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Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Coffeeandcake1, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone,
    I desperately need some help & advice planning a 30 minute observation when we have a mock OFSTED by the borough next week. I have only been in Reception for half a term. I was considered to be a successful teacher in Ks2 & Ks1 and am so worried that I will hash this up and let the school down, ruining my reputation in the process!
    As we do a literacy based session from 9:30-10:30 I thought they could come in and see the first 30 mins of this lesson. The children did a topic on Cinderella as their half term project so I thought we could do 'Can you find some sounds in the Cinderella story?.' Perhaps a story bag with some objects on the carpet. Quick recap of the story through partner talk. Then show the objects again. Chn have sound fans and have to say, then show the sound each object from the story begins with.
    Then one TA could do some writing with a more able group (invitations to the Prince's party "Will you come to my party?") focussing on initial sounds, I could do a language for C&T activity (Teddy's story basket - make up a story about Teddy having a party) and other TA could do a Letters & Sounds/mark making activity - painting letters onto pictures of objects from the story & making the sound. Other children could have continuous provision, with lots of writing opportunities set out should they choose to do so & some Cinderella based activities set out.
    My main problems are 1) Is this right? Am I going to make some hideous blindingly obvious mistake to anyone who knows anything about FS? 2) Which sounds should I focus on? We have just finished phase 1 of L&S. THe children know some letter names & sounds but aren't secure yet. I'm thinking
    p m d h f w c
    based on the objects in the story, but is this too many sounds to include in one go? It also doesn't tie in perfectly with the order in which the sounds are supposed to be learned in the L&S document. Does this matter or can I shuffle them around??

    Hope someone can help! & sorry for the long post. Am now in a right tizz!!!!

    Coffee x
  2. It sounds like you have some great ideas. I'm just wondering about all the adults being involved in focus activities. If it was me I would have one TA supporting CI activities and making notes. What do others think?
  3. Thanks Thumbie,

    I shoiuld have mentioned that I also have a parent volunteer on that day (who is really good) I thought she could support CI play & fill in some LCT observation labels. However, do you think it would be better to have a TA do this and ask her to do the letters & sounds activity? I was just a bit worried she wouldn't get the phonics right.
  4. I wouldn't risk the chance she might get the phonics wrong. I would ask her to support CI and make sure is very well-informed about her role.
  5. Are you trying to mix up phonics and wider literacy perhaps?
    What are your learning intentions? Are you intending that the phonics element of your suggestions 'is' your phonics for the day?
    Of course phonics links to the wider curriculum but I just wondered if you yourself are not quite clear on what you are trying to achieve and 'what' does your school want inspected per se?
  6. Of course the real question is 'What is the point of a mock OFSTED?' if the school doesn't know its strengths and weaknesses without calling in the LA then the school's leadership has more to worry about than you have. Was any rationale given as to this pointless exercise? Will the leadership be challenged or is it just an exercise in class-teacher bashing with the head using the 'report' to say that teachers must to this and that. If leadership is weak will the head feed that back?
  7. got to agree with you brainjim. well said. really well said.
  8. got to agree with you brainjim. well said. really well said.

  9. brainjim, I would tend to agree with you, but right now my priority is to get through the ordeal unscathed!
    debbiehep, thanks, thats an interesting point. I suppose I was trying to give the literacy a clear 'skills' focus so that we were concentrating on learning one managable thing (eg: could have been using story language or sequencing instead but I thought phonics would be something managable for them). As I say, I am new to FS, so let me know if you think this is innapropriate. I thought I would still have a phonics session, but use it to keep learning these sounds.
    Should I reconsider?
  10. Thanks Debbie,
    I suppose that part of the problem is that with on-entry, we have only had two weeks of structured teaching, so I haven't really got into a routine regarding what we do yet! - Its all been a bit trial and error as I get used to the class's needs and the early years curriculum.
    So far, I have generally been teaching a short whole-class literacy input, a carousel with one language for C&T activity, one writing/mark making activity & one phonics activity all relating to the book or topic. Then teaching the phonics whole-class after the plenary (We follow a phonics programme from SFA and also use Letters&Sounds doc). Reading is covered in guided groups later.
    Thanks so much for your input. Perhaps I should have a rethink, like you say, and make it less phonics focussed and more to do with accessing/enjoying the story.I am just worried that the activities won't relate directly enough to the LO of the whole class session. Do you have any ideas for a focus I could give the whole class teaching instead, which would fit well with a range of activities?
  11. I think that you should try to de-stress about the observation and do something which you are comfortable with.
    Only you know what resources you have in the classroom, how you and the children are used to working - and you say that you are new to Reception anyway.
    Too often I think teachers try to do something to please someone else - and they can still end up being criticised.
    As I said, try to park the thought that you are being observed and be as natural as you can and do things which are your professional discretion.
    Then, when you are given some feedback, be prepared to be calm and full of common sense to address whatever you are told - even to the point of not agreeing with them and saying that you are still feeling your feet.
    Start with a favourite story of your own choice which you know works well with the children and then think what would be great to follow that up with.
    In terms of 'after' activities, I'm not one who believes in having umpteen groups and activities. In Reception children have lots of choices of things to do and play with - and some of these can be linked to your story-theme - but keep it all simple and doable.
    Search deep inside you for your own confidence and professional discretion.
  12. Thanks Thumbie and Debbie for your advice, Will go away and have a little think. Always good to talk ideas over with others (especially those with a little more experience of that age group).

    Coffee x

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