us adults to supervise all 30. It's my belief that anything that can be done inside can also be done outside so I just move everything we need outside with the help of the children and move it all back in again when we've finished. Helps make the children responsible for the classroom resources too. Anyway hope this maybe gives some of you ideas for your own classes - I'm going to try incorporating some of the ideas I've read from the other emails. Don't let the b******s grind you down.
  3. Brain gym

    Helen I attended a seminar on behaviour management and gender specific learning today during which much was made about the advantage of brain gym exercises for boys in particular. When brain gym was initially introduced to my LEA (Lewisham, London) it was seen as a useful tool for everyone in the class so I was interested to see it being touted as helpful for boys in particular. Is this something you have come across in your research or is it just something I didn't catch on to in the beginning!!! Jools
  4. Hi Debatees Re:nursery settings filling in FSP's. I think its fairly obvious that it would be best all round if FSP's were to be started at pre-school settings and continued in Reception class. Problems may occur when school's like my own don't have a pre-school setting which solely or even mainly feed into it. This would mean that I would be receiving FSP's from a large variety of settings with the obvious if only slight differences in assessment opinions. Add this to the minority of private settings in whose best interest it is to show that the child has moved on regardless and you have the beginnings of a massive headache for the Reception teacher. Also as mentioned by a previous contributor you then might find yourself having to fill in section 9 in all areas for a few children - at our FSP training seminar we were told it would be fairly rare to have to fill in this section. In my school I am given time to make a home visit for all the new Rec children and it is at this time that I make my initial assessments of the child's ability by carrying out a few simple tasks with the child while reading to and chatting with him/her. It is also quite common during these visits for the parent to produce the child's nursery record/profile and to discuss what the child has been achieving. I find that this initial assessment is invaluable and I'm hoping that along with baseline testing which I still carry out during the first couple of months at school it will help me fill out many of the initial tick boxes on the profile. I repeat what was stressed at our FSP training - moderators will NOT be looking for mountains of paper to back up teacher assessments. They will be presuming that teachers have exercised professionalism in their judgements and this will hopefully be reinforced by the quality of work/play being carried out in the classroom.
  5. Reports

    sally some LEA's are now using electronic reporting - which consists of marking bars on a sheet which is read by a computer and printed as a report. Each foundation area consists of a bank of statements and the teacher picks the most appropriate for the child concerned. Cons - can be stilted and not particulary 'touchy feely'; Pros - most of the companies who provide this service are trying to incorporate a bank of statements relating to the FSP so hopefully teachers will be able to link the two assessment processes and make the whole thing a little less painful. I still have my doubts about using the profile as a report in itself as I have mentioned on the FSP forum. Anyway good luck with your reporting - make it as positive as possible (I speak as a parent as well as a practitioner!) Jools
  6. katielou I am having nightmares about the tiaras!!!!!!! A word of warning about giving the profiles to parents at the end of term. The profile may be looked on as a negative thing as there is as much to be read into the areas not ticked as the areas that are ticked. This may kick off a debate between parent and practioner on what a child can do. Sometimes these exchanges can be very profitable to both sides but as an end of term report do you want all your professional assessments questioned? I see it as a working document to be sent on to the next class or setting. Jools
  7. storymaking

    re:story telling Last year I attended a seminar based on the teachings of Vivian Gussin Paley - an american teacher with a unique outlook on telling and writing stories. Its a bit long winded to go into here but here is the shortened version. Children love to tell stories. When they are very young they can't write them down so the adult should be the scribe. The scribe sits in a particular area at a particular time and the children are free to approach as they wish. Whatever the child says should be written down. A story may consist of 'there was a dog. it went bark. I was scared'. The scribe doesn't ask what happened next just waits for the child to finish. After the scribe has collected a number of stories the children and scribe sit in a circle and act out eachothers stories. The author is always given the chance to be in the play and direct it. The adult should not put their own spin on the story - the child has complete ownership. I have practiced this with my own reception class and it works really well. At first all the stories are similar and the children copy one another but it doesn't take long for them to yearn to be different; or explore events in their own lives; or make sense of something they've seen on the television; or make everyone laugh with a cheeky version of a well loved tale. The secret is to interfere as little as possible (much harder than it sounds). Very soon the children move on to wanting to write their own stories. Anyway Paley's books include: The girl with the brown crayon and The boy who would be a helicopter. Hope this is of some help. Jools
  8. Computers/ICT

    A really excellent piece of equipment for the ICT suite is an interactive whiteboard. It can perform wonders and **** miracles (as my old granny would say!). Seriously though it is a great tool for demonstrating how to use different programmes to the whole class - saves rushing round 15 or so different computers repeating yourself. Whiteboards are often seen as too expensive by budget holders in school but we got our one through an EAZ project and it is worth hassling local businesses and charities for finance. Our ICT teaching has significantly improved across the whole school since its installation. Also PIP, PIXIE and other floor robots are exciting and interesting ways into technology. Good luck
  9. Brain gym

    sorry re:lgfl above - the site is www.lgfl.net/lgfl/. It is the London Grid for Learning site. If u just go to lgfl u will get an estate agency!! Apologies Jools
  10. Brain gym

    You might be interested in 'the Alps approach - accelerated learning in primary schools' by Alistair Smith and Nicola Call. It's a very accessible book which you can dip in and out of. Primary teachers in the Lewisham area have been developing ways of using brain gym with varying degrees of success. Might be worth trying to contact some of them - possibly via lgfl.com Alistair and Nicola also have their own websites which are worth a visit: www.alite.co.ukAlistair Smith's webpage www.acceleratedlearning.co.uk Hope this is of some use - good luck Jools
  11. Hi fellow foundation stage workers First of all don't fret about the profiles - at a recent conference on them that I attended it was made very clear that moderators will not be expecting piles of paper evidence to back up your assessments. It looks as though it is finally getting through that teachers are professionals and a lot of our assessments take place through informal observations and are stored in the old brain. At the same conference it also became clear that the profiles are currently 'out of print' and that copies should be going out to schools within the next 2 weeks - word of warning - don't forget to order them, some teachers presumed they would automatically be sent out. Nice site Jools