Ok I have been terrible at updating my blog. It has been a very busy year at school with lots of changes going on.
Anyway, enough of the excuses. I am combining two things I enjoy here- baking and Early Years. In Keighley we are very lucky to have Mike Armstrong, top baker at Sainsburys. He comes into schools and does workshops with children, demonstrating various baking techniques. We recently had a parent and child workshop led by Mike and this inspired us to bake with the children in class. The photo above shows the children’s wonderful loaves of bread. I have to say they are better than any bread loaves I have made at home. Bread is such a good way to get children baking. It is very hands on and the children learn about how the dough changes throughout the process. My children really enjoyed kneeding the bread, building up strength in their arms which will help in other areas of development!
The recipe: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10121/bread-in-four-easy-steps
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!
I have now done 2 weeks of my teaching practice and am feeling very tired. This has still not taken away the feeling of enjoyment though. During my first week I was still finding my feet and did not feel very confident. Nothing went wrong but I knew things could be improved. During my second week my confidence began to rise and I am feeling I am making progress. Most importantly the children are responding to me and they are making progress!
I am still having issues with paperwork as there is so much of it as a trainee. You have to ensure you have evidence for almost everything you do and this means paperwork!
Working in reception is fantastic as the activities you provide for the children are fun but they also help the children learn. I like the way that the curriculum is very creative and really hope that the National Curriculum change for KS1 and KS2 goes ahead with the shift towards a more foundation style.
The lessons I have been planning and teaching are slowly becoming available on http://www.primaryschoolteaching.co.uk/
Well my placement in a reception class has now begun. I am pleased to say I am happy so far with what I have seen and experienced. It will be challenging as the planning and teaching will be different from my last placement in KS1. I like a challenge so no problems there! I will start teaching in January for 5 weeks and the topic will be dinosaurs and dragons (sounds exciting!). I’m already searching for websites with dinosaur things on for children!
I have also decided to take on the task of making improvents to the outside area. This seems very fitting for me as I have had a placement in the North York Moors recently! (see an earlier blog about this) I have firstly planned activities for a small focus group everyday. Look out for future blogs for more about this.
I will not be making so many blogs over the next few weeks as I will be busy with essays and planning for after Christmas. I will put my planning and related resources onto http://www.primaryschoolteaching.co.uk/ as and when they are ready.
Just a quick note about Christmas resources- they are available on the above website, just type christmas into the search box.