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


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!


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!


All set for Year one!

After a super busy holidays, my classroom is finally ready for the year one children tomorrow.

After an amazing chat with Gregg, the author of the book ‘can I go and play now?’ I was eager to set up open ended provision for children. Children are imaginative, extremely creative and see things completely different to us adults. So why discourage this with closed activities and themes?

I have aimed to create a natural classroom, with open-ended play activities to encourage and value creativity and independence in play – whilst also meeting the objectives of the national curriculum!

I will be blogging about it throughout the year so I will keep you posted!

So this marks the first post. I am just going to post an insight into each area of provision I have created, with a bit of reasoning behind it….

My Notice board!

This has a few bits of useful information on such as a timetable and rota’s, along with some lovely motivational teacher gifts which I have previously received!

As a safety procedure it’s important to know the number of children in the class am and pm each day. I decided to link this into place value and maths. The children will count how many children are here in different ways and help write and discuss the amount too!

Maths talk is so important in building up understanding in mathematics, so having it as part of a routine is an easy way of children developing greater depth.

The maths area contains a range of resources that children can independently access.

There are challenges on the table tops for children to explore.

I have prepared the maths area as an assessment to see who can order numbers, recognise them and understand number bonds to 10.

As the children move on throughout year one, there will be written challenges based on maths mastery lessons and linked to the the White Rose maths schemes of work! This scheme has amazing ideas for developing understanding in maths.

I am really encouraging the fact that writing should be everywhere this year, and the children will be encouraged to use clipboards, create books and stories, write lists and letters in any area of provision linked to their own interests.

I have also created a stationery stop to influence children to pick up stationery and use it anywhere… as long at they tidy up too!!

I am super excited to have enough space in Year 1 to create a DT area. The children will independently set up their area with either junk materials or paints and create whatever they wish!

I am looking forward to displaying their artwork too and encouraging their creativity.

The construction area has developed over time and I am excited to enhance children’s creativity with loose parts, as well as blocks and Lego.

I have got some shelf space for children to display their models and further space on another unit for them to display their models too!

I know how frustrated children get when another child breaks their model, so hopefully this will help, as their model will be celebrated by the rest of the class before being destroyed!

The start of year one will begin with a home corner.

Children will relate to a familiar environment, but hopefully a more up levelled version!

I have added weighing scales, real life objects such as cornflake boxes and tin cans of soup. I have also added pasta and potatoes too! Which will link in well with our soup making later on in the half term.

I am eager to see how children play and respond to real life objects….

As part of a daily routine and another opportunity for maths talk, children will come in and vote for the book they would like to listen to at story time.

We will discuss the groups of more and less to begin with and move onto discussing ways of counting them linked to 2s, 5s and 10s.

This has been a tricky corner to think about.. I am starting off by encouraging fine motor skills and building up their development from EYFS.

As we move on into the year, this area will progress into investigations and research where iPads, books and resources will be used!

I strongly believe in writing being available in all areas of provision. So this time I have only considered a phonics area near the reading area.

I have tried to encourage reading by creating a cosy area for children to quietly read a book.

I have also added loose parts and wooden people to encourage children to creatively make up their own story in the small world area.

This week is a focus on getting to know the children and setting high expectations in provision!

Good luck to all of those going back…


Holidays are nearly coming to an end!

Well the holidays are nearly over!

I have been the most busiest this holiday and I am still working hard now, but all for future goals and achievements!

I hope everyone has had a lovely summer and if you’re a teacher – feel a little bit refreshed!

I purchased this teacher diary (classed as a lesson planner) on amazon …

and it has lovely motivational quotes on each page.

I also purchased this cute notebook from Wilkinson’s too!

Hopefully it will be used as a way of getting through the bumpy ride that teaching brings!

I am looking forward to sharing photos of my classroom on my next blog post! I have really focused on a curiosity approach with natural learning environments!




If you believe you can, or you believe you can’t, either way you’re right!

I am aiming to instil a positive mindset into my class this year!

Growth mindset for learning is so important. No matter how many fancy displays you have or creative themes and strategies for learning – if the children do not have that ‘can do’ attitude then what’s the point?

Children need to be intrinsically interested in what they are doing to learn well.

I have a few ideas in mind to do this and I will share classroom ideas shortly. But the best time to build on this growth mind set is within those first few weeks of teaching, when you are building in the rules and routines in the classroom.

Enjoy the rest of your summer holiday




Day1&2 Barcelona!

Well after a hard working year full of laughter, stress and hope… it’s great to sit back, relax and enjoy some sun!

After a count down for the girlie holiday it has finally arrived! We are spending a week in Barcelona, exploring and enjoying cocktails by the beach.

So far we have walked over 20 miles! So not very relaxing yet!

But we have seen some amazing views!

Delicious cocktails

And food!

Lots more to see tomorrow!






Writing writing writing!

Looking at my blog I’m in shock with the long break I have had from blogging!

It’s been a super busy month including leaving a school and clearing out to moving to a new school and meeting my new class!

If summer term isn’t busy enough, I’m also working behind the scenes typing up my masters dissertation (which I underestimated) this year!

I am also getting ready for a break away in Barcelona!

whilst I have a break from uni work and the normal routine on holiday, I may do a few travel blogs.

It’s so important to switch off at some point in the holidays and although I have some uni work to complete, I am not letting it take over the summer!

Make sure you spend some time with friends and family if you’re now on holiday.. and also make time to relax!

Have a lovely break and il be back at it soon!


Ps this is my current mood!😩

Tidy up time!!! Is every second for early years teachers…

It’s been a while since my last blog as I have been busy relaxing from all things teaching this holidays and grafting away at my masters dissertation…

But I just came across a great post that jogged my memory about the EYFS which I’m dying to share with everyone.

It’s quite easy to look around the early years classroom and think- what a mess! Go and tidy up your mess, why have you moved the play dough into the home corner and why are there bowls all over the book corner floor???

But actually if you zone into what children are actually doing and engaged in it’s pretty amazing.

A children will make connections using their imaginations in provision that will be more amazing than any adult could think of.

They may see the yellow play dough as a delicious bowl of porridge and place it in the home corner to cook and play with. They may have transferred bowls in the book corner to imitate a story they have been inspired by. The may have decided to pick up a boat from the water area to help build their bridge and lake in the construction area…

By telling children to put things back and instantly tidy up during their play will actually crush their creativity and stop their ideas of play from flowing.

My message is before you tell a child to tidy up, look around and observe what they are doing with the ‘mess’ you may be more amazed than annoyed….

After all the early years is messy and learning is messy too!!


Maths mastery in The early years!

What’s the best way to learn addition and subtraction other than with real life objects?!

My class have really enjoyed adding pieces of fruit, comparing and sorting different sized buttons, counting magic beans and even different shaped pasta!l this year.

Counting real life objects is a must in the early years before moving into abstract concrete objects just as cubes.

Children will then be able to problem solve by turning the ‘real life object’ from a problem into cubes to work out their answer.

My Reception class have spent a lot of time this year counting different amounts onto 10 frames and exploring the part whole model. This has significantly increased their understanding of number.

For instance the 10 frames have enabled children to realise double facts and number bonds.

I can simply say:

What can you tell me about this number?

The children will come up with a range of responses such as:

8 and 2 make 10

4 and 4 make 8

1 and 1 make 2

8 is more than 2

2 is less than 8

The part part whole model has also helped children with their number bonds and understanding.

The children can explain different ways of making numbers up to 10 and some children now can automatically say the facts and use them in different problems – they have mastered it!!!

Introducing 10 frames, real life objects and part part whole models can really embed the essentials needed for children to reach great success in maths in year 1 and beyond.

Completing maths mastery means you allow time for the children to practise and you continue to review what is needed despite the curriculum content.

Would you rather continue to embed and practise the skills or just move on with children only gaining little knowledge of it anyway?

I am completing a masters dissertation this year all about the impact it can have on children in the Early Year’s, so keep posted!

The NCETM and maths hub also have a range of great resources that you can use for free too.

The bbc number blocks are also great and I will be separately blogging about that too. Keep an eye out on these little people!