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H J Spencer

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About H J Spencer

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    Settling in nicely!
  • Birthday 31/05/67

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  • Interests
    outdoor environment, gardening, cooking, horse riding, reading and early years education of course!

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  • Your interest in Foundation Stage education
  1. Thanks LoubyLoo. Will look on their site now.
  2. Although I have been teaching for more years than I care to remember this is the first year I have come across a child that just will not speak to me or any other adult in class. He has speech difficulties and has already been referred to S&L whilst in his previous setting. Mum advised me during summer term at the home visit that he doesn't talk, only at home. His nursery key worker advised the same and said he would get by on pointing at things he wanted. Well, he has settled in to school and seems very happy. After the first four days he began to speak quite animatedly to his peers particularly during role play and small world. He is eager to take part in all activities, including circle time and indicated his intention to join in by pointing at himself. He will not however utter any words to adults. The most we have managed is 'ugh!' and a finger point or a nod or shake of the head. He does make humming noises on the carpet on occasions but usually when we are supposed to be listening to someone else! I am at a loss what to do for the best. I don't like to be beaten by anything and have been trying to get him to communicate by joining in with role play pretending to be a little sister or mum and getting others to join in. I have tried being Golidilocks in the 3 bears house and role playing with a group. I have tried using a telephone pretending to ring him up for a chat. He seems to want to talk to me and screws his face up and compresses his lips as though holding it in. Yesterday he hid behind the toy kitchen with the phone and whispered into it where he thought I couldn't see. He used lots of story language in the bears house with peers after I left. Mum is obviously discussing not speaking at home because she says he has told her he is not going to speak to the grown-ups. I do individual readers starting with discussion books this time of year and managed to pursuade him to whisper one word for a sticker reward after much coaxing today. A colleague has told me she was advised with a previous child to leave things be and not force the issue as this would make it worse. I don't want to make things worse but I am really stumped. Can anyone suggest where to go from here?
  3. Depressed:-( Please Help

    Hi there. Try not to get too depressed. The fact that your are taking on board the feedback she gave you and looking for advice to change things shows that you are actively working to get things right. My Early Years Advisor made a wonderful suggestion to me earlier this year because I was also finding some children were just not accessing some areas. She suggested I plan activities in the zones some of which are adult initiated as well as child initiated and then each session I could send certain children to carry out the AI task in the area. So, my play planning now shows a combination of CI as well as AI activities. I spend time on Monday morning introducing the activities to children and then while I or my TA is delivering AL activities the other children are either in CI or AI in the areas. This has really impacted on areas which have been avoided by children in the past and has also enabled me to get children who only ever want to go in the smallworld areas to visit other areas and carry out tasks there. By the way, I always say to children that they must let an adult know when they have finished a task so that we can go and photograph or capture the evidence as required. It sounds silly but it has been one of the best changes to my practice I have made in reception and I have been able to capture so much more evidence of them actually meeting challenges and putting into practice what they have already covered through AL. Hope this makes sense and helps. By the way! I have tough spots alll over the place outside and I love them. We have small carpet sample tiles placed around the edges for kneeling on and the children love working that way. I did away with as many tables as possible two years ago, even inside the classroom. Most of the time we work on the floor and it is more practicle for the children allowing them more space to spread. I think if it works then don't change it! Best of luck x
  4. Hi, What about getting the children to photograph the various stages of growth and then you import it into a photostory. The children's explanatory text could then be added and music to support. Text could be written first to cover your objective on whiteboards/paper etc and then could be re-done for photostory slides. Only thought of this because we are having a big push on using digital media at the mo. Photostory is free to download and is very easy to use as an adult led activity.
  5. Hi! Has anyone done a topic on Toy Story before? My class are really into the characters at the moment and I thought it might be a worthy topic idea for after Easter. Trouble is I haven't seen the most recent movie myself. Guess I'll be watching it during the hols. I thought we might be able to do a bit of drama and discuss moveable parts such as slinky and clockwork mice but that's as far as I have got. Any ideas gratefully received. x
  6. Thankyou to all three of you for replying. I went straight to chat with the HT this morning about how I was feeling and I wish I had gone to her earlier. She was very sympathetic. It seems her concerns about about the class size in the Y1/Y2 class arose because we keep getting sent more children on appeal. It turns out they actually have room for 12 of my 16 year R children which would in practice leave me with 4. This is normal practice for my school, as I mentioned before, as these 4 are selected feeling they would benefit from a further year of EYFS. She was concerned that if she allows the Y1/Y2 class to start in September with 30 she may well end up with more children arriving on appeal and taking the class size over 30. She felt that if that happened and the late arrival was academically more able she would be in the position that she would have to send one of the less able year 1 children back to my class in order to accomodate them. She has now taken this up with admissions and it seems that for now I will be able to send my normal contingent up to class 2 in September. We would then have to contend any further appeals. She has told me to stop worrying and to carry on as normal. This has relaxed me a little and I am going to try and put the whole thing behind me but the whole episode has really shown me how quicky things we work to achieve can so easily be upskittled. I'm certainly not going to take for granted the practice and set up I have now. I really feel for anyone who is in the same situation and thankyou again to all of you for supporting me and rallying me around. xx
  7. After having 4 years of teaching a class of 16 reception and 4 year 1's who have been selected because they would benefit from another year of EYFS I have been told that I will need to keep a greater number of year 1 pupils this September. This is because the key stage 1 class have accumulated a greater cohort than in past years and the general feeling is that it's not fair that I have 20 children whilst they have 30. I am in a major panic, am not sleeping and need advice. I have worked hard to turn reception practice around in the school since I started there and have achieved a 'good with elements of outstanding' from Ofsted two years ago. Since then I have worked hard to improve things further in the hope of achieving the excellent status next time around. I just don't see how my current practice is going to work with the extra year 1's and the burden of trying to cover their objectives and expectations bearing in mind in Key stage 1 they have 5 adult led literacy and numeracy activities per week. The school also does APP and big write which I assume I will need to do as well. I have 1 full time TA but we operate free-flow and have a balance across all 6 areas of learning. Whilst one of us does an adult led activity the other is always available to observe and support adult initiated and child initiated. I just don't see how this will be possible anymore if I have to give 5 adult led sessions per week for both literacy and numeracy to the year 1's. Surely my reception children are going to loose out. I will not have the same level of time to observe and make assessments and this is going to have a knock on effect on my data. I know many of you out there have probably worked with a mixed class for many years and I am hoping you might be able to offer advice with how you plan and some idea on the level of adult led provided. Please cheer me up because I feel like I could sit down and have a good cry right now. PS: I have never worked with the primary strategy document and whilst I do recall the literacy and numeracy strategy documents from the dim and distant past the primary strategy website looks like a minefield. Do the units have to be followed exactly as they set them out?
  8. The Big Talk

    Thanks for that Marion. Yes, Alistair did suggest it was for only those children who were ready. It's comforting to know there were only 4 in you cohort that were ready to undertake the writing element in January. I was really beginning to panic that perhaps such a small element of the class undertaking the activity would appear not to have made expected progress. Most of my children spend the first few weeks of Autumn term doing L&S phase 1 and so I do feel I loose a lot of time but that is really about where the children are at on entry and therefore need the pitch to begin. I do provide lots of talk time in class and always have mark making zones available inside and outside in my continous provision so we have lots of opportunities to undertake independent writing. Are you familiar with using wow word and super sentence displays with reception and if so do the children actively refer to them in their play?
  9. Hi, Having just attended a Big Talk training day I wondered if other reception classes were already doing Big Talk and or Big Write and how well or not it was going in the classroom. It was a very intensive and fast paced training day and I felt there were elements that would work well with my class but other areas, like having a display of WOW words and super sentences up for children to refer to, was expecting a little too much of children who currently haven't even been introduced to all their single letter sounds yet! We were also advised to involve the children with doing a 10 minute Big Wriiting session from January for those who are ready. This really worried me as I currently have only one child in my current reception class that would be even remotely ready to undertake this. The rest of my school are heavily into the Big Write and love it so I would like to bring in Big Talk to give continuity through the school but just need to know what has worked well for others before I bring about any changes.
  10. Topic Planning

    Try and get hold of Practical pre-School Planning for learning through food book. Its great and provides a 6 week plan and individual activity plans. If I remeber rightly the book cost little more than a tenner and they do all sorts of topics. Helen
  11. Pre Entry Data In Eye Profile

    Hi Having read the info when I downloaded the new version of eye profile, the pre entry data option is no longer available. Just enter this data as September and lump it all in with your own obs from September. Hope this helps. Helen
  12. Topic Or No!

    Thanks Amelia The mindstretchers course sounds really interesting. London is a bit out of reach for me to attend being in Lincolnshire but I will look into the floorbook. I think I came across Mindstretchers on an early years conference, talking about forest school, last summer and it was really excellent. You have made me feel a bit more positive. I should probably have another bash at it and keep my topic on the back burner just in case.
  13. Hi everyone, I am beginning to get sleepless nights already about how we plan within my reception class. We had the dreaded Ofsted last spring and thankfully were given a good with elements of outstanding so planning and provision can't be that far off what we should be achieving in EYFS. However, I am beginning to feel slightly lost at this moment in time with the argument for or against topics. I read a thread on here somewhere recently which seemed favourable to dropping topics altogether. I could see how this would allow more freedom to follow children's interests, which I currently meet through my play plannning activities in general with a main topic theme, such as dinosaurs or food for my adult led activities. This topic is chosen once again by observing children's interests and I plan the topic to cover a six week perios as the norm. Subsequently I trialled dropping my planned topic on nursery rhymes for a week to try setting activities which met more individualised children's needs and covered a much broader range of interests. It seemed sucessful but felt such a change. How are other reception classes planning currently? Nervous by the move away from my topic base I continued with nursery rhymes for adult led this week but am now in such a dilemma. I don't think I can last much longer without a good nights sleep so any advice would be appreciated. If I drop my topics how will I ensure i get the coverage I need? It just seems so odd not having a map of what will be happening over the next six weeks and I feel it could take an eternity to plan exciting and original adult led activities at the drop of a hat to suit everyone when I usually plan a six week block in the holidays each time.
  14. Hi, I tend to do two adult intiated activities per week and each group participates on a rotational basis. Last year I did a PSRN whole class warm up prior to working with a group. This year I am trying out doing a wrm up with just the group I intend to work with. Seems to be working so far and means less time on the carpet for the whole class. I also ensure I have a PSRN zone availble in both the inside and outside environment at all times which will have either free choice or a child intitiated activity available. I hope this helps but I think its important to remain flexible and open to change depending on the intake you get.
  15. Problem Solving, Reasoning And Numeracy

    Welcome DKicker! What about using snack time for some PSRN. Try getting the children to count how many pieces of fruit they will need for their group and then provide one too many/too less pieces for them to problem solve. Outside try drawing a large carpark on the ground and then use a large foam +/- dice getting children to pretend to be cars and drive in or out of the carpark in response to the dice. My children love this game. Helen