Now it has been a long time since my last blog post. I have been really busy passing my NQT year and setting up for my second year in Reception. I have to say, this year is even better!
I do have a snow day today so I thought I really should do a quick update. I have updated my links to include my favourite Early Years Expert, Alistair Bryce-Clegg. His blog is definitely worth a visit, I have found so many creative ideas on there and I bought his book too.
I have also made some changes to my classroom this year. After reading this book I went for a deconstructed role play area and have not looked back. I now have a challenge area which is great for those times when you have just found that you need to address something such as number formation. I can quickly put something in the challenge area to develop this and the children enjoy using it. I will write more about this when I have some photos. I also have a woodwork area now. This was introduced just last week with the help of my partner in crime (Mrs Taylor). We are both very excited about this area as we are hoping it will develop the children’s ability to take and manage risks safely. More to follow…
Time to go and dig my car out!
Unlike many, I did not have the entire summer holidays to set up my classroom due to delays in building work. I had half a day to set up my classroom. Yes it was scary but I was also very lucky to have been given a new classroom and lots of new furniture to play around with.
My school is expanding to a 2-form entry and my classroom is part of the new reception unit. Our unit is two rooms with a connecting door so that we can facilitate a free flow environment. It’s great to be part of something new and I feel it’s a great opportunity to create an environment that works for the children and excites them. This doesn’t come overnight and is something that will be developed and changed as time goes on. I wanted to share with you some of my favourite pieces of furniture that arrived during my first week.
This is our book tent. It is a lovely enclosed space where the children can go to read and enjoy stories. I have a particular soft spot for it because my colleague and I spent one Saturday assembling it! The children needed some reminding at first that it was a quiet reading area and not a tunnel to run through and after a week we are starting to see this. The books go on the shelving on the outside, maximising the space inside.
This is another great piece of furniture, as you can see, from TTS. We are using it as a small world area at the moment and have put some dinosaurs in as a temporary measure. Once we have some more interests emerging from the children it will change. We have hung some ribbons from the holes in the top which look great and add another dimension to the area. It can also be used as an investigative area as it is a plastic tray so you could put messy things in like cornflour, foam and jelly. Under the tray there are some storage boxes which make resources easily accessible.
There are some other lovely areas in our unit and I will blog about those once we have developed them. It’s still early days but I can’t wait to get properly up and running. The children are staying for their first full day on Monday so we are still settling them in. The next big mission is to set up our outdoor area (that’s new too) whilst finishing the inside! There are not enough hours in the day!
The title briefly describes my latest works as a trainee teacher. It sounds more like an art student and believe me it feels like it too 🙂 I have been doing an assignment for art and DT which involved me making puppets and a painting. These products sprouted from the theme of oceans which is a good way of working and would work well with a class. I am quite pleased with my puppets however I wish I had thought of something other than painting. Somehow I am always drawn in by paint but then later realise I have not improved much since the last time I tried it!
The Egyptian tomb has been created collaboratively as a humanities assessment. We had to make a resource and so we decided to make an Ancient Egyptian role play area. It took a few hours to create but it was worth it as you can hopefully see in the pictures. We had real homemade hummus to try, Egyptian music, insence stick burning, a mummy inside the tomb (doll wrapped in bandages), and much more. There is also a small written paper to go with it but this is all about the resource so should be straightforward. Now this is my kind of assignment! I feel enthusiastic about this great resource we have made and so this is surely going to rub off when writing the essay.
So 1 essay and 2 exams to go until my 2nd year is done. How quickly it has flown!
This week I have really had the opportunity to fully understand what an effective provision area should look like and how it should engage children. This was done through a seminar/workshop in which provision areas were set up for us to use and then reflect upon. They were not examples of highly effective provision areas and therefore allowed us to suggest possible improvements. I found this very useful for me as it was ‘hands-on’ and I prefer that style of learning. However not everybody does- this is another aspect to address through teaching and the resources used in provision areas.
I have also looked at ‘enhanced provision areas’; this is when you change something in the area to move the children’s learning on.
Careful thought and planning must go into devising provision areas to ensure that the learner’s needs are met. Questions to consider: Are the resources of good quality? What are the children learning from this? What are the possibilities for adult-led activities? What are the possibilities for child-initiated activities?