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NQT role in a mixed Yr1/2 class

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Tinysmall, May 31, 2011.

  1. Hello all,
    I'll be an NQT come July. I recently went for a Reception teacher job interview and got offered a job at the school, but the mixed age Yr1/2 instead!
    My training is early years biased, and I haven't taught Year 2 at all.
    I'm looking for as much advice as possible before the summer holidays,
    so that I can spend time researching, reading up and preparing.
    I'm due a handover in July with the current teacher, so that will help, but I need to know what I should be asking!
    tips, advice, web sites, books, 'wish I'd knowns', must-dos,
    organisational advice, differentiation (how on earth do you plan and
    teach across two ages? Same objectives, just differentiated work, or
    I'm at that 'I
    know I don't know, but I don't know what it is I don't know' stage - so
    any advice or avenues to follow would be much appreciated!
    Thanks :)
  2. Hello all,
    I'll be an NQT come July. I recently went for a Reception teacher job interview and got offered a job at the school, but the mixed age Yr1/2 instead!
    My training is early years biased, and I haven't taught Year 2 at all.
    I'm looking for as much advice as possible before the summer holidays,
    so that I can spend time researching, reading up and preparing.
    I'm due a handover in July with the current teacher, so that will help, but I need to know what I should be asking!
    tips, advice, web sites, books, 'wish I'd knowns', must-dos,
    organisational advice, differentiation (how on earth do you plan and
    teach across two ages? Same objectives, just differentiated work, or
    I'm at that 'I
    know I don't know, but I don't know what it is I don't know' stage - so
    any advice or avenues to follow would be much appreciated!
    Thanks :)
  3. Hello, I'm not sure this is still relevant to you but I'll offer my advice anyway.

    I am currently an NQT teaching a Year 1/2 class. I have 18 Year 2's and 6 Year 1's. The other Year 1's are in the Reception class. I have the higher ability Year 1 children (also older, so are all September to April birthdays). How is your class split, do you have all Year 1?

    The way we do the planning is on a two-year cycle - this is how everything is fit in and we manage to teach all LI's etc.

    I plan for both Year 1 and 2 however, the literacy and numeracy strategy are quite useful as you can find the appropriate LI for the Year above/below. I often plan initially for Year 2 and find the appropriate LI for Year 1 to adapt the planning. Differentiated work always works however as my year 1's are probably at the lower end of my Year 2 class so work quite well.

    WIll you have a TA to help? The TES resources are very useful, as are primary resources, teachit primary, teaching ideas are all good websites. If you're lucky, you will walk into a classroom that has a stack of resource books to help!

    Hope this helps x
  4. Hi, I too will be an NQT in September teaching a mixed Yr1/2 class! Very exciting, but also quite daunting! I have read 'Making it work in Year 1' by Sally Featherstone which gives lots of advice about the Transition from Reception. Would you, and anyone else, be interested in swapping information and ideas as we come across them, to help us in the setting up and running of our new classroom? If so, let me know. Good luck!
  5. mrsshorty

    mrsshorty New commenter

    I am also a NQT and have yr 1/2 from sept. I too feel excited but apprehensive too! I would be definately interested in swapping any ideas etc!!
  6. littlelebowski

    littlelebowski New commenter

    I'd love to swap ideas too! Found out today that I will have a Y1/2 class from September. I am an NQT too. Nice to see that I am not alone!
  7. Yes yes yes! please please can we swap ideas! I'm losing sleep at the mo as just don't know where to start!

    Haven't been able to check back here until now, as have been on my final placement and just too busy, but now the summer is here I'll have time to start preparing for the job!

    Thanks so much for the book recommendation! I have found some mixed age advice on the Cumbria web site, let me know if you need a link.

  8. Thanks for the advice!

    I'll have all the year 1s, and having met them I think I will have quite a spread. Some possibly still working at EYFS level and some up to Yr 3 level. :\ really don't know where to start. How do I teach them all phonics?! How do I organise guided reading?

    I'll have a part time TA, Mon Tues mornings and possibly weds mornings now and then - have to share her with reception.

    Sounds as though some phonics stuff will be shared with Reception... but not sure. What questions should I be asking the outgoing teacher? I'm spending a week there next week.

  9. Hi!

    I have 26 in my class. 15 Yr 1s and 11 Yr 2s. Think I said already some Yr 2s will rapidly progress to Level 3s and I have three or four Yr 1s who are low ability - yikes! Thanks for the suggestions re questions, I think I've pretty much asked things along the same lines.
    I'm lucky enough to be inheriting the planning from the outgoing teacher so will use her two year cycles and short term plans until I find my feet.

    Still terrified! How on earth do I differentiate maths/lit lessons with some possibly still on EYFS goals and some on Level 3?
  10. littlelebowski

    littlelebowski New commenter

    Tinysmall, would you be able to share that planning? I'm so worried at the moment, and being able to see some example planning would really put my mind at ease. I'm glad there are others in the same boat to panic with!! I haven't had experience of two year cycle planning, and I'm bewildered at the moment!
    It does sound like you have a wide ability range in your new class. I found some good videos on differentiation on Teachers TV - they are same age classes but it still gave me some ideas.
    This one for example: http://www.teachersmedia.co.uk/videos/independent-learning-ks1-maths.
    Had my meeting at school postponed, so still have no info on the levels in my class! :)

  11. Firstly take a deep breath and don't panic. [​IMG]
    A few thoughts after teaching year 1/2 for 5 years.I have a mixed class of Year 1 and 2 (all the year 2 plus higher ability year 1) ability ranges from SEN on P scales (P7 for most things) to GT children working on level 3 maths and 1 level 5 reader. It's a differentiation nightmare. [​IMG]
    NQT year is hard and a very steep learning curve. You will probably love it [​IMG]it in equal measure. Don't try to do everything at once, don't try to reinvent the wheel, make sure you take time for yourself to do fun stuff.

    Key tips in no particular order.
    • Be organised get your files set up now for planning etc I have a class file for general information - class lists etc. A file for core subjects for assesment - split into groups I generally have 5 groups for literacy and numeracy (not the same groups obviously) with an APP grid for each group (1 for each child is not necessary). It's probably best to develop your own files as you become more experienced and know wha works for you.
    • Don't try to do everything all at once. It's very exciting having your first class and there is a temptation to work all hours, spend hideous amounts of money and pretty stuff for your classroom etc. Buy a few things if you feel the urge but don't get carried away.
    • Your TA can be your best friend or your worst nightmare - keep your relationship professional. A good one is worth their weight in gold, make sure you appreciate them.
    • Don't panic!!!!
    • You will probably cry at least once this coming year - don't worry you are not a failure everyone does it.
    • Spend some time at the beginning of term getting the children to be independent and getting classroom routines in place but sometimes this takes time to establish - be consistent.
    • Have high expectations for behaviour and never falter from them.
    • Tiddlers like structure and routine it makes them feel more secure, this is sometimes particularly true of SEN children.
    • Did I say don't panic!!!
    • ASK FOR HELP!! We were all NQT's once most teachers are more than happy to help.
    • If you don't understand something - ask. Don't sit in a staff meeting wondering what something means teaching is full of jargon and abbreviations that we bandy about (gobbledegook most of it LOL)
    • Oh and don't panic.
    Just a few initial thoughts, I'll see what else I can come up with.
  12. littlelebowski

    littlelebowski New commenter

    I really appreciate the advice! I'm going to work on the not panicking!! I've just got back from my school, but wasn't able to ask all of the questions I wanted to becauseof a serious issue in another part of the school. Therefore, I still don't know their levels yet. I have 14 year 1's and 9 yr 2's and have been told that I have perhaps a couple of high achievers in each year group but also a large number of children with learning difficulties. 5 children are attending speech therapy weekly. I will only be teaching Literacy and Numeracy (including spelling, handwriting and phonics) every morning, although I've been told that I can do cross-curricular work if I want to. In the afternoons, the children go back to their respective classes. I've asked if I can group them in terms of ability instead of age and they have said this is fine. I will have a TA every day, which is ace. I've got some boys who potentially have behaviour problems who need VERY strict boundaries.
    My main worry is that I don't have a classroom! The school is adapting an area for me that currently only has three walls, but will have screens in Autumn. They have applied for planning permission for an extra classroom. Therefore, I have NO resources! I've been asked to input to an order for books, folders, pens, whiteboards etc (which the school will pay for) and I will have an interactive whiteboard in September. It's a very small space and I think they will have to sit at tables all of the time. How can I make the most of this and what essentials do I need to beg. steal or borrow?! I've also been asked if I would like them to buy the Abacus workbooks for my class - do you use these? Are they any good?
    As well as being worried, I'm very excited, as it seems like a completely lovely school and the staff are really friendly.
    Sorry for all the questions Yirg - it's great to have some advice from someone who has been there and done it! Just going to do some deep breathing! [​IMG] in...out...in...out...
  13. Glad you are breathing LOL
    No classroom - yikes. I'll have a think about that plus what other things you will need. I'l see if I can come up with a can't do without list.
    We have got the Abacus scheme as far as I know it is sat in the cupboards of all the teachers in the school [​IMG]as no one really likes it, someone might occasionally dip in for an activity but that's about it. It depends a bit on what is expected by the head in terms of recording etc. I wouldn't bother with the books personally my maths is very hands on and practical (won points with OFSTED) I never use workbooks or worksheets. If you are worried about evidence for I take loads of photos I don't necessarily print them all (although I sometimes do to stick in a child's book) but I jot down the location of the file on my APP sheets so I can produce them if necessary. I find then photo's work well for me I can usually remember exactly what the child was doing/saying at the time with a photo but you need to find what works for you.
    A friendly staff is everything, teaching can be very tough and you are going to need friendly support. Ask for advice and listen to it but don't feel you have to follow it if you know it won't work for you I had lots of advice from a well meaning teacher when I started out but our styles were as different as chalk and chees and I knew what she was saying wouldn't work for me.
    Glad you are excited, this time next year you will be exhausted [​IMG]
    I'll have another think about your "classroom". Don't forget to keep breathing - Pilates and running are great for stress.
  14. gld202

    gld202 New commenter

    I completely agree with previous comments about not panicking and not over working yourself. Teaching is a job in which you will never do everything you are supposed to do, basically you could work all day every day for hours and there would still be more to do. I have had year 1 and 2 this year (my 2nd yr in teaching) and I have really learnt to prioritise. Do what is essential first!
    It is a difficult mix as you have the very little ones and the difference between them and your yr2 high flyers is massive. The differentiation is hard but there is a lot of stuff out there to support you.
    I really like the bedfordshire primary maths site, as it gives you ideas for continous provision but also everything is arranged in folders with everything you need for each block.
    I agree that practical work is more beneficial to them. Take lots of photos and observations and find a system of storing them that suits you- if you don't get it right it can be very time consuming!
    I would also recommend spending time over the summer printing and laminating resources for displays/ working walls/phonics etc. www.tpet.co.uk is a lovely website for this sort of thing.
    Something I have found has worked well in my class is our exciting writing box. It had fancy pens/pencils and different writing frames for the children to use independently. The children love it and it had given me a lot of evidence of independent writing for assessment purposes.
    Sorry it's a few random ideas! I've learnt a lot this year and will be changing the way I do a lot of things for next year.
    I am going to have 29 in the class next year which is a bit scary!
    Good Luck and feel free to ask more specific questions if you want to know more.
    It is hardwork and you will feel very stressed out at times! But it is a lovely age group and you will really enjoy it as well!
  15. littlelebowski

    littlelebowski New commenter

    Finally got the children's levels (after some hunting around!) I haven't quite got my head around the Foundation Stage scales but the Year 1's (who will be my Year 2's) currently range from P scales to 2a. At least I know where I am now! I have downloaded loads of good display stuff from Communication4all - what a great website!
    After another visit today (where I was observing) I can see that there is some challenging behaviour..
  16. gld202

    gld202 New commenter

    I'm glad you've got their levels now, that will really help. Have you got any APP sheets for the year 1s? They can be quite helpful in working out where the gaps are.
    The Foundation Stage scales do take a while to get your head around, I struggled with this at first - will you be levelling them on the EYFS scales for the first two terms? If so, make sure you have someone to look through it with you. There is a booklet which gives examples of work at the different scales and that's quite helpful. The big difference is that they are supposed to do it completely independently to reach the different points, but once they get in to Level 1, the assessment says 'with support'.
    I have got some year 1s at Level 3 already (yr 2s next year) so it is hard to cater for them and your really low year 1s. Make sure you do lots of guided group work so you can really focus in on where they are at, and to challenge them.
    The year 1s will need a lot of play based activities, particularly in the Autumn term, so think carefully about how you organise your classroom (I know you said there wasn't a lot of room!).
    In terms of behaviour just make sure you lay down the rules on the first day, and don't put up with anything. Never start talking until you have got all children's attention, even if it takes a long time at first. I use things like '1,2,3, Look at me' to get attention, or putting my hands on my head, shoulders, knees, elbows etc without saying anything until they have all joined in. This does take longer but it stimulates their brains, and they concentrate more afterwards!!
    They are only little, but the really need to know their boundaries, you can be strict with them, as long as you are lovely when they are being good.
    Have you thought about different behaviour systems to help?
    Sorry if I've told you lots of things you already know! I'm sure you've got some great ideas.
  17. gld202

    gld202 New commenter

    P.S Sorry it's all in one big paragraph - it doesn't seem to want to work!
  18. littlelebowski

    littlelebowski New commenter

    What fantastic advice! In terms of behaviour, I would like to have some kind of reward system. The school has star of the week and house points and I'm thinking of having a sort of 'good to be green' type of thing in the classroom.
    I actually measured my classroom today and it is 7 metres long by 3 and a half metres wide. Quite scared by how narrow it is, but I will make it work somehow. I have asked about the hall, and this is free most mornings, which gives me a bit more scope.
    I do have the APP sheets which, as you say, will really help to fill in those gaps. The school uses Classroom Monitor which I am familiar with, so that's good.
    Thanks very much for the advice and enjoy the holidays when they arrive! We finish on Thursday and I am looking forward to SLEEP! [​IMG]

  19. gld202

    gld202 New commenter

    I use a Good to be Green sort of thing and it works really well. The children really respond to this and most of the time, the threat of moving down to Amber is enough to make them listen/stop whatever they are doing wrong. If they are on Amber I make them miss 5 mins of break time (or choosing time if it's on that day).
    I also have a Golden Ticket box, which works like a raffle. The children get given a golden ticket for doing very good things e.g. giving a good answer, listening really well, good work etc. They write their name in it then it goes in the box for the draw. Whoevers name gets called out wins a prrize. (i just buy party bag type things from tescos, they're quite cheap).
    We also finished yesterday, so am already enjoying the day off!
    Good Luck in September [​IMG]
  20. littlelebowski

    littlelebowski New commenter

    Have a great break! I'm afraid I will be stealing those fantastic ideas! [​IMG]

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