The life of me

The life of An Early Years Classroom

I started my new chapter in a new school. New faces, new places and new year group! But my face may of looked a little bit like a shock horror when I walked through the gates to see a huge building site sitting in what was before the huge Reception classroom area!

I wondered how I was going to transform dusty blank walls and a few tables and chairs into a welcoming classroom for new pupils to walk into tomorrow… but of course I am pretty resilient and an hour in I was stuck in with moving furniture around. My brain filled with ideas and I began to forget about how panicked I was!

The staff are so welcoming which is great and my class are learning the rules and routines. It is definitely like hurding sheep in the first few weeks. Making a line and walking to lunch took 20 minutes but we will get there!

I have been inspired by many teachers on both Pinterest and Facebook this year as soo many ideas have been shared for early years classrooms. And I have created a classroom based on the children’s photographs and work rather than spending hours on a display made by and only appreciated by the teacher that put it up.

At the moment I only have half of my classroom as there is still a lot of building work going on…but I have made the most of as many areas of provision as possible and the outdoors is a huge space with a range of amazing learning to be fulfilled!

The children love the challenge area that’s displayed along some table tops:

here are some of my displays too!

Our displays are designed as working walls. As soon as children complete the work- hang it up for them to be proud of instead of spending a million years backing it all… Less workload too!

How are we all settling into the school life again?

#MissPinnock

The life of me

Ready for Autumn?

I love a good clear out and a tidy of the office before i’m back to long days and nights. Being in my final year of my MA in Education this year and starting a new year group and job – I know I will need to work super hard! But I always love a challenge. So  I thought I would start to prepare my mind today by having a deep clean and clutter in the office!

I love having a space to work, a quite place that is pretty relaxing too!

laptop

So whilst clearing out and making everything super tidy.. I stumbled across some cute baby socks and items! During University I sold a range of baby items on my own baby website and I have a small amount of stock left.

I have decided to sell these on ebay for around £1 each as it is currently listed for £3.49 for 3 socks – you can pick your own design and free delivery. So any mummy bloggers fancy a cute bargain take a look!

#MissPinnock

 

 

 

 

The life of me

How to survive your NQT year!

I thought I’d do a survival blog posts for any upcoming NQTs that are feeling a bit nervous at the moment for the year to come!

First of all I remember my NQT year like it was yesterday! I lost loads of weight, I was completely exhausted, I felt like I lived in a little teaching bubble as all that I could think of is work and I had days where I just cried!

But….

I come out stronger, inspired and so excited to not only start my second year but to start my masters too!

So here are some top tips that got me through the year. Hopefully it will help some of you NQTs.

1. Find something you enjoy and do it every week! Something to help you switch off. I loved going to the gym so that got me through my year for sure. Such a great stress relief without thinking of anything.

2. Book a holiday or short break every half term! This really kept me going as it was something to look forward to!

3. Never bring marking home. Just don’t bring any books home no matter what. Make sure you mark in school you will feel so much better!!

4. Go to that staff room at lunch time! Even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Talking to others and getting out of the room your in all day will make you feel better for sure.

5. Let go of the workload. Priorities what you need to get done straight away and leave the bits you don’t need to to urgently for another time. I’d always spend Saturday meeting friends, family and shopping and Sunday for a FEW hours only I’d take out some time to do planning.

6. Share the workload with your colleague. You can’t do it all so team work is key!

7. The holidays are your holidays so again don’t spend more than a day doing work in any of them to! The more refreshed you are the better.

8. Enjoy it, enjoy the moments you have with your class and the laughs and memories that can be made too.

I hope this helps some NQTS out there. Any more top tips? Feel free to comment.

#MissPinnock

The life of me

The Alchemist

I recently started to read this book and I’ve really become glued to it! I can relate to parts of it so much and it really gave me some inspiration to keep going and keep progressing.

After graduating and getting the job I really wanted at a lovely school, it’s easy to just stop there. Get comfortable, I know I can teacher year 1 well, I enjoy talking to my work colleagues and I am starting to balance the work life balance. So that’s fine let’s keep doing the same thing right? Then 20 years go by like a flash…

But this book made me realise. I shouldn’t sit still, I shouldn’t continue to do the same thing year after year. I needed to continue to take risks and progress to get to my end career goal. Hopefully my end career goal will unfold if you continue to read my blog posts over time!

So instead of sitting back, this book made me realise – go for it. Take a risk. Achieve your next step. After all if it all goes wrong you can go back? Back to the life you were living!

So here’s to September. I can’t say the grass is always greener but I know that it will help me to progress professionally and help my dreams grow in the direction I am dreaming of.

Follow your dreams

I also really believe that things happen for a reason. My first school has helped me to develop my skills so much. Ive come out with a great passion of Singapore Maths methods of teaching which has lead me to fulfil a masters degree which I am on the way to completion of too! My next school brings more hope and excitement as I shape the life of children in a new year group. A new exciting chapter and this book has actually helped me to realise.. my next challenge is moving towards my dreams!

Do you think everything happens for a reason?

This book really is a must read.

#MissPinnock

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And relax…

I think it’s so important for teachers to wind down in the holidays and relax without thinking of school.

This time last year I was laid on a beautiful beach in Jamaica and then I explored New York City for 3 weeks. That meant I went back to work feeling refreshed and ready to put energy into a new year.

This year has been less ambitious! I have spent a lot of time relaxing locally and going on weekend or day trips. But still no SCHOOL work has been done yet – and it shouldn’t need to be either!!

The workload is always there, so why start now?!

I think 6 weeks off should literally mean 6 weeks off! It’s definitely not sustainable to work 24/7 so if your currently planning and making resources stop! Enjoy your free time while you can because the next 10 months will be full of work☺️.

I recently visited London and attended a spa hotel for a few nights which was great for relaxing and sightseeing.

I also love music and concerts so I enjoyed going to see Sean Paul last night in concert!

Do the things you love whilst you can.

#MissPinnock

The life of me

The magic of 10 frames!

10 frames are a great resource for children gaining an understanding of number. I have used 10 frames in a range of ways and I plan on using them when I start my new role as a Reception teacher in September.

The pictures used for this blog have been taken from pinterest but I am also going to create my own for future blogs!

 

10 frames can encourage children’s understanding of numbers. For instance children can complete 10 frames by matching the right amount to a digit.

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I have completed this activity with children placing counters on or even finger painting the right amount on. Children could place stickers or glue something onto the 10 frames too.

 

10 frames can help children build up their number sense and identify number bonds.

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Children could roll a dice and place the amount on a 10 frame. For instance after rolling 5, 5 counters are placed on the 10 frame children could find the missing amount using a different colour counter to reach 10.

5 and 5 make 10.

4 and 6 make 10 and so on!

 

10 frames are great for introducing addition.

1-- fames

 

 

I also love using egg boxes as 10 frames and natural objects such as conkers to count with in autumn.

Give 10 frames a try at home or at school!

What are your thoughts?

 

#MissPinnock

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Teaching Math’s Mastery -An honest review of MNP

I have been teaching Maths Mastery using a Maths No Problem Scheme for 3 years – so here is my honest review of the approach!

The key emphasis of Maths Mastery is based on theorists such as Jerome Bruner and Vgotsky. Maths mastery heavily relies on children grasping understanding in maths through the Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract approach (more about this method of teaching will be outlined). Children are also engaged in a range of partner work and discussions throughout teaching this way. Children also stay together through a limited amount of differentiation – every child is meeting more or less the same objective. This may sound bizarre to those of you reading that do not know much about a maths mastery approach, however examples of this will help you to make sense of it!

 

Every Maths No Problem (MNP) lesson starts with an a problem. Known as the anchor task. I always present this on a smart board alongside the real object. For example:

Concrete-01

 

My friend Sarah has 4 apples. Sam and Lucy give her 2 more apples. How many pieces of fruit does Sarah have now?

 

How do you know?

Algonside this picture I would also present children with the same coloured apples in a basket as shown in the picture. This really helps the lower ability children to relate the real objects and hold and count these if they need to.

Children will then go to their tables and solve the problem with their learning partner using a range of different methods.

Maths No problem encourages the use of different methods when teaching maths and my Year 1 class were confident in using these methods:

 

10 frames.10 frames

first placing 4 apples on the 10 frame and then adding on 2 more to work out the answer.

 

 

The number line method

 

numberline

 

when children recognise that the addition is 4 + 2= they are able to use the number line method to show the jumps and find their answer.

using pictures are a method – they may draw the apples themselves on a whiteboard and count how many altogether.

whiteboard

using unifix cubes or counters to represent the apples. I also explain to children that the apples have turned into cubes. How can you solve the problem?

 

cubes

They may use whole and parts as a method. This method is a great way of gaining knowledge of number bonds. I will create more blog posts based on number bonds too!

 

numbebonds

Children may use a counting on method where they place the largest number in their head and count on too. Some children also drew a thought bubble to represent this.

After the anchor task. Children lead the conversation of different methods by feeding back to their peers. I then focused on one teaching method – based on the objective for that lesson. For instance – We have come up with so many methods but today’s method is… the numberline method! We are all going to use this method to work out additions.

 

Our Maths No Problem friends help us too by giving us a ‘lets learn’ teaching step. This clarifies and reduced any misconceptions that children may have.

Here is a multiplication example of an in focus task which then leads onto lets learn:

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After the children are confident in knowing the focus of the math’s lesson for the day. Chidlren then practice the method with thier partner.

This is known as the guided practice. I really enjoy this part of the lesson as it gives me the freedom to walk around and observe every partner and their ability to grasp a mathematical concept. At this point I can judge whether partners are able to work together to complete the task correctly or if they need more time and guidance before completing independent work.

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The only thing I have needed to be mindful of at this point is –  not to hold back those  that find it easier. I have often created extra challenges for those children that have finished first. I also think it is important to identify those children that need more practice straight away. I also ensure my teaching assistant stayed with those children and continued to practice whilst I moved the rest of the children onto the final part of the lesson.

The workbook pages!

Every child has their own workbook. Some teachers may say this is very old school but actually workbook pages really identify children that are 100% secure in what they have just learnt, those that are getting there and those that really struggle independently.

workbook

page

Those that struggle severely – stay away from the workbook pages as this means they are not ready for the abstract principle. Instead, those children continue using concrete objects. In this instance, they could complete a range of additions using cubes. So that they make sense of the links in numbers such as:

Concrete-Pictoral-Abstract-01

 

The more able learners may fly through the challenge. But that’s a great opportunity to challenge their understanding by encouraging them to use reasoning skiills. Children complete journalling which consists of them using a blank book to record thier explanations and understandings.

 

For instance I sometimes say:

 

Jay is absent today, can you write a letter to him explaining what we have done? Use an example.

 

Can you invent your own method?

 

 

 

As a further focus for year 1 in particular I find specific problems for children to read and complete. For instance

True or False

8 + 2 = 12

Questions like this mean that children do not only have to work out if it is correct or not, they then have to write reasons and explain how they know. This gives them the ability to reason and demonstrate their understanding of addition.

 

So basically I LOVE the maths mastery approach and ideas around it and I really enjoy teaching MNP. I am so excited to train for MNP for the Early Years and blog about that in September too!

A quick summary of the pro’s and con’s of MNP.

Pros

Planning set out for you – less workload for teachers.

Amazing resources.

Lessons always have same structure – children thoroughly enjoy this.

So many methods – gives children choice.

ALL children feel SUCCESS!

Great partner work and discussions.

 

Con’s

Takes YEAR 1 a lot of time to get use to.

A lot of training and perseverance – especially for wordy workbook pages.

Parents need help and support but once they know how – its great!

Some do critice the amount of challenge for more able children.

Is it appropriate for SEN children? A debatable case.

 

All in all I really cannot imagine teaching maths in any other way. Please share your thoughts. I will be creating more posts based on:

maths mastery challenge.

Journal work – with real examples.

10 frames

Whole and parts and how these can be used to support all ages with numberbonds.

 

if you have made it to the end of this page then THANK YOU!

let me know your thoughts –

#MissPinnock