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Can anyone suggest any good group activities for primary SEN class?

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by spironette, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. Hello,
    I'm three weeks in to a new year with a larger SEN class of very different abilities and behaviour issues. They all have short attention spans and are easily distrcted, and it takes a huge amount of effort to keep them all sitting and listening for even shorter periods! I also struggle to maintain their focus on an activity lasting more than about ten minutes. My school works to a secondary style timetable (the children go to other teachers for art, music, PE etc) and a forty minute period feels like a long time for them. Three weeks in I've decided the only way to organise my class is to organise short activities for the periods they are in the classroom. I feel I am really letting them down, as I can't seem to think of anything other than going outside and actions songs. I'm sure my care staff are starting to wonder what the heck is going on! Sustained periods of group teaching are very difficult to manage...probably my fault but I feel I don't provide enough for them. Especially tricky times are when two of my four staff are on breaks...it is just so hard to get a structured activity going.
    I was wondering if anyone can suggest any good activities to break up the day - apart form Sticky kids! Another music activity would be great as they all respond to that, but I just can't get my brain in gear :-(

    I really would appreciate any ideas at all! Thanks very much
  2. jco

    jco New commenter

    You have not said what you are expected to teach them. If it is literacy then I have some ideas.
  3. Thank you, I have them all day and to be honest what I'm after are some short snappy activities to fill the time and stop them kicking off - unstructured time is difficult for them, as is sitting and listening! Any ideas on literacy would be great though - thank you very much
  4. I have changed my timetable this year to half hour lessons and 15 minute lessons and it works so much better! I have things like, fine motor kills, Independent work activities, giving them 15 mins of their own time called "My Time", music appreciation, Social games, life skills - you name it I do it! I also have the normal curriculum subjects too but have cut them to half hour slots. They do more work now than they ever did with the full 45 minutes per lesson. If you would like to see a copy of my timetable I am more than happy for you to have a look.
    mommylink likes this.
  5. The way you're doing things sounds great, exactly the way I want my timetable to be! If possible I would LOVE to see your timetable. I'm sure it would be a real help. :)
  6. Hiya I am in the same boat. Finding it V difficult to organise an effective timetable which will engage the pupils. I have looked at the timetable of other teacher's in my school but theirs seems very long winded as my class are the lower ability pupils who cannot sit for any longer than 10/15 mins at a time and I feel so overwhelmed trying to fit in the core curriculum, meet their targets and provide them with the best education that they can get. I am also new to the school and worried they will think I may not be doing a good job. The last teacher did not leave anything up to date or any of the programmes which OT, SALT, etc were working on so I could continue. I have only met with the SALT for the first time y'day and she was shocked to find that the material she had left last term has disappeared so I am trying to work on that as well as there are so many deadlines I cannot see straight :S.

  7. mrstiggywinkle123

    mrstiggywinkle123 New commenter

    And there was me thinking that I was the only one with these difficulties! My class of 9 children ranges from R to Yr4 and lovely as they are, it is a real challenge.

    My homework this weekend is to set up treasure boxes for when they have finished an activity. They can contain a million and one things (not all in the same box!) e,g, stickers, sequins, glue stick and a little handmade book; spinners;.Jacob's ladder; wind up toys; plasticine;paper and pencil. I decorate the boxes then I'm going to take photos of them with their contents and make choice boards. I'll choose which boxes they can have for that particular session. Knowing what motivates the children really helps with these. I also need to make sure that those who can sustain attention for longer, get to have a go.

    After lunch we do the 5 a day exercise programme. I have to say that some of the children are better than me! This is followed by a cool down when I play some nice music.

    On my visual timetable I have "mystery time" This may be a surprise box. The children have to sit for this session. They may get to take a turn to choose what they would like more of. Also for PSED, I'm getting the children to come and take my role which they love. We've also done lemonade fountains and other whizzy activities.

    Snack time is all important. The children have to sit and wait for everybody before they can eat/drink and they have to pay for their snacks with pennies.

    My children are also responding well to stars and (though I hate them, the school house point system!0 I am looking for a nice new reward system.

    The visual timetable helps along with clear expectations from me. But yes, it is a rollercoaster so keep those ideas coming. What works one day may well be out the window the next!
  8. mrstiggywinkle123

    mrstiggywinkle123 New commenter

    Isn't it reassuring to know that you're not alone. I'm working my little socks off in my new school and feeling really frustrated that I can't do everything at once. My advice to you would be one step at a time but I know that I find that hard when you have high expectations. Good luck
  9. There are some really good ideas here - I love the 'special box' idea. It certainly is good to know other people are in the same boat! It is nearly impossible to plan for kids who are difficult to engage without knowing what motivates each individual, so I'm hoping that as I get to know them I'll be able to cater for all needs and interests. Arrrggghh! It's so difficult! I'm hoping that we will get there eventually. Does anyone have any tips on work stations? My kids can barely sit let alone work independenlty, so I need to build them up slowly.
  10. Hello, i would love to see a copy of your timetable please. I have a mixed pmld, ASD class. My e-mail is laurajdavies11@hotmail.co.uk

    Many thanks xx

    Also, does anyone have any good ideas for brain break type activities which would suit and help to re focus my class? Many thanks xx
  11. What about playdough, you could use it for maths or literacy making the number shapes or letters or things. Very satisfying for nearly every one (unless they are very tactile defensive) Lots of lovely recipes on the Early Years resources/forum. Plasticene is another good one. I have also collected a box of 'stuff' from various Freecyclers, there are McDonalds toys, small cars etc. I have them in a shoe box and rattle it to build up suspense!!
  12. hdh


    Wow! I am not the only one wondering if I am going in the right direction! I have 16 in my SEN class from reception to Yr 6. Abilities vary greatly from 5SLD to 2 who will merge into mainstream full time for year 5/6 (hopefully). Have been in the since Easter but still finding my feet - although I have been told - first year to settle in, second year to find where everything is and in my third year I will know what I am doing??? I find planning difficult - so plan daily and individually! I would love to see a copy of your timetable. hdd03@hotmail.co.uk. Many thanks.
  13. It is nice to hear that there are other people out there finding things really tricky!! I have 9 in my class of Yr R to Yr3 with all sorts of complex learning needs. Our morning is really structured, although I am thinking that I need to put more free time in. I hvae two sessions of focused tasks each day, one numeracy, one literacy. The tasks are planned according to need, those that are around P3 do lots of sensory activites, those who are nearer p7 are working on writing own name, simple words. It definitley works better in small, sharp bursts of different activities! Sensory stories keep 8 out of 9 focused for around twenty mintues and its nice to do whole class teaching!
  14. I am so sorry to have taken so long to reply! I forgot to come back and check :s Right - will email all those who have left their addresses :) I am also writing a rough scheme of work for Life Skills so at some point I will happily pass all that info on as well. Any questions re the layout feel free to ask. For the children the timetable is laid out in pictures and words using a software called widgit but for teacher purposes the timetable works well! :)
  15. hdh - have tried to email but has come back. I will try sending to hdh03 instead...
  16. Hi there,
    I have only just caught up with these posts! By any chance could you give me some ideas on what your literacy and numeracy lessons involve? Literacy I find much easier but numeracy I find a real struggle to teach - I also have P3 - P7!
    Thanks a lot!
  17. Try them with some developmental movement activities such as Ten Gems for the Brain from Move to Learn who are an australian web-site.
    Also Marlene Rattigan kidz-fiz-biz has some good books with CDs of songs.
    Get in touch with me if you want more details.

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