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

A review of areas of provision! The Message centre

#MissPinnock’s message centre

After a year in Reception and developing the areas of provision, its always good to review the areas and reflect on what has worked well.

This year the children have enjoyed playing in the provision. I have stood back many of times and just watched how they have turned into independent learners. The resources, planning and provision ideas have sparked their curiosity, leading them to further challenge and work with their peers to move their learning on.

I have had parents explain how their child loves the classroom and counts down the days until they are back in school. They just can’t wait to ‘play!’ I truly believe hard work pays off. I have spent a long time planning and resourcing each area of provision alongside some amazing support too. So today, I am going to review the message centre. An idea taken from Greg Botrill, I completely changed my mindset and way of thinking about a ‘writing area.’ Greg inspired me to create magic around writing and messages. The children would traditionally hardly use the ‘writing area.’ They would spend ages drawing or colouring if they were in there. Boys would avoid it due to thinking they had to sit and write and that just sounded soooo boring! Especially to reluctant writers. Who would want to sit in a WRITING area?

I introduced the message centre right from the beginning of the year. It’s always been filled with different coloured paper, post it notes, envelopes, pencils, pens, highlighters, felt tips and of course… every so often we receive SECRET MESSAGES!

The children absolutely love finding a message. I have had messages from pirates, dragons, kings, queens and aliens. After a child finds a message the area is immediately flooded by children wanting to reply and write. I introduced secret symbols at the beginning of the year. Children were eager to write messages back despite not knowing all of the ‘phonemes.’ I did wonder how children would transfer from writing these symbols to writing words but as they became more confident with their phonics the children naturally started to write words instead!

I have to admit that the message centre is by far one of the most popular areas of provision and it is rarely ever empty. The shift of it being a ‘writing area’ to an amazing, magical message centre has certainly had a huge part to play. I would highly recommend purchasing Greg Botrill’s message centre course. You can find out more here:

Greg Bottrill on Messaging and the Message Centre – Early Years TV

**Please note I am not being paid in anyway for this post!**

Thank you for reading!

#MissPinnock

The life of me

A busy year for us all!

It’s been an extremely different year in education for everyone. So much blogging for me has taken a huge back seat. It’s been on the back of my mind but everything else just takes over. The work load and COVID as well as other unexpected dramas of life itself has all been a bit much this year but I am back!

How has your year been? I do feel that the children have been so resilient and have made good progress despite all of the disruption. I know this is definitely not the case for all school and for some it may have been the hardest way to engage parents and children in education.

I am hoping that now the only way is up! It’s nearly the summer holidays and we are all completely exhausted and ready to try and find some ‘norm’ for the summer. I can’t wait to have lots of sleep, catch up with family and friends and hopefully have some memorable days out too. I am also excited to be a bridesmaid this summer (fingers crossed)!

Let’s hope we can have a nice end to the year, for the children if not for anyone else.

I will be back blogging as normal soon…

Take care!

#MissPinnock

The life of me

Free home learning resource links

Here we are again with lockdown learning! I have created a list below of FREE resources you can use for home learning. I hope this helps. Good luck to all teachers and parents. We have done it before and we will certainly get through it again.

Phonics/ reading

Oxford Owl for School and Home

Epic | The Leading Digital Library for Kids | Unlimited Access to 40,000 of the Best Children’s Books & Learning Videos (getepic.com)

PhonicsPlay

Alphablocks – YouTube

Lockdown lessons for homeschooling – BBC Bitesize

Maths

White Rose Maths | Free Maths Teaching Resources | CPD Training

Primary video lessons | NCETM

Numberblocks – Series 1 | NCETM

PE/ exercise

Home – Cosmic Kids

BBC iPlayer – Andys Wild Workouts

Other useful links

Dough disco is great for fine motor skills.

cbeebies website

Why not try a new recipe?

Get your child involved in writing a shopping list, helping with the laundry, creating a calm chill out space in your home.

Enjoy!

#MissPinnock

The life of me

Happy New Year!

What a strange year it has been but we have all been resilient in some way. There has been many downs but it is important for us to remember the positives too.

I am wishing all of the blogging community a happy new year, full of hope and more happiness than ever.

2020 has certainly reminded me to be grateful for all that I have, all that I have achieved and to enjoy being with such loving family and friends.

I always set out new goals for a new year. This year I am eager to accomplish some very exciting personal and career linked goals.

I will continue to blog but expand by creating a Youtube channel. I aim to share activities, virtual lessons and information for parents and teachers too. I also aim to share the knowledge I have gained for Maths Mastery further and share resources I have created. Please keep a look out for future blog posts and links for Youtube!

I Wish you all the best for 2021.

#MissPinnock

The life of me

Developing young mathematicians

I love teaching mathematics in the early years. It’s hands on, consisting of lots of exploration of mathematical concepts through play, as well as teaching the foundation skills of maths too. I teach maths in 3 parts. This blog post will outline each part and the reasons why.

Teaching maths as part of a routine

Children learn concepts through repeition, this also helps them to develop a deeper understanding of a concept. This is why I have linked maths into our daily routines. The concepts of comparing amounts, counting and developoing childrens early number sense is all part of our classroom routine.

Heres how!

On a daily basis children vote for a story by placing one pebble next to the book they would like to read that day. Throughout the day the children have the opportunity to compare the amount and give reasons to how they know a certain book is the winning book for the day. This is so early to set up and a fun way to decide on a story too! It also introduces children to having a voice, the importance of a vote.

My class vote for a story station.

When doing the register we also discuss how many children are here today. We use 3 10 frames to draw the children’s faces and count. For instance, if a child is absent we discuss one less and if a child comes back from an appointment, for example we discuss the concept of one more. This is a great way of children grasping the counting principles and realising the last number of the set is the amount.

I also place children’s names on this table for name recognition every morning. For Spring term I will write a word / number on for children to read before placing their name in the basket.

Teaching short maths inputs

In order for children gain further mathematical skills I plan daily, active, whole class maths sessions. These sessions consist of practising concepts such as counting using objects or cubes, rote counting or developing number sense in other ways, as well as focusing on a specific skill for the day. For example, children may learn the names of shapes. The short input allows all children to learn these skills before exploring them through play in more depth. This works well alongside effective teaching through play too.

Taken from this website. Take a look for more fun EYFS activities! Outdoor Maths Activities EYFS – Outdoor Maths Ideas – Play of the Wild

Children learning to count accurately by developing all of the counting principles is essential in the early years. To ensure that all children are achieving this, early intervention is key. I ensure that all children have opportunities to count during our input and children are informally assessed based on the counting principles they have achieved. Most children can confidently count correctly at the time of year, however there is a small group of children that still need to concur this. I set up daily interventions for these children but counting is developed through fun games such as rolling a dice and stacking cubes to make a tower. The children love this game and are really competitive with their peers as the longest tower is the winner!

I follow the white rose maths planning as this has broken down the steps into simple, important steps in order for children to develop a deeper mathematical understanding. You can view the documents for free here and find out more too.

Reception SOL | White Rose Maths | Free Teaching Resources

Teaching maths through PLAY!

Lets save the best until last! I believe that this is the most important way of teaching maths in EYFS and even KS1 too. Children are actively exploring, predicting and asking questions linked to bigger mathematical concepts. Effective questioning, subject knowledge and playing alongside children can expand children’s understanding leading them to learning new concepts.

The construction area lenses itself to so many mathematical opportunities. Shape, space and measure opportunities can occur whilst children build and creatively make different models. I have used measurement with a ruler whilst creating a train track with a child using large pieces of paper. Whilst children are outside we have created obstacle courses and used positional language such as under and over. Making play dough consisted of children counting out cups of flour and salt and measuring amounts in order to follow the instructions. The children may choose to play fun games using a dice which helps them to subitise by instantly recogonsing the numbers on a dice.

I ensure that there are lots of open ended resources available which can be freely used in any area of provisions so that all children are given the opportunity to understand maths in different ways. I wouldn’t worry about recognising numbers at the beginning of the year, but as the year goes on these skills can be planned into the teacher inputs. The pre-skills are key and with these in place children will build great foundations.