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Can I go and play now?!

If you are a teacher within the Early Years or KS1, there must have been a time when you have called a child to the table to complete some work with you and they have replied with – can I go and play now?

I was lucky enough to meet the amazing author, Greg Bottrill, who has written the book ‘Can I go and play now?’ Listening to part of his talk was extremely inspiring and linked to all of the reasons and values of why I became a Primary School Teacher.

Greg discussed the importance of inputs and hooks for children’s learning – ‘learning should be like poetry,’ with children’s interests woven into how we teach the curriculum.

I love Greg’s idea’s about the magic door. Greg’s suitcase is the planning, and he walks through the magic door into children’s adventures. He provides the skills children need within that adventure and then he lets them continue with their adventure.

No child wants to go on your adventure! Just like us, as adults we are more interested on going on our own ‘adventure.’

Everyone wants to go on a journey, but their own journey. Children learn so much more from going on their own adventures.

When having a discussion with Greg he pointed out a really interesting fact.

Every Roald Dahl books shows the importance of children. Children are portrayed as the ‘magical characters’ and the adults are less important. It gets you thinking right?

Greg also speaks about the ’emotional connection.’ I talk about this a lot in my blog. Children need that emotional connection with others.

Building that emotional connection with pupils is something I really ensure I do. Having a sense of humour, listening to the child, having empathy and showing care is all so important. As recently shown on my blog, I remember packing away all the things in my classroom and a child gave me this card. She waited patiently until I opened it and my eyes filled with tears as I read it. My mission was complete. I had built an emotional connection that will be remembered forever.

‘Children don’t learn from people they don’t like!’ – Rita Pierson

Children don’t always remember what you have taught them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Greg discusses the constrains of the curriculum demands, school assessment policy, Ofsted…that get in the way (known as the grey area).

He discusses the Yellow area – children’s curiosity, creativity, the skills needed for the unpredictable jobs and future ahead.

Unfortunately this yellow area often gets covered by the grey area.

Greg also talks about the emotional connection known as the black area. Emotional connection in learning and through building positive relationships. Children sense the energy of a teacher and the enthusiasm. Throughout my year of teaching Reception every few minutes a child is proudly showing me a model. I constantly hear:

Miss Pinnock come into my castle or would you like some tea over here? Come to my party , its about to start – I will give you cake!

After talking to Greg I have realised that the children are inviting me into their magical world. Their own adventures linked to their interests and that’s the moment I can use my skills, to get down to their level and provide them with further skills before letting them continue in their magical world.

Children are magical. Children see things completely different to us. They are magic and learning needs to be magic – not like robots. -Greg Bottrill

To enhance the learning in maths this week I have planned a shape hunt that consists of 2D and 3D shapes. Letting children move away from the ‘focus table’ and explore their surroundings by searching for shapes in the environment brought so much creativity, curiosity and interests. Children found shapes in objects I would have never even seen as an adult. As we grow our imaginations get squeezed out of us but a child see’s the world in a completely different way.

This activity meant that all children were engaged and learned the skills needed to name each shape – 2D and 3D. A child picked up his shape hunt sheet at the end and said – “Can I bring it home?” And I never heard the words.. ‘Can I go and play now?’ Why? Because to them they were playing and playing was valued!

Greg is such an inspirational person. He has lots of talks and visits to offer schools.

Take a look at his blog for more details:

Can I go and play now

As always let me know what you think!

#MissPinnock

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Every kid needs a champion

This week I went on some maths lead training and mindset was linked into the topic.

They played the video by Rita on TedTalks and although I have watched it a few times before I would watch it again and again.

It saddens me to see teachers who teach but don’t show love for the pupils.

having respect and listening to children is so important.

I remember being at school , I must have been in year 3 or something and I had the most miserable teacher. She was old, mumbled a load of stuff under her breath and never smiled. I always wondered why she was a teacher. I even thought

Do you even like children?

But of course I never asked her this!

I remember a visitor at a training session shared a quote with us

Children won’t always remember what you have taught them but they will never forget how you made them feel.

This is so true! I respect every single one of my pupils. I will smile and say good morning to every single one even on the days I am exhausted and can’t wait for the holidays. I will apologise if I make a mistake and model good behaviour.

Rita clearly explains the reasons why teachers play such an important part of a child’s life. You can make a huge difference and I always finish watching it with a tear in my eyes.

https://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion/up-next

Rita is a great inspiration for all and has made a huge impact on so many educators. I inspire to be like her one day. Rest in peace💕

Let me know your thoughts.

#MissPinnock

Spellings!

Spellings always seem a bit of a boring session when teaching but there are ways of making it more fun!

Tricky words

I often use these tricky words songs on YouTube. They are a great fun way of children learning how to spell lots of tricky words.

Beware they will get stuck in your head for days!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TvMyssfAUx0&feature=youtu.be

Spelling Shed

If your school can invest in this then they really should! Spelling shed is great for practising spellings through fun games that are played online. All children are given a unique username and password so they can access it from home too!

You can assign spellings for your class and they will learn them through the games on spelling shed. I often have a group of children practising spellings whilst me and my TA teach a group of children.

How do you teach spelling?

#MissPinnock

Simple activities are sometimes the best!

My class loved entering the classroom this week and seeing a selection of Christmas books, a Christmas tree and advent calendars too.

I created an activity of wrapping boxes for Xmas presents and they absolutely loved it! The children dressed up like elves and wrapped the presents carefully. It also linked into the English lessons of using the language of first, next, then and finally!

I found this idea on an Instagram page so I tweaked it to fit our class puppet Gertrude. A simple assessment of finding out who can write their numbers and letters the write way around. It’s been a huge focus this week as some children are still finding it tricky.

Check out the link of this resource and download it for free on my resources page on Sunday!

I was amazed at how many children chose to sit and do this activity!

Dojo points definitely helped.. some children received 10.

The children have also been busy creating repeated patterns and using an iPad to capture it. The use of technology is great in provision. I often use them when the children build models too!

Just a few more weeks of the festive fun, we can do this!

#MissPinnock

Anything is possible!

When I first started this blog I was just starting my Masters in Education. What a journey it has been! Stressful days, laughs in lectures and I sometimes sat and questioned myself! The work load of teaching as a full time teacher is demanding in itself, but adding a masters degree in the mix is hard to describe!

I’ve definitely had to make sacrifices. Spend weekends in the library at times. Sometimes I’ve felt drained as if I’ve hit the wall… but it had been an amazing and rewarding journey!

I did it!!! 3 years of strict(ish) time management and typing until I’m blue in the face. 🤣

My key message is aim high!

Anything is possible when you put your mind to it. I have learned so much through this degree and it has helped me gain many opportunities.

If you have a goal or even a dream job that you keep holding off. Just do it. Life’s too short to say hmm I should of…

Just go for it as you never know where it might take you!

Ooh how can I miss this video clip out!🤣

#MissPinnock

Teaching phonics

The teaching of phonics can be done in so many ways!

Here are my top tips on what has worked well for the classes I’ve taught.

Partner work

I always have parts of my lesson with children learning / consolidating sounds with a partner.

We play a range of phonics games with a partner such as roll and read and bingo and they love working together to read and play the games.

A great activity children seem to love is one I use with a timer.

All you need to do is create a grid of words (up to you how many words you would like children to read) and then children using a lollipop stick with their partner to take in turns to read the words down and then across the page.

The winning partners are the ones that manage to do it before the end of the timer. So simple and easy to prep yet the children love it!

Always consolidating

Some children need to see the words or sounds up 40 times before they are able to remember it. Consolidating sounds and reading words you have previously read is key. I read and spell 3 previously learnt words with my class and 3 words with the new sound in every day to help embed them.

High frequency words are also important to practise throughout the week. Each day we read 3 high frequency words- discussing why they are tricky words and then I spend Fridays practising spelling the words too.

Frequent assessment to inform planning

Assessing the children regularly helps to gain a real understanding of the sounds they have remembered. That way you can use this to reteach or introduce new sounds that are needed to meet the needs of the children.

Routine

My phonics lessons have the same routine each day so that children are aware of the activities, what’s coming next and what we will be doing. The use of whiteboards and pens are great for phonics and works well too. I often use these at the beginning of the lesson for spelling before moving onto games and writing/ reading.

Self assessment

I always think it’s a great idea to get the children to self correct their writing band spelling as soon as we have don’t them. Instant feedback is effective and enables the children to see their mistakes and find out how to improve instantly too!

After spelling a word the children tick each sound and check alongside my writing. We repeat this for writing sentences too.

Continuous provision in year 1

It’s the first time I have carried out continuous provision throughout the day every day in year 1 and I have to say it’s great!

It has allowed time for children to get the scaffolding and differentiation needed to meet their needs whilst the rest of the children are working at their level with carefully challenged enhancements and play opportunities.

I am so glad that I purchased open ended scrap resources for play from scrap magic and scrap store. This has helped children to develop their own creativity and ideas whilst i’ve been in the background adding further suggestions when needed to further their learning.

The children have really enjoyed creating and building their own castles in the small world as part of our castle topics.

They also create their own stories and add enhancements of their own to our castle role play. The children have created recipes, magic spells and menus linked to their own interests.

Play is definitely valuable in year 1, it’s just about getting the environment and enhancements to a good level for the children! Purposeful play can certainly be created without an an adult having to constantly stay in provision with the children too!

Let me know your thoughts.

#MissPinnock

Continuous provision in year 1

It’s the first time I have carried out continuous provision throughout the day every day in year 1 and I have to say it’s great!

It has allowed time for children to get the scaffolding and differentiation needed to meet their needs whilst the rest of the children are working at their level with carefully challenged enhancements and play opportunities.

I am so glad that I purchased open ended scrap resources for play from scrap magic and scrap store. This has helped children to develop their own creativity and ideas whilst i’ve been in the background adding further suggestions when needed to further their learning.

The children have really enjoyed creating and building their own castles in the small world as part of our castle topics.

They also create their own stories and add enhancements of their own to our castle role play. The children have created recipes, magic spells and menus linked to their own interests.

Play is definitely valuable in year 1, it’s just about getting the environment and enhancements to a good level for the children! Purposeful play can certainly be created without an an adult having to constantly stay in provision with the children too!

Let me know your thoughts.

#MissPinnock

Continuous provision in year 1

It’s the first time I have carried out continuous provision throughout the day every day in year 1 and I have to say it’s great!

It has allowed time for children to get the scaffolding and differentiation needed to meet their needs whilst the rest of the children are working at their level with carefully challenged enhancements and play opportunities.

I am so glad that I purchased open ended scrap resources for play from scrap magic and scrap store. This has helped children to develop their own creativity and ideas whilst i’ve been in the background adding further suggestions when needed to further their learning.

The children have really enjoyed creating and building their own castles in the small world as part of our castle topics.

They also create their own stories and add enhancements of their own to our castle role play. The children have created recipes, magic spells and menus linked to their own interests.

Play is definitely valuable in year 1, it’s just about getting the environment and enhancements to a good level for the children! Purposeful play can certainly be created without an an adult having to constantly stay in provision with the children too!

Let me know your thoughts.

#MissPinnock

Developing reading skills in year 1!

Teaching reading in year 1 is such a hard balance. Do I teach guided reading but get around 5% engagement from the children? Do I try to make my little year ones sit and read all at the same time? Do I try to squeeze in 2 or 3 readers at snack time!?

I have tried all sorts!! And I can imagine you have too. But this year I am (fingers crossed) finding a balance.

Having continuous provision in year 1 is a great way of creating time to read one to one with children whilst the rest of the class engage in appropriately challenged play activities. After all the best independent activity for children to engage in is play right?!

Independent activity in provision!

My teaching assistant and I currently read one to one with a child every week for this half term. The children are still transitioning from Reception and require time too. It is a great way to check reading books and records and find out if children need moving up on colour bands too.

As we move towards the end of the Autumn 2 term, I plan to create a whole class guided reading session. However, I do not like the traditional ‘everybody listen and read a page’ guided reading session.

By guided reading I mean whole class engagement.

I will provide children with a very important teacher stick (lollipop stick) they will work in pairs with a mixed ability partner in groups. The children will take in turns to read a page of a book each.

Image result for lollipop stick

The partner that is not reading will point to each word for their partner to read.That way every child has to maintain focus on the book. I always make the children feel very important by explaining that they are the teacher and they have to correct their partner if they make a mistake too!

These teaching strategies are similar to the read write inc program. It is a great way for me as the teacher and my teaching assistant to walk around the room and listen to children read pages of the book.

I will also create questions for children to read and answer with their partners when they get use to it too.

More blogs about these strategies will be out when I start to give it a go!

Image result for reading quote for kids

#MissPinnock

Vegetable fun in year 1!

It’s been a busy half term of settling in, rules and routines and getting to know my new class.

We are lucky enough to have a farm at school, so the children found a trial of vegetables last week…

and the book… Oliver’s vegetables!

We followed the trail and tasted lots of different vegetables.

We went to the farm to find the vegetables in the story…

I enhanced the provision by linking it to the story.

The children really love the challenges in different areas and enjoy earning dojo points for them too.

This week we have been busy making vegetable soup with the vegetables we’ve harvested at the farm.

We have invited parents in too, to taste our delicious soup!

The children have designed their own soup and planned the equipment we need.

Some vegetables have also come alive! The children have really enjoyed writing sentences linked to what the vegetables might say.

Dojo challenges linked to gaining dojo points are a great incentive for children to challenge themselves in provision.

In the phonics area I created a silly sentence activity sheet.

The children had to pick different words out to create a silly sentence.

The main skill here was to reinforce capital letters, full stops and finger spaces. The children love creating them too!

The children have enjoyed a range of independent tasks and it’s helped me to assess who has really understood what we are learning too.

Here the children had to cut out and read the words to sort them into different sounds. I have focused on the sounds we are currently reviewing in phonics.

Numicon is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of number bonds. The children have used the numicon and boards to find many different number bonds to 10!

Some children have also recorded them on the blank addition and equals sheets.

Keep a look out as I will be uploading provision sheets for you to download for free!

#MissPinnock

4 weeks on…rules and routines!

It is so important to establish rules and routines in the first half term of school. As I am in year 1 and having continuous provision (CP) within the curriculum, it has been crucial (but extremely hard work) to teach children how to look after resources and use them appropriately.

I can now see children tidying up the areas properly but most important effectively using the provision.

Child have used this area to practise writing sentence. They have problem solved by creating their own recipes and meals with their friends.

The small world area and construction areas provide open ended scrap resources. It has been great to see the children’s creativity as they design and create their own models and stories.

Children really do see things so different to how we as adults do, so their models have been pretty amazing and beyond what I could think of!

I have got to the point where I feel that I can teach small groups whilst the rest of the children are purposely learning through play.

Play is effective when it is at the right level, with activities children can access and also with some adult interaction!

We use class dojo points, this really helps as an incentive for children to stay focused and play purposely in all areas of provision. The best part is… its free to use too! Take a look by clicking the link.

More enhancements and posts of CP in Year 1 will continue!

#MissPinnock