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Teaching timetable and organisation in Reception

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by princesstulip, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. princesstulip

    princesstulip New commenter

    I'm an NQT completely new to foundation stage (mostly trained in KS2) and have been teaching in reception in a one-form-entry primary since January.
    The weekly timetable and organisation in place when I started have been exactly the same for at least a couple of years.The nursery teacher (who is also FS co-ordinator and my mentor) is happy with the way it is.
    As I didn't know any better before, I was going to keep it all the same, even though it really doesn't suit me. Then I got into a conversation about it with some other FS NQTs I met briefly and realised that the stress I'm going through to cram everything in and the incredible amount of time I spend planning and making resources could be reduced if my week was organised differently. I also discovered from these other NQTs that some other restrictions I'm under - e.g. only ever being allowed to base CLL carpet sessions on a big book and only planning CLL focus sessions and child-initiated writing table activities to follow on from the big book carpet sessions - are not found at all schools.
    So what I would like is to hear how other reception teachers organise their teaching and planning and what the positive and negative implications are. If I can come up with a valid alternative and convince my mentor to let me try it, I might be able to improve things for myself and my class.
    Here is how my day looks currently:
    9.05-9.20 guided reading (1 group with child-initiated play for the rest)
    9.20-9.35 CLL carpet session (ALWAYS based on big book for the week)
    9.35 -9.55 CLL focus group (based on same big book - 1 ability group per day, so 5 differentiated activities to plan per week)
    10-10.15 PSRN focus group (again 1 ability group per day, so 5 differentiated activities to plan per week)
    10.15 - 11.20 observations
    11.30 - 11.50 PSRN carpet session
    (lunch)
    1.10-1.25 phonics carpet session
    1.30-3.00 KUW/CD focus activity (a different one each day so 5 to plan) & CI play
    3.05-3.20 story/ PSED circle time

    I also have to plan 5 different writing table activities each week based on the book of the week, which children are very rarely interested in so I waste hours thinking of ideas and making the resources for nothing!
    I should also point out I only have 1 TA and obviously 1 of us is always outside supervising/ teaching focus activity while other is inside doing the above, so this does impose further restrictions. But I'm sure many other reception classes are the same.
    One of the main problems I find is that because my carpet sessions are so controlled (as in every day I HAVE to have a CLL, PSRN & phonics session and they can't be used for anything else), I can never fit in any whole-class KUW or CD. So the teaching/modelling/discussion for these areas has to be rushed at the start of afternoon focus activities, when not all children want to be involved and those who do actually just want to get on with the activity. This results in our "topic" becoming almost redundant. There is plenty of provision based on the topic around the classroom and outdoors, but children don't appreciate it because they don't know anything and I have no time to go around talking to them about what the things mean and how they could use them!
    I'm SURE there must be better ways of doing things. The NQTs I spoke to gave some insight but not enough for my to go ahead with a new plan. So your ideas will be really appreciated!Thank you.


     
  2. princesstulip

    princesstulip New commenter

    I'm an NQT completely new to foundation stage (mostly trained in KS2) and have been teaching in reception in a one-form-entry primary since January.
    The weekly timetable and organisation in place when I started have been exactly the same for at least a couple of years.The nursery teacher (who is also FS co-ordinator and my mentor) is happy with the way it is.
    As I didn't know any better before, I was going to keep it all the same, even though it really doesn't suit me. Then I got into a conversation about it with some other FS NQTs I met briefly and realised that the stress I'm going through to cram everything in and the incredible amount of time I spend planning and making resources could be reduced if my week was organised differently. I also discovered from these other NQTs that some other restrictions I'm under - e.g. only ever being allowed to base CLL carpet sessions on a big book and only planning CLL focus sessions and child-initiated writing table activities to follow on from the big book carpet sessions - are not found at all schools.
    So what I would like is to hear how other reception teachers organise their teaching and planning and what the positive and negative implications are. If I can come up with a valid alternative and convince my mentor to let me try it, I might be able to improve things for myself and my class.
    Here is how my day looks currently:
    9.05-9.20 guided reading (1 group with child-initiated play for the rest)
    9.20-9.35 CLL carpet session (ALWAYS based on big book for the week)
    9.35 -9.55 CLL focus group (based on same big book - 1 ability group per day, so 5 differentiated activities to plan per week)
    10-10.15 PSRN focus group (again 1 ability group per day, so 5 differentiated activities to plan per week)
    10.15 - 11.20 observations
    11.30 - 11.50 PSRN carpet session
    (lunch)
    1.10-1.25 phonics carpet session
    1.30-3.00 KUW/CD focus activity (a different one each day so 5 to plan) & CI play
    3.05-3.20 story/ PSED circle time

    I also have to plan 5 different writing table activities each week based on the book of the week, which children are very rarely interested in so I waste hours thinking of ideas and making the resources for nothing!
    I should also point out I only have 1 TA and obviously 1 of us is always outside supervising/ teaching focus activity while other is inside doing the above, so this does impose further restrictions. But I'm sure many other reception classes are the same.
    One of the main problems I find is that because my carpet sessions are so controlled (as in every day I HAVE to have a CLL, PSRN & phonics session and they can't be used for anything else), I can never fit in any whole-class KUW or CD. So the teaching/modelling/discussion for these areas has to be rushed at the start of afternoon focus activities, when not all children want to be involved and those who do actually just want to get on with the activity. This results in our "topic" becoming almost redundant. There is plenty of provision based on the topic around the classroom and outdoors, but children don't appreciate it because they don't know anything and I have no time to go around talking to them about what the things mean and how they could use them!
    I'm SURE there must be better ways of doing things. The NQTs I spoke to gave some insight but not enough for my to go ahead with a new plan. So your ideas will be really appreciated!Thank you.


     
  3. Unfortunately I do not like our way of running things either. I never seem to get through 1 activity with all 30 children so the children do not get a focussed maths AND literacy session each week which bothers me a lot.
    Our day runs like this:
    9.05 -9.30 Guided Reading (we do a reading workshop so I do a guided reading group while the other groups do reading activities on a carousel, so each group do guided reading once, sometimes twice a week if my TA is here)
    Fruit
    10-11.30 Choosing + group focussed sessions (on either Literacy or Numeracy - this activity lasts for a week as it normally takes me a week to get through all the children. I have no idea how others manage to do Literacy AND Maths activity which each child a week and would love to know how - advice please!)
    11.30 Whole class phonics session
    12.10 Lunch
    1.20 - 1.40 Whole class maths session
    1.40-2.30 Choosing + group focussed sessions (normally finishing off from the morning. The children are normally exhausted and I never seem to get much out of them)
    2.30-3.00 PSED and story time
    I really don't feel that the children do enough focussed sessions with me in a small group. I find our whole class maths sessions a bit of a waste of time and would rather do maths in small ability groups
    I would love some advice please!
     
  4. WoW and I thought we crammed a lot into our day!!
    I know we haven't got the whole timetable thing completely 'cracked' yet, but we have been graded 'outstanding' by Ofsted and are a designated 'leading national school' so I hope this helps!!
    For a start we follow the Ruth Miskin phonics programme so do not need a separate session for guided reading each day. Like you I have one TA and our day goes like this:
    8.50 Fine motor skills in colour groups
    9.10 Welcome, timetable, weather etc
    9.15 Whole class Numeracy
    9.30 Small group numeracy activity (teacher led - 1 group a day) rest CIP
    9.45 A different small group numeracy activity (TA led - 1 group a day) rest CIP
    10.00 - 11.00 CIP, observations and rollling snack
    11.00 Show and tell (1 child a day on rota basis, issued to parents at start of term)
    11.15 Phonics (once a week this is replaced by a 'literacy' session with Big Book)
    12.00 Lunch
    1.10 Handwriting practise
    1.20 KUW/Creative whole class session (2x KUW, 2x Creative a week & 1 PSE Circle Time)
    1.35 KUW/Creative follow up small group activity (2 groups a day) rest CIP
    2.55 - 3.15 Storytime
    Generally this seems to work well although we do struggle to get observations done and sometimes we only manage one group in the afternoon, but we try and make sure the activities we plan don't take too long and can be done fairly independently.
    We also try to provide CIP activities that link directly to the PSRN/CLL/KUW/CRE objectives for the week but I agree that planning and resourcing all this takes ages!
    Would welcome any comments and suggestions.[​IMG]


     
  5. sillysausage21

    sillysausage21 New commenter

    Cooper can I ask how you do your handwriting session? Is this a whole class actvity? Just noticed it's a 10min slot. At the moment I seem to be dedicating a lot of time to the phonics/handwriting side of things. I do phonics input 9-9.20. Then Mon/Tues 3 groups each day will do a handwriting activity with myself/TA. Then Weds/Thurs the focus is a phonics activity, again 3 groups one day whilst others access CP.
     
  6. I have changed the way I do things every year and some things every term and I've been teaching 3 yrs. I think it is completely realistic to make changes based on your evaluations of both your practice and the cohort.
    8:55 - self register, news and prayers or whole school asembly
    after this (time changes but if assembly generally back by 9:30) CIP, I play with the children, observe, extend interests etc. + TA takes some children 1-1 to do some needs based activities (not always the same chn, activity only ever takes 5mins)
    10:15 - PSRN input
    10:30 Fruit and playtime
    10:50 - phonics and phonic/CLL based activities (phonics done in 4 groups, TA takes 2 and I take the other 2, the other groups complete independent activities, we swap groups each week)
    11:30 - CIP
    11:50 - story/singing/circle time
    12:00 - lunch time
    1:00 - Mon RE, Tue/Thu CLL (topic link), Wed CD Fri KUW
    1:20 - CIP + group activities PSRN, CLL, RE, etc I decide each week what will happen on what day but both me and TA work with groups during this time.
    2:40 - milk/story/singing
    3:05 -home.

     
  7. teacherof30

    teacherof30 New commenter

    We work like this.Last year it was very formal, input then 5 groups working on activities linked to the input. Now we have relaxed slightly and have 3 groups working on input and 2 groups choosing. We try to link our topic so that our KUW can often be taught through literacy to some extent which works well.

    8:50 Arrive/registration
    9:00 Literacy input
    9.20 Literacy Activities - 1 teacher led, 1 TA led, 1 independent, 2 groups choosing from literacy activities or CI
    9.45 Snack
    10.05 Worship
    10.30 Playtime
    10.50 Numeracy input
    11.05 Numeracy activities- 1 teacher led, 1 TA led others independent CI time / choosing numeracy activities
    11.30 CI up until lunch. I hear readers or go over morning's learning, or , gasp, play with the children
    12.00 Lunch
    1.00 Register
    1.10 - 1.30 Phonics, split across the cohort 1 phase 2, 1 phase 3, 1 phase 4

    Then Monday it is outside toys / CI
    Tuesday PE & RE
    Wednesday PSHE / CI
    Thursday PE / CI

    Then on a Friday we do a "Mix Up Day". We go to worship first with families. Then if we need to to we spend some time finishing off in our classes and have snack. Then from about 10/10.30 we mix the cohort up into 3 groups. One does ICT , one does Creative , one does Motor/Skills / Handwriting / KUW / something else. They rotate spending about 30 minutes on each thing. It's really nice as they mix up with other children who are not in their class.

    In the afternoon we have CI time / readers / finishing off as appropriate.
     
  8. teacherof30

    teacherof30 New commenter

    Sorry, I can never get this forum to format my posts properly :cool:
     
  9. LauraJeanD

    LauraJeanD New commenter

    It seems I'm a lot less formal than most.

    8:45 - Chn come in and self register and go straight into CP. I do register with a few helpers and they help me cont the dinner bands - nice time to do some obs on 1-1 counting etc as they count out the correct number of bands.

    9:15: carpet time to sing hello song and 10 minute CLL input

    9:25: CP with myself and LSA working with chn through their play on their individual targets. One of us will be running an activity that is differentiated according to who comes to the activity (which is based on interests). Anyone who doesn't visit the activity will be "mopped" up afterwards by us going to them and getting the objective met through the activity they are engaged in. We do not call chn to us at a table. Other adult will be observing and extending chn

    11:20: (Yes that's right, no play time - chn are always very engaged and have constant access to the outdoors so seems silly to send them all out) tidy up time ready for lunch. We sit on carpet to talk about how chn have been challenging themselves in play/talk about other things that have come up/show work/ look at photos taken that morning on the IWB/sing songs and various other things
    12:00: lunch

    1:00: Register and phonics

    1:20: CP and KUW/CD/etc activity running. Again, it isn't the end of the world if not all chn come to the activity.

    We find that this works well for us and our chn are making plenty of progress. We are really tuned in to each child's next steps and I find they are far more willing and immersed in their learning if it is linked to what they are doing immediately.
     
  10. I am a foundation stage leader with a through unit of three to five year olds and our whole philosophy is that we plan from the children's interests and the provision reflects this. We talk to the children and watch their learning using the continuous provision that is around the unit and engage with them. We offer focussed activities on the carpet - phonics, mathematical, handwriting and guided reading but these are at the beginning of the morning or at the end of a session. I hope this is helpful.
     
  11. princesstulip, you will see from the responses that different teachers have different approaches to the way they do things. Being NQT, I appreciate that you want to be experimental and try something else. Is there any reason why you can't? Are you compelled to do things the same as your colleague or are you BRAVE ENOUGH to try something else? If you feel your colleague's way is not what you want to pursue you need to stick your neck out, take a risk and go for broke .. as long as you are successful in achieving the outcomes required. You also need to have the confidence to argue your case if you do something different. Personally, I went for broke... was well-prepared, well-planned and knew what I was looking for .. and I questioned everything and everybody ... still do after many many years in EY. Not a popular stance, but for me, a necessary one. It's what you are prepared to give. Do you have the passion (and the time)?
     
  12. I have a class of 20 Nursery / Reception. Our daily timetable goes something like this (but is open to adaptation)
    8.50 Registration / Helper Heddiw
    9.00 Assembly
    9.15 (approx) Work out with the Sticky Kids (exercise to music)
    9.25 explain the morning
    9.30 Mon-Thurs - Mathematical Development
    starting with a whole class hot seating / counting exercise and then ability groups working with an adult. Those not working with an adult choosing from the Continuous Provision.
    10.15 Snack (sit down)
    10.25 - 10.45 Break
    10.45 - 12.00 Whole School Read Write inc (phonics)
    During this period Reception work in a small group for 20-25mins with an adult and then choose from Continuous Provision, although they may read with an adult.
    Nursery have a session of 'Time to Talk' or Letters and Sounds for about 20 minutes and can then choose, although they often carry on longer because they want to finish an activity.
    If we have all finished in time we will have a story before lunch.
    1.15 Reflection
    1.20 - 3.15
    Monday - Creative Development (Art)
    Tuesday - K&U (RE / Creative)
    Wednesday - Topic based activity + cooking
    Thursday - Music Express / Welsh / PE
    Friday is different because we have a whole school 'showing' assembly which can last until 9.45 - we then do Sticky Kids and Circle Time using the 'Lola' programme. After break we watch a Welsh educational programme and then pick up anything which needs finishing from the week.
    After lunch on Friday we do 'Plan Do Review' where we have at least one adult-initiated activity + cooking and then 4-5 other areas where they can choose to go. We join up with Years 1 & 2 for this so that the children have a chance to play together.
    During the week, during Reflection or spare moments we pick up readers, have class stories, send Cadi and Barnaby home and hear their diaries when they come back in, Habits of Mind, do WriteDance, topic planning, emergent writing etc.
    Within our areas of Continuous Provision the children have challenges to complete, but it is their responsibility to do them. If they manage to complete all the challenges in a half term they choose a prize from the treasure box. It gives a focus to the CP areas.
    If the children are involved and happy, we may not have an afternoon play but do pop one in (10 - 15) mins if it fits and/or we think they need a break.
    We don't have a rigid timetable of Focused Observations; we do them if we want to find something out but incorporate them into the pre-planned activities.
    We plan our writing, maths and creative activities around our topic.
    We don't plan more than a week ahead with topic based activities and also try to incorporate all the ideas the children come up with, which might mean forgoing one of our regular sessions to cover their ideas.
    Looking at all your other responses, this does seem quite relaxed but it seems to work.

     

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