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Any good/outstanding year 2 teachers out there please?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by minnieminx, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Sorry an annoying post from someone who should know...but doesn't!

    I'm moving to year 2 in September (pause while I turn a few more cartwheels in excitement) after 15 years in year 5 and upwards. I'm apparently moving there to help raise standards of teaching and learning in KS1, especially year 2.

    However I am largely clueless about how to structure the day/how much free choice time the children should have/how to structure the curriculum/more or less everything I need to sort before actually planning and teaching.

    Would anyone be willing to share what they do? I will be working alongside an experienced year 2 teacher, but want to be proactive from the start in expecting/ insisting on good and outstanding practice.

    Thank you.
  2. hi i will follow your thread, cos I am also moving to year2 after 15 years in KS2 - and hey guess what - I'm feeling clueless too
  3. I accepted a position in Year 2 a couple of years ago having taught in Year 5 - 7 (Middle school) because the school is fantastic and I have the freedom to do what I think is best for the children!
    I began my first year at where I thought was appropriate, this included a huge range of Foundation Stage type learning activities and self directed choosing areas, which the children loved but was a nightmare to manage and get through all of the teaching that I had to get through.
    I have since gone back to a more KS2 way of teaching, but ensuring that we cover things in much smaller steps. More 'plenary' (yuk) sessions within teaching to ensure understanding.
    A few things I have found:
    They are quite capable to change themselves (The odd button forgiving) in silence.
    They are quite capable to understand Key Stage 2 language. Infact they love getting to know new words and phrases.
    They will want to tell you everything about their home life - it is ok to tell them that it is inappropriate now and they need to concentrate on their learning.
    The carpet is not your friend - there is too much fluff to sit on it for more than 10 minutes.
    They (as all children) want to see that what they are learning is relevant to them. Do not expect them to be excited (generally) about fairytales and Bob the Builder etc. They want MarioKart and Doctor Who.
    They love being read a story that can fire their imagination over a week or so.
    They love stickers for completing work and showing positive behaviour.
    It is ok to keep them in at break if they do not listen.
    This has worked well for me, and the children all enjoy coming to school and achieve well! I hope it is useful for you... As an aside, I thought I would hate Y2, coming from UKS2/3 but secretly I love it. Less marking to take home, but 10 times as busy during the day!
  4. In our school Yr2 do not have any free choice at all.

    There is however a role-play area which is changed every half term/topic... one class uses it during morning work time (one home team per day) and the other teacher uses it during guided reading (again one home team per day) that way everyone should get a turn in the role-play.

    The only other time they get to choose what they do, are on Parents Day, or Do Something Different Day... and even then they can only choose from what we have laid out for them.

    They struggle with this concept for a little while at the beginning of the year but soon learn to cope. We do provide them with an afternoon break with things like badminton rackets/shuttle ***... hoops.... etc to let that break be a little more constructive than free break in the morning with the rest of their KS.
  5. Minnie, I don't have a long enough track record to be the person you are looking for, but I can tell you what we have developed in Year 2 if that helps as we have had good progress and the children have really enjoyed the year. I think how you set it up does depend on the amount of freedom you are given by the SLT. Our schools is pretty hands off, so we have been able to run with what we wanted to. We are moving away from the framework somewhat, although still using it where it works.
    Typical day: Busy work (open ended maths, or other open ended thinking skills activity for the children to do), phonics (2 form entry broken into 3 groups for phonics) then wake up shake up lead by me or the children, then literacy and maths. However, we only have four English (including one Big writing session) and four maths lessons a week (the rest comes from the guided reading/writing carousel in the afternoon and RM maths completed in the ICT lesson once a week). This allows time for ICT and another subject to take place in a morning session once a week. The afternoons are guided reading carousel followed by something from PE or art/dt, RE/music or science etc and then a story. They also do a visit to the KS1 library once a week in the afternoon.
    We are teaching through the creative curriculum approach which has freed up time as our literacy and ICT is always our geography or history etc (we focus on one or the other at a time). The only subjects that tend not always to be linked to the theme are RE and maths. RE swaps in and out with music. Having said that I do lots of singing and dancing generally as well, so music is a part of every week. We have introduced the Mantle of the Expert as a way of teaching some themes this year and this has proved very successful. The children are extremely engaged and their ability to problem solve, take initiative, and work together has come on in leaps and bounds. During these times, we tend to block whole mornings as it works better in longer periods. It usually covers literacy, ICT and the main focus foundation geog or history etc and pulls in maths, art etc. We are lucky to have laptops for all children easily accessible and they do a lot of independent research on these.
    We have a role play area in each Year 2 classroom which is linked to our current theme. We also have creative writing trolleys and tuff spots with theme linked activities in them. At the beginning of the year they are used much more as children access these towards the end of lessons. At this time of the year they are used less as the children are able to focus on their work for longer etc so there is less time (also looking at transition as there are no tuff spots or role play areas in Year 3). The children often design and make the role play areas and have a good amount of choice about what theme linked thing they would like in there.
    The children sit on mixed ability tables, except during maths setting which happens twice a week. They have learning partners who swap about every three weeks (I vary how I choose these). As we don't have a general TA, volunteer parents come in and listen to all the children individually each week. Alongside this I hear all the children reading in guided reading once each week.
    They don't really do a guided reading carousel in Year 1, so it took a while to get the children to be able to work independently and fairly quietly, but it works well now. They want to be helpful and are very keen to have jobs, so I have a busy bee jobs board which they go on in turn. It has 8 or so jobs including sorting the recycling, callibrating the whiteboard etc. They love this! Filing is done by them in busy work sessions when needed.
    Hope this helps.
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    that is the sort of thing I was thinking. Play as constructive and useful, linked to work and carefully controlled.

    Singup, track record is irrelevant, I don't mind if you have done it for a year or a decade. If it works then I want to introduce it to my school! I do have the freedom/trust from SMT to more or less run things how I want, but I don't at the moment know what that is!
    I think I need to look into Mantle of the Expert. I've read several posts mentioning it on here recently. Sounds good.

    I have a creative writing box at the moment for year 6 and am thinking of just adapting that for year 2. A role play area linked to the topic is definitely something I'd like, and yes they will have to contribute to making their own!
    Does this work if the children are doing different tasks as differentiation? I use ability seating for maths and English in year 6, but don't like the idea in year 2, but wonder how differentiated activities will fit.

    Jobs will definitely be done by the children...I'll train them well!
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I do a competition between boys and girls. The quickest group changed, as long as they were also the quietest, gets a treat.

    At the moment I give stickers and they wear them on their jumpers until they lose them. Year 2 at the moment have a sticker chart on the wall. I'm, not sure how I feel about that as the 'good' children and the decidedly 'tricky' children do have many more stickers than the quieter middling children.
  8. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    Last year, when my daughter was in Year 2, her class had maths groups, English groups and home groups and sat on different tables, in their different groups depending on what the lesson was. The children seemed to cope fine with this, and it must have helped with differentiation.
  9. Minnie the mixed ability seating works generally. They help develop the must should etc for most tasks so it works well. I find they support each other well and the less able are keen to try the harder levels as they with others having a go at it. However I do change this when I need to focus on particular thing with a whole group together, or am doing guided writing.
    I use stickers, but they earn them and put them on their sticker record card which is kept in a little record box. This avoids obvious comparisons as they are not so obviously displayed. They still seem to love this. They get a certificate when they have filled their card.
    Mine can get changed within one playing of Dolly Parton's Nine to Five. This got them focussed on being quick at the beginning of the year.
  10. I think the biggest challenge is phonics. Being absolutely up to date with all the different phases, being well resourced etc is a huge challenge.
  11. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Luckily, that part isn't too bad, as our school groups for phonics across year 1 and 2 (possibly year 3 joining us next year) and all teachers and TAs have a group at a time. So I shall have a smallish group all at the same phase. But yes finding interesting and exciting things to do every day will be hard at first.
  12. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I was thinking about this as a compromise of what is good for the children and what is manageable for me. One ability group working with me as a guided group and the rest sit as mixed ability, maybe choose?

    Excellent idea. I can make a card easily enough on word and will have a class TA (Oh the luxuries of KS1!) who might photocopy them onto card if I ask nicely. (Sounds lazy, but I am rubbish at copying onto card and will mess up the copier for everyone. I know I've done it!)

    Meant to say earlier, thank you all for your contributions so far. Very much appreciated. It is daunting to be asked to raise standards for a year group/ KS you have little clue about.
  13. We have been using talk for writing to try and improve standards in ks1 and it's great - look at the Pie Corbett storytelling stuff and the boys wriitng project - we felt that children started school with poor speaking skills - and if they can't say a sentence they surely can't write it! It's been great fun as well.
  14. i am a year 2 teacher.
    i think the key to being a successful year 2 teacher is to remember that they are Key Stage 1 children and not little juniors.
    i operate a foundation stage approach and have six area of learning. independent learning activities (ILAs) run through out the day and are focused on preteaching, consolidation and activities to boost PSED.
    i have a role play area and a large outdoor area which children can access when they are not part of the focus group.
    My teacher assessments are more accurate because i can see them applying skills in a variety of situations - and observations are recorded in a learning journey.
    my SATs scores are always good, and considering the deprived area , are above local average.
    i challenge and extend learning and teach the children independence and to think.
    love it - moving to year 1 in sept though .
  15. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Talk for writing sounds fab...we do storytelling in KS2, so shouldn't be a problem trying to get a linked strategy. Will look into it, thank you.

    harchie, you aren't in travelling distance of Oxfordshire are you? I'd love to come and see a year 2 classroom like that. It fits what I really, really want but don't know enough to create.

    Totally get the infants idea...transition day was fine but had them on the carpet too long. Must remember that 5-10 mins is long enough!
  16. sorry - i'm in deepest darkest Cornwall[​IMG]
  17. It does sound great Harchie. I've been gradually developing this approach in my year 1/2 class. At the moment I'm working on developing my outdoor area. Can't wait for the holidays so many things I want to construct, hang up, attach etc LOL
  18. rainbowdrop86

    rainbowdrop86 New commenter

    dalian daisy, would you mind sending me some photos of your classroom? ive got yr2 and want to introduce some areas of EY provision, but im also cautiious about allowing too much free choice. my children find concentration hard, but i think allowing them too much free reign will just heighten the problem, causing greater probs when they go to yr3. i think id like to just use areas for afternoons, guided reading carousels, and when finished work. my email is cadet1107@aol.com
    many thanks
  19. I moved from Upper KS2 to Y2 in September and then got OFSTED the second week in September. I was a little anxious to say the least, as I was still setting up routines and groupings. I got observed for Literacy and got excellent feedback on my lesson. It involved a lot of drama and child interaction.
    I am, however a very formal teacher in my approach.We mostly all do the same subject at the same time. I have been around long enough to see lots of different approached come and go and I know what works for me. I have seen some of the things being advocated at the moment, fail to work last time they were in favour.
    For Science, we do lots of practical activities and record it all with lots of photos in a Big Book. The children then take turns to take it home and share it with their parents. They all write lovely comments in it.
    By this stage in the year, the majority of my class have neat joined handwriting. My SATs results were very good and we have had a lovely year.
    There are certain aspects of KS2 I miss, but certainly not the marking.
  20. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I am also science co-ord and saw a similar thing to this last week at a course. I thought it was fabulous, lots of photos and speech bubbles. Taking it home to share with parents sounds an even better idea. Do you do a small book for each experiment/lesson/topic?

    I sort of like 'same subject at the same time' but not necessarily same activity. So all doing literacy, but one group in role play, one with me writing, one with TA, one independent writing, one something else kind of thing.

    Aaaaagghhh I dunno!

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