The life of me

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

The life of me

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

The life of me

Displays and working walls

I like to start the year with a blank canvas so that children can take ownership of displays as I think they are more meaningful than just covering the walls with information.

This year I have created a learning journey. I have previously done this and it contributed to documenting the children’s progress throughout the year.

Every half term the children had a go at drawing themselves and writing their name or a caption. It’s amazing to see that the first page will be full of symbols and mark making and by the last page children are writing captions and drawing with more detail.

Here is my learning journey (its still in progress):

You can download the learning journey bunting here:

our learning journey

And the natural style name template can be downloaded for free here:

natural name template

The life of me

“Let children be pilots in their own play..”

This year I have embedded loose parts in most areas of my Reception class. I really believe that creativity is key for children’s future success.

Without any prompts my nephew used crates and tyres to make his own car. He found a book about cars and sat inside trying to read it.

Let children be pilots in their own play 

 

Gathering loose parts can be easy and free. Here are some top tips:

  • Ask family and friends! If anyone is having a clear out it’s worth asking them first.
  • Email or ring companies – electrical companies and building sites always have bits of scrap they are willing to donate. From wooden reels to pallets – there’s no harm in asking.
  • Check Facebook market place it is amazing for freebies that are often right on your doorstep.
  • Visit your local charity shops. I have found some lovely loose parts and role play items from them.
  • Visit a scrap store. I have a few amazing scrap stores near which offer services such as filling up a basket for £2! It is definitely worth a visit.
  • Send an email around school. Work colleagues may also have some random items that are useful I have already collected lots of amazing things!

You can download my loose parts wish list here:

loose parts wish list

#MissPinnock

The life of me

My new reception class in progress

After a strange year in year 1 I am back working in Reception! Although it’s an exciting journey, redesigning a classroom is hard work! I am so grateful for the hard work of both my amazing Mum and new teaching assistant! I had all of the images and ideas in my head but I knew without team work it would be almost impossible to get done in such little time. Just over 4 days of work on rainy days and  preparation and planning based on good Early Years practise has lead me to the stage I am at now with my classroom prep. It is not finished yet but I am feeling so much happier and I am excited to continue to build on the environment throughout the year.

So let’s start with the before photo….

11

I remember walking into the classroom not wanting to even think about it or look. How was I going to turn this into a classroom? What furniture do I have? Resources? It was all a bit of a blur but a good rest is definitely needed at the beginning of the holiday so that’s exactly what I did! Behind the scenes I relaxed and continued to read my favourite Early Years book, ‘Can I go and play now?’

The construction area!

Promoting open ended play is so important to me. Children are so creative, more creative than adults so why not encourage this through play? I aim to use recycled materials such as go kart tyres, reels and sticks to promote building and construction. I also found some amazing QR code posters linked to a range of books. I will be adding lots of freebies on my next blog this week so keep a look out!

4

The curiosity cube and small world area….

Curiosity cubes are a great way of children asking questions, promoting awe and wonder and developing communication and language skills. This cube will be changed weekly and I will allow children to draw and explain what they think is inside.

The small world area links so nicely into imagination. It is going to be filled with opened scrap resources and will encourage children to create their own stories and re-tell their favourite stories too. After sitting in this area I really thought –  I want to play in here! So fingers crossed the children like it too.3

2

The message centre

This area is inspired by the author Gregg Bottrill. Meeting and chatting to Gregg certainly encouraged further ideas for the Early Years. The message centre promotes symbols and encourages children to freely write and draw. I have added  different size paper, booklets, post it notes, phase 1 logo sheets, sound mats and I will also be adding stamps a range of writing books. I will continue to blog the progress so watch this space!

9

Snack & Chat

Isn’t it lovely when you can catch up with your friend over a cup of tea and a snack? I wanted to promote children’s independence skills. I want this area to encourage children to decide when they are hungry and thirsty but also to have the confidence to ask their friends to join them too. I have placed the ‘take a look’ shelf which will be full of the children’s work near the snack area so they can also proudly discuss their work too.

5

Working walls…

Personally, having a million bits of text and displays is both a sensory overload and an additional layer of wallpaper! Before sticking something up I always ask why. Why am I placing it there? How will it benefit the children? If the answer is that it looks ‘nice’ or SLT will like it then I don’t stick it up! Working walls work so much better so I have decided to leave them blank until the children are in and they can take ownership of it.

6

Home corner/ Deconstructed role play area

This area is a work in progress. I am starting off with familiarity for the children. They will already be able to relate to a home corner and the kind of these I have provided. However, I am going to model how to use the deconstructed roleplay (inspired by ABC does) so that soon enough this area will be filled with open ended items and boxes for them to create their own adventure with. Watch this space for more information and progress.

1

Junk modelling and painting area

Children usually love this area and I am so excited to see what they produce. I have created space for their finished models too! I love the art display idea which I was inspired by groups online and I can’t wait to peg some of the children’s art work onto it.

I am hoping the B & Q paint shades will inspire children to mix colours and experiment. I really value promoting children to think critically and problem solve so fingers crossed this inspires them to do so.

 

7

Playdough / Malleable area

This area promotes fine motor skills although many activities that I can set up in provision will also promote fine motor skills. Children love play dough and I am willing to create individual pots of play dough to still allow every child to have the opportunity to use it still. The whiteboard roll is an amazing purchase and I will add some pens to also promote children’s writing skills.

10

 

Finishing touches!

 

birthday picnic sign

I added some chalk board paint to the table to promote writing but also to cover up the awful, faded, red table too! I was a win win for the children and teacher! I will re edit this post as I am writing it at one in the morning so I apologise if I don’t make much sense!

My next blog will include FREE resources and more detail on specific areas too.

Feel free to comment or ask questions below and good luck for the next academic year.

#MissPinnock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The life of me

I’m still here!

I hope all of the blogging family are well in these uncertain times.

My upcoming plans!

We have all had to work together to overcome the challenges. I haven’t blogged for a long time so I just wanted to update everyone and get back to it! It’s been a busy few months producing online learning, reflecting on life and just an eye opener to how important human connection is. Family and friends are the most important people around.

I can excitedly announce that I will be teaching Reception again next year! I have sooo much to add to this blog. I thought it would be easier to put it all in a list:

Resources – phonics

The teaching of maths mastery EYFS

The teaching of maths mastery KS1

A new online video – Story time with Miss Pinnock

Provison in the early years

Provison in year 1

Post Covid activity ideas

I will be working behind the scenes producing lots of blogs and resources ready to publish weekly! Please bare with me and keep a look out.

Take care!

#MissPinnock

The life of me

Top tips for securing your first teaching job!

I have seen some really disheartened posts on Twitter lately linked to NQTs being unsuccessful during the interview process. Interviews are such a great learning curve and I’m a big believer of everything happens for a reason! So here’s my top 5 tips for securing your interview!

1. It all starts with a clear, exciting and persuasive personal statement. Create a structure linked to your experiences in training, your hobbies and personal interests that could be linked to the schools ethos. Most importantly, make sure you personalise it to the school! Although it’s hard during these times as you can’t physically visit the school, however, don’t be afraid to dig deeper by searching on the school website and confidently stating why you are wanting to work there. Every school is so different!

2. Gather some evidence! I’m a bit of a hoarder for paperwork but it can always have its benefits. I created my own portfolio based on my teaching experiences abroad, mentor comments from school based training , my own personal beliefs and ethos of teaching and learning and extracts from my blog. You can easily forget the highlights of great lessons you have planned and successfully delivered so capturing snapshots of these can help the interviewers get to know you better.

3. Revise simple questions. It sounds silly but when asked a question on the spot you can easily crumble – especially if you are feeling nervous! It’s always better to revise your answers. That way you have a clear structure that helps you to expand and answer the question properly. I advise that you revise these questions;

Tell me about yourself.

Why do you want to work at this school?

What made you want to become a teacher?

What are the core skills and qualities pupils look for in a teacher?

What is a teachers responsibility in keeping children safe?

Tell me about a behaviour management strategy you have used to help engage a group of learners?

What are some of the current issues in education?

Is there anything you’d like to ask us?

4. Smile! Be enthusiastic and try not to let nerves get in your way.

5. Dress smart- even it is just an online interview!

Good luck and if you don’t get your first interview. Keep trying! It is such a big learning curve, listen carefully to the advise given during feedback and that will help you moving forward.

You WILL and CAN get a teaching post. Stay positive and work hard for it.

#MissPinnock