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Reception timetable - phonics / literacy!

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Miss.hendo, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. Miss.hendo

    Miss.hendo New commenter

  2. This is indeed a dilemma in reception. As always you will have many masters to please and plates to spin. 5 phonics a week will no doubt be expected (There's 20 minutes gone). But then at some point you will be expected to do a literacy input and a numeracy input (another 2 times 20 minutes)as well as a focus task oh but what about knowledge of the world and creative? My advice would be quality not quantity. A cynic would say ditch knowledge and creative input as they do not contribute to 'a good level of development' and concentrate on the basics
  3. Hi, I do phonics every day, specific CL/L input, maths input and PSED input up to 20 mins before each adult led activity. 6 planned adult led activities with a main focus on each of the areas of learning (PSED, I'm afraid 'fits into another activity). Comunication is low in our demographic so all activities involve lots of communicating of their needs, ideas and a vocabulary focus.

    We do need to develop CI though and will be introducing a 'big think day' every Monday to develop the ideas the children have for activities they would like to explore and to decide on the resources needed and where to get them to so the children are involved in the setting up of areas to explore throughout the week (longer if its fun learning or even just fun!!)

    I have a version of my timetable in my resources but it's been tweaked for this Sept. We are very well staffed, each adult has a key group of 10 children which we support throughout the week (we also work with any children interested in the activity as they join us not exclusively our key group it's just easier to organise where we a based in this way thus ensuring fair sharing out of the outside area for those staff who don't like the great outdoors!!)
  4. I am having a similar problem organising my timetable for September. I have not taught in reception for a while and am trying to get my head around the new curriculum/expectations etc.

    I am planning to do a daily phonics input (20 mins) and then was thinking of planning about 6 adult led/focused tasks (covering each area of curriculum) which would be timetabled in during the week (1 am/1 pm) then leaving the end of the week fairly flexible to see where children's interests go and then set up activities accordingly. I will have one TA with me so I can either use her to support CI play whilst I do the adult led task or split into 2 groups with her doing adult led task with 1/2 class whilst I do it with the other 1/2.

    My main concern is how much literacy and numeracy to do and how to actually fit everything into the day. Do I need to do a lit/num whole class session each day? Reading and writing are a big focus in our school this year so I know the head will be looking to see that they are getting enough teaching in this area.

    Sorry to ramble on! I keep trying to sort out the timetable then getting confused and leaving it but I know I need to tackle it soon!

  5. I do phonics every day (for 15-20 mins straight after break) I don't do a separate Lit/Num input daily. I think phonics should be daily. Each week varies slightly and I dont follow a set timetable as such, but generally, I do 2 mornings of Literacy and 2 of maths.

    e.g. Monday morning, whole class Literacy input on carpet...then I work with 2 of my 4 groups doing an adult led Literacy activitity related to whatever we did on the carpet. On Tuesday, i'd do another whole class Literacy input followed by the other 2 groups adult led activity. On Weds morning, i'd do a whole class maths input, followed by 2 groups, and then continue/finish it on Thurs. I leave Fridays fairly free and plan something from Weds onwards (linked to their interests, or I observe their play..or we often just "finish off" things!) In the afternoons I do some other activities (EAD, UW, PD/P.E etc) but not always all of them covered in 1 week. For example, 1 week we might spend quite a few afternoons doing art/creative type activities, so the following week we'd do less art and something more exploratory/Understanding the Worldy!

    I hope that makes sense! I tend to do most of the adult led activites in my class (although not all) and my TA usually supports CI play whilst im working with a group. Reading and Writing has been a big focus in our school (we've been in Special Measures so had LOTS of pressure on to 'up' the attainment! Our end of year levels this year were very good. To promote reading and especially writing...Its ESSENTIAL to have really good provision in your writing area. We've ensured we have lots of interesting pencs/pencils/note pads/themed paper etc..and we've just worked on really praising/raising the profile of independent writing. My class know that I want them to challenge themselves and have a go at writing independently!
  6. I don't know how anyone can possibly cover enough practice if phonics is only 15 or 20 minutes a day, especially if you have biggish classes.

    I think a myth has grown around the 20 minutes of phonics a day - but this was always an apologetic approach to appease early years advisors who are not into phonics and not into explicit teaching or whole class teaching.

    What needs to be considered is that some teachers may provide 15 or 20 minutes a day - but for a start how can this address the needs of different children, and then how can you teach the code, the children learn the code - and then they need to practise the code as 'apply and extend' for reading, spelling and writing?

    It cannot be done.

    Teachers need to be very efficient and effective with their phonics provision, but they must allow sufficient time for all the children to be able to learn and practise some very sophisticated skills.

    And then there is the comprehension element and vocabulary development aspect that comes within the cumulative words and sentences.

    And far from Phase Six coming after the code within Phase Five, Phase Six elements need to be drip-drip taught from Reception.

    Such a lot to teach and such little time allowance is going to lead to at least some children failing.

    And then the teaching gets increasingly challenging as the gap widens.
  7. How long do you suggest, Debbie, for reception class? The Rose Report consistently mentions 'short' sessions and observes that the phonics sessions used in the Clackmannanshire study were 15 to 20 minutes.

    The problem with devoting large amounts of time to phonics is that it eats into time spent for other aspects of literacy and other areas of learning. Of course, in order to get children to the right level for the phonics check it may be necessary to give more time to phonics than the standard short session of 20 minutes per day, but the desirability of this depends on the desirability of the phonics check, not the desirability of fostering good progress in reading or even just in phonics.
  8. Good question, thumbie.

    But it's a bit like asking, 'How long is a piece of string' because the time allotted should be based on needs - and some children need more little and often than others - for example, if they have short term memories or if they take longer than their peers of being able to blend for reading or segment for spelling.

    Re the phonics check, it's not an onerous check. A number of reception teachers have tried it on their reception children - many of whom have reached the threshold - and others who didn't only because they hadn't been taught about split digraphs. Thus, if the check does sharpen teachers' minds on being effective with their phonics provision - good.

    The point with phonics teaching is that we are teaching the letter/s-sound correspondences of the alphabetic code, then applying and extending that code knowledge with the phonics skills for reading, spelling - and I include handwriting. That's a LOT.

    I suggest that the original Jolly Phonics and Clackmannanshire practice may not have had as much apply and extend to cumulative sentences and texts as might actually be desirable.

    In other words, I think that phonics provision may well evolve over time. For example, you know that I promote 'two-pronged systematic and incidental' phonics provision - and the use of Alphabetic Code Charts - but also the use of plain sentences and texts to get plenty of paper-based practice.

    Well, not all schools really do paper-based practice in Reception. They're more likely to do some kind of quickfire revisit and review with something like flash cards and/or phonicsplay - and then introduce the next letter/s-sound correspondence with perhaps a bit of modelling followed by some kind of game or activity - rather than some very focused skills practice where every single child gets to thoroughly apply him or herself to his or her own paper-based activity 'cold turkey'. Then the teacher goes through the material again for over-learning and also for vocabulary development and speaking and listening.

    For all of this to happen, it may be that up to 40 minutes is a more realistic time-scale.

    And even then, some children may need to be pulled out later for a bit of repeat, or closer, attention.

    Does Read Write Inc still suggest two sessions of 20 minutes a day for Reception and an hour for Year One? I believe that is the expectation.

    I think that Phonics Bug - which has stemmed from Clackmannanshire, suggests one hour per session - but I'm not altogether sure about that.

    Msz can maybe tell us what the guidelines are for Sounds~Write.

    But be realistic - how can any teacher provide 'revisit and review', teacher-led introduce and model new learning - and then make sure every child gets to practise those sophisticated reading, spelling and handwriting skills in 15 to 20 minutes?

    Finally, thumbie, the tone and implication of your last posting is, yet again, sounding rather negative about the phonics teaching - as if it is at the expense of 'other forms' of literacy teaching.

    You couldn't be more mistaken. The phonics teaching and learning is setting up children for lifelong literacy for reading and writing - and does not preclude the language comprehension and literature side of communication, language and literature.
  9. I agree that some children will need more teaching than others to reach the same point. However, you seem to advocate that all children be taught phonics for longer than 20 minutes each day, perhaps in two separate 20 min sessions. Are you advocating that some children, such as those less able to remember phonic facts, are taught for even longer than this? Perhaps you could clarify that.

    As to whether someone is motivated to be 'more effective with their phonics provision' by the looming presence of the phonics check, I am sure that is true for most teachers who will want their children and schools to get good results, but this hardly addresses the question as to whether it is desirable that children be equipped to pass a phonics check. It's almost tautological that teaching phonics more intensively will increase phonics knowledge in children, but it doesn't mean that more intensive teaching of phonics is necessarily a 'good thing' overall.

    This idea of teaching through pencil and paper activities in reception bears some examination and evaluation, as does the idea of teaching 40 minutes or more of phonics per day. Phonics is only one of many areas of knowledge and skill that children need to progress within during the reception year.
  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Would you not advocate writing with pencil and paper in reception?

    In answer to Debbie there is no set time for Sounds - Write lessons. As you know S~W has a different structure to other popular phonics programmes in that it starts with words rather than single sounds a normal whole class reception session would be 15-20 mins - usually with a short group follow up activity my Y1 sessions are approx 30 mins depending on content.

    When I taught reception using Jolly Phonics early whole class activities might only have lasted 10mins with another 10min follow up small group lesson using pencil and paper from the first day in reception.
  11. It's not just about children 'learning phonics facts' - what are teachers providing for children to be able to 'apply and extend' their 'phonics facts?

    You need to do a bit of revision at the begining of each session, followed by 'teach' the focus correspondence with some modelling for blending, segmenting and handwriting - followed by children having a chance to learn the 'phonics fact' and apply it at word, sentence and text level for reading, spelling and writing.

    How can all that be done 'well' in 20 minutes - and when you have up to 30 children? It can't.

    (Plus, of course, discussions about the meanings of at least some of the new words and discussions about the cumulative sentences or texts for 'language comprehension.)

    Now, in 20 minutes, you could do a bit revisit and review, introduce and model - and then what does the 'practice' amount to in reality?

    That is where I'm suggesting results in schools will start to show big differences, the schools which provide for plenty of 'apply and extend' for all three core skills - and the schools which don't really.
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    In a typical Y1 lesson my children will read and spell words using the sound we are learning, sort words by spelling of the sound, write sentences (dictation) or read text and identify words containing the sound. Reception children will follow a similar pattern in the summer term.
  13. I'm wondering why it necessary to have all these decodable readers if the ideal is for children to apply their phonics extensively in the phonics session. This seems like overkill of phonics when children could be reading books which expand their horizons a little more, as regards vocabulary, ideas and story in reading books, and in shared reading, where so-called incidental phonics can be part of the reading experience but not define it.

    Of course, hearing children read and shared reading carry a time requirement. With phonics grabbing more and more class time these other valuable activities suffer.
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Not in my experience but I suppose it is all down to how teachers plan and work.
  15. In my experience time is a finite resource, however one works and plans.
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I was referring to your statement about phonics grabbing more time at the expense of other activities.
  17. Which was referring to Debbie's assertions about the time requirement for phonics teaching.
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    So you are making assumptions based on Debbie's model which you have not experienced to know how it would impact ...if at all.
  19. I'm simply making an observation about the time requirements Debbie recommends for phonics and how they impact on classroom time, which is a finite resource. Perhaps she doesn't think teachers work at full capacity and can fit in this extra time without it having an impact on something else.
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Perhaps you should try her suggestion and see how it works into the day - extra phonics rather than washing paint pots might work.

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