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So how do you run your year 2 classroom?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by lillipad, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    I've worked in 2 schools- In the first one lessons were very much, mental / oral, input, everyone does differentiated activtiies, plenary end.
    Second school, pupils were taught in small focus groups while the rest completed 'activties' - not necessarily relating to what the teacher was teaching, very much a FS / Y1 format.
    My concern regarding the second option, is that it would mean that focusing on say, the same 6 pupils for a number of days to a week in Maths would mean that the others would lose touch with the teacher. Secondly, if you only had one focus group a day and the rest didn't get input- how would you get even coverage of the curriculum?
    Thirdly, would this be a better way to teach because the small input would be very much focused on the level of the pupils working, as opposed to addressing several needs in one swoop?


    I am taking year 2 this year after a short break from them and am starting to think about the way I approach it this year. What do you do? How do you do it? And what are your arguments for doing it? (I.e.- why is it a better way to work than the other way?)

    Just think thoughts would be so helpful in deciding!
  2. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    This is all very fine if you have a TA in the room every morning.
  3. In my previous school I ran my class like this:
    Whole class mental/oral followed by whole class input on carpet. 2 groups accessed continuous provision whilst one worked with me and the other with TA. After 15-20 mins swop. That way every child was seen by teacher/TA every lesson. This was the same in literacy too, and topic depending on what we were doing. It did cut out plenary which I/TA did in small groups so tht it was closely differentiated to their work/achievement that lesson.
    I feel it gave all children more high quality guided work at tables. Especially the l/a, who if expected to complete independent work, particularly in books, even by the end of the year would not work to the level I knew they were capable of due to poor concentration and other issues. I hope to implement a timetable as similar to this as possible in my new school, as I feel it gives children a good mix of independent and high quality guided work and allows for skill application. I imagine I will not use continuous provision in the true sense though but will direct non-teacher/TA groups to particular areas with a focus linked to the MA, or get them to complete a task in preparation for when I/TA work with them in 15-20 mins. I am still sorting this out as I do not want to go against the grain in my new school but have seen the benefits of giving each small group 15-20 minutes quality time as well as the opportunity to implement skills independently and in a play-based way.
  4. Hello

    I teach Year 2; however I only took over in Term 6 and will have a new class in September. I completed my final PGCE placement with Year 2 and did a lot of supply teaching whilst completing my Masters (a lot with Year 2) but I am an NQT so not sure if I'm experienced enough to advise you but I'm happy to share what I do.

    I am changing all of the topics for the coming academic year (all of them - I can't stand the QCA schemes of work). My school follows a skills-based curriculum revolving around termly topics (so 6 different topics a year) and I will therefore be teaching all of the relevant skills through the topics. However, mathematics will be taught more discretely; although I will make links with my topic where I can and incorporate mathematics skills in history/geography etc work.

    Using Literacy as an example...
    My topic for Term 1 is 'Dinosaurs' and the first Literacy unit I will be covering is 'Stories with familiar settings.' I have bought story books that revolve around dinosaurs with settings that are familiar to children (e.g. Dinosaur starts schools; The littlest dinosaur and the naughty rock; etc). I will plan each day of the first two weeks as follows: Mental/oral starter; Main Teaching (whole-class input); AfL strategies; Differentiated activities; and Plenary.

    The whole class will participate in every part of the lesson; however I work with a different group each lesson to support/extend them. Therefore, all children participate in the mental/oral starter and main teaching input and then each group are given a differentiated activity relevant to the main teaching input so that they can meet the Learning Objective for the lesson. I differentiate the activities in different ways, depending on the Learning Objective and Success Criteria for the lesson. For instance, I may differentiate with adult support, group group, pair work, by outcome, pitch (level) of the activity etc etc. I have 5 different Literacy (and Numeracy) groups so I work with a different group each day of the week. This enables me to assess the children more closely; as well as giving me the opportunity to support the children that need it and to extend the more able, for instance.

    I would argue that you need to work with every group of children in Literacy and Numeracy every week. And if you are lucky enough to have a TA then they need to be deployed effectively and I don't think they should always work with the same group of children. I would also argue that even the lowest attaining children in the class need to be given the opportunity, at least once a week, to work independently. This seems obvious, but in a lot of schools I have taught in as a supply teacher, weekly plans often suggest that these children are always supported by an adult. This is much the same for the highest attaining children who should not always work independently. I also strongly advocate talking for learning and therefore encourage a lot of peer-assessment and group discussion.

    Hope you enjoy teaching Year 2 - I really love them as a year group!
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I know and for the first time ever in my career I will do so, and what is more...she is an excellent one! I am blessed indeed this year!

    I agree entirely. I hate hearing teachers and TAs say 'Oh but they can't do anything by themselves' Errr yes they can if only you could be bothered to plan something for them. Every group should have the same proportion of independent and guided learning. If the teacher or TA is always with the lowest attaining group, then other groups miss out on guided teaching.
  6. Im really interested in this.
    How do you ensure successful completion of independent activities?
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Ethos in the classroom is everything. Children who want to learn and are provided with the means to do so, will.

    Also setting the expectation that children will do their best work and learning, whether or not their is an adult working with them.

    Planning the last part of the lesson to include feedback from the groups that have been working independently. (Which could just be telling us who won the board game, etc)
  8. I tend to work with a certain group and then have a quick wander around the other tables to ensure the rest of the class are on task and to give prompt verbal feedback to children who need it. Then I sit back with the group I am working with for that lesson.

    Peer-assessment and self-assessment work well too for keeping independent workers on task; especially sharing their work with each other for feedback. I also strongly agree with minnieminx that classroom ethos is central, as is planning activities that will interest the children (so no boring worksheets and lists of number sentences to complete!!).

    Promoting learner autonomy is also important - so in the first few weeks of September, I will ensure that I explain and model to my new class how to use all of the resources in the classroom. One of my classroom rules for the children is to try three things before they ask me (e.g. discuss with a friend, use a resource, try a different resource etc) and I find that giving children ownership of their work helps them to take more pride in what they do. They are doing it for themselves, not for me.
  9. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    Hmmm. Seems to be that everyone is moving away from CP in year 2. When I was there last year, I was more formal and linked things to the objectives, even if that was playing a board game for example for some of them.
  10. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I think you sort of have to do what suits you and what suits your school.
    Our school moved last Sept to having a fair bit of CP in year 1, we want to take some of that into year 2 this year. BUT children in year 2 do need to start to see school as a place to work hard and not just learn by playing, if that makes sense.

    I can't see me having many activities that are totally free from my input. But I do hope to have some that are open ended so children can take them from my starting point to wherever. Or that they can 'answer' in any form they choose.

    I might change my mind by Christmas though!
  11. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    Yeah, well when I was in there a year ago, I had it as mental /oral, input, differentiated activities, plenary. And within that, it may mean that some are playing number recognition games and others are recognising and ordering numbers. etc etc.

    Which has always been the way i've felt most comfortable teaching. However having been into this other year 2 class and seen a lot of them having cp, I was so confused as to how you'd fit in the curriculum and move the majority into level 2 by the end of the year, by working in that style!
  12. MelHug94

    MelHug94 New commenter

    Great advice, LadyF thanks! This is something I have been concerned about too (I am an NQT starting with my first Year 2 class in September) - your tips on how to set out an ethos which encourages the children to achieve when working independently is really helpful; I hope it works in practice in my classroom!
  13. mrsshorty

    mrsshorty New commenter

    Thank you so much for your reply, it has made me panic less and think that what I had thought would be best probably is best and that I can always alter it if necessary, if that makes sense!
    My year 1's are very able and my year 2's are very low so I think this approach will work best for both year groups moving on to more a formal approach by the end of the spring term/start of summer term to prepare them for year 3.
    Guided work also seems a good approach to be able to havea more personalised approach to each of them and for them to achieve best.
    Thanks again [​IMG]

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