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Managing a Mixed Reception and Year 1 Class

Discussion in 'Primary' started by sarahjw, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone
    I have a mixed reception and year 1 class in a school which has had lots of issues in recent years over standards and achievement. As such there is great pressure (from the LA) to see improvements in assessments every term, either using EYFS or national curriculum levels as appropriate.
    The problem is because of all this pressure I think I'm trying to do too much. I'm trying to stick with EYFS principles and ensure the Year 1s are getting sufficient challenge. At the moment I am trying to do a maths lesson, a phonics session, a literacy lesson and some topic work each day, with all the Y1s having written tasks to do, and the 2 reception groups alternating on an adult directed tasks linked to Literacy, Numeracy and topic (still getting plenty of time to do child initiated stuff).
    I know I'm doing too much, but with the push to raise standards, I don't know what I can drop.
    Anyone got any bright ideas please?! I'd really value your expertise.
    Sarah
     
  2. Hi everyone
    I have a mixed reception and year 1 class in a school which has had lots of issues in recent years over standards and achievement. As such there is great pressure (from the LA) to see improvements in assessments every term, either using EYFS or national curriculum levels as appropriate.
    The problem is because of all this pressure I think I'm trying to do too much. I'm trying to stick with EYFS principles and ensure the Year 1s are getting sufficient challenge. At the moment I am trying to do a maths lesson, a phonics session, a literacy lesson and some topic work each day, with all the Y1s having written tasks to do, and the 2 reception groups alternating on an adult directed tasks linked to Literacy, Numeracy and topic (still getting plenty of time to do child initiated stuff).
    I know I'm doing too much, but with the push to raise standards, I don't know what I can drop.
    Anyone got any bright ideas please?! I'd really value your expertise.
    Sarah
     
  3. KMD

    KMD

    Not really a bright idea but I can tell you what I'm doing. Be warned though I'm not happy with it and feel like crying because I just don't feel like I'm getting anywhere plus I have no time at all to do any observations/collect any evidence. I was going to post tonight asking for some advice too. I'm having to work from a curriculum map of National Curriculum subjects which just doesn't work. I do feel that I'm getting the challenge right for my Y1s but my poor reception...

    I do teach discrete maths, english and other national curriculum subject sessions. For maths and english I've so far had the Y1s working on either independent or adult supported activities. The reception children are in two groups, 1 does an adult-led activity the other child initiated (not necessarily related to maths but all the continuous provision stuff - I'm probably getting all the vocab wrong - don't shout at me). This only works because I have only 2 reception groups at the moment - don't know what I'll do in January. With the other subjects I have timetabled slots in the afternoon, the whole class sits down for a (very) brief input and then the Y1s do some related activity - in theory independent but it rarely is and reception go and 'choose' sometimes I get them to do the activity too.

    My feeling is that the reception children are getting very little adult-led time in anything other than english and Maths and they aren't really doing any activities related to the 'topic' because it isn't a topic and it's just too hard to get that amount of stuff ready.
    Please, please don't anyone tell me that reception children shouldn't be doing National Curriculum subjects - I know but I don't know what else I could do about it.
    The whole mess is compounded by the fact that TA time is very tight in school this year - I have a TA 3 mornings a week and 1 afternoon a week. Lots of lovely volunteers which do help but it's not the same and as the majority are parents I don't feel I can get them involved in any observations/evidence collecting.
    Sarah, I'm sure that's no help except in so far as to say someone else is having the same problems you are. I'm fully open to the bright ideas too. Good luck with it!
     
  4. Thank you for your reply. It's VERY reassuring to read of others
    struggling with the same issues and see that I'm not the only one.
    It
    sounds like I am working in a very similar way to you. I have a TA in
    the morning only so that's when I tend to do the direct teaching and
    have it more fluid in the afternoon. There is NO time for observation
    apart from the week at the end of each half term which I block for
    assessment. As for getting 3 pieces of evidence for each point...don't
    make me laugh!
    Like you I think I'm getting it about right for the Year 1s, but reception???
    I
    took all this to a good friend who is an AST and asked her advice. She
    said that under the circumstances this is the only way to do it.I've also asked an adviser to come and tell me what I'm doing wrong and how I can improve on it (very foolish I know). That's happening on Monday so watch this space....
    Thanks again
    Sarah
     
  5. It is possible but you need to allow yourself a little bit of flexibility with teaching. I have mixed class YR & Y1 and it does work and I find it less stressful than teaching a single yR class. Dont get so hung up on the fact that you have to teach subjects. I dont. I teach everything cross curricular, Literacy and history combined etc. That way you cover more objectives quickly. At the end of the day Y1 is all about helping them to develop independecy through their own learning. We start everyday with a plan, do, review session, where YR and planning their own activities and Y1 completing challenges, this gives me time to observe and play with the children - you have to make time for this as this is the most important teaching you can do with young children. I plan day by day and see it as a YR class with very able children. Start to change the way you think and this might help.
     
  6. KMD

    KMD

    Thanks for the reply. I do think a more cross curricular approach would help but the curriculum maps have very few links between them - I've made them where I can. I'm also under pressure to ensure that my Y1s are getting the same opportunities as the Y1s who are in the Y1/2 class. We have lots of issues with parents concerned that their child is being 'kept down' in reception for an extra year.
    Can you give me an example of something you've done? It might help me get my head round how it could work.
     
  7. Hi there,

    I'm so happy that I have read your posts!
    I too have a mixed Yr/1 class in a very similar setting to yours. We have parallel YR/1 classes where we need to get everything the same in both classes. The other year groups are single year groups. We don't have planning time together.
    We too are struggling to fit everything in. We've switched to 3 x literacy and 2x numeracy a week. We have been advised to do 2 x guided reading sessions with all chn and follow the Primary Frameworks and the phonic planning. The year 1s have independent tasks relating to the oppsite subjects ie independent task for lit when doing num and vice versa (although these tasks are not differentiated - some chn find this painful and others too easy. The afternoons are not as full on though.
    Is there anyone out there that manages to do all of this and fit everything else in too?
    Have you received any other advice. I have asked 2 advisors and can't seem to get a definitive answer.
    How are you managing your outdoor area? Continuous provision in the class?
    An Ofsted is pending and we think that the school will be put in Special Measures again. I really need some help.... and fast!
    As for observation there really isn't any time to work as we should with the YR. We are also tracking all areas 6 times a year and completing APP for every Y1 child.
    HELP!


     
  8. shellyf

    shellyf New commenter

    I would love to offer words of wisdom but at the moment am strugling with YR,1,2 and Y3 who join us for Numeracy ,Literacy and Science-NIGHTMARE.We are a small school but it is EXTREMELY difficult teaching 3 Key Stages.Lots of criticism from LEA about how we structure our lessons(YR/1 and 2/3 half lessons)but nothing useful in the way of advice.
     
  9. It's comforting to see that other people are struggling with Rec and Yr 1. I'm an NQT in my last term of induction having spent the previous 2 terms in a purely Rec class. I was in my element in Rec and felt completely secure with it. My children made good progress and I felt happy that they had plenty child initiated time both inside and out. I always had one member of staff doing a focus and one interacting in areas which enabled lots of children initiated / adult supported learning, allowed us to use children's interests in the planning and provision, and because they achieved so many things through the provision we didnt need to 'teach' it. This year I am finding my philosophy on FS being tested and pulled in lots of directions. I hbut ave changed things round quite a bit over the last 6 weeks but I'm still not completely happy with it. Although Rec do get quite a bit of 'choosing time' I dont feel it is as benefiticial as it could be and I don't feel like I get very much time to observe them. I wanted to try and make the Yr1s more play based this term in particular but the vibe I got from the head and ks 1 leader was that they should be 'working' most of the time...problem is they are very poor standards wise compared to where they should / could be and also immature in many ways and actually I dont feel that making them sit at tables and work is going to get them interested in writing etc.
    Glad it's half term next week!
     
  10. [​IMG]
     
  11. Hi everyone,
    I am an NQT about to begin my first term of teaching. I have been given a reception/ year one class and am a little concerned about what to fit in and where to fit it in! Please could someone give me a weekly overview showing how often each 'subject' is taught and when.
    Am used to teaching older children at Primary School and I don't want to overload my new class!
    Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Best wishes for the new year! : )



     
  12. My advice to those whose LA "experts" criticise without advice would be to ask to see them to plan, prepare and teach a demonstration lesson for you. You will be very lucky if you get any takers. It is an impossible task, and one which we can only ever manage a "very good compromise". Try to tick the important (ie. child based) boxes, and have a good go at the rest. Most importantly of all...ensure you do not fret, panic, or over-work. There's always someone in another school that seems to be miles better than you...yeah, sure. Be content with your very best, then relax. (currently teaching foundation, KS1 and KS2, surviving)
     
  13. Very interested to read your reply to this thread. I too have mixed Rec Y1 and seem to struggle between the philosophy of Foundation stage curriculum and the need to prepare Y1 for KS1 SAT's!!! I am interested to know what you mean by discovery time? and how this differes from self initiated time (would some people call this'choosing'?) and are they choosing from everything or just the areas you specify?
     
  14. demed5

    demed5 New commenter

    Help! Really getting myself in a tizz! Mixed fs2/y1 class of 30 with one TA- most of the time. New school for me. TA never done observations before and doesn't get the whole EYFS ethos as its been more formal with previous teacher. Any help or suggestions greatly appreciated! How would you start this term with regards to writing with y1 etc? Adult/child led?
     

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