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EYFS interview. Help! I'm useless!

(36 Posts)
Snowcherriesfromfrance Fri 06-Jun-14 15:31:55

I've posted in the staff room too but put here for more traffic - sorry! I'm just really nervous. Have been at home for 4 years and this is my first attempt to go back to work. I've no idea what I'm doing!!

Ive got an interview on Tuesday and it's quite vague but I will have the whole class for 30 minutes.

This is what I'm thinking (current topic is minibeasts)

Read the book "snail trail" with the children. I have a snail puppet too and some small props for the snail to go through as it does in the story.

Then some children will presumably have free choice which I'm not sure if Im supposed to resource?! I've planned some activities and I know their role play is bug themed atm. There are only 15 in the class btw. I've also got some plastic mini beasts for them to sort and match and some junk modelling stuff to make bug habitats.

Then I will have four children to do some focused work on the story. I was going to give them some card, glitter and glue to make their own snail trails and then ask them to sequence the events and stick them along their snail trails. The higher ability could add labels and the mainstream could add initial sounds. The bottom ability won't be able to do this so would just be lots of taking. We would look at the book and the props again as we did this.

Another group would work with the TA looking at some real snails and the tracks they make. I was going to put some card out for them to put the snails on so they could see for themselves. This leaves 7 children free flowing. I was going to ask the ta to focus on adjectives and descriptive language. The children have very poor vocabs and several do not speak in sentences so they need a lot of opportunities for speaking and listening.

Does this sound ok? I know the school and the children and the highest ability children are only just working at the expected level and there are only four of them, the school has a lot of SEN, looked after children and children with behavioural problems so I'm trying not to pitch it too high but also make it challenging and engaging.

I've actually made a plan for a week which shows the continuous provision and how the activities would progress and how I'd link it into numeracy and other curriculum areas.

Does it sound ok?! I know I won't have time to get through all the children in 30 minutes but it seems it is a case of setting it up and letting it run.

Am I barking up the wrong tree? Or is it ok? We could also make a list of some questions the children want to find out after looking at the snails. I did this with reception age ds and he asked 1) where do snails like to live? 2) do snails lay eggs? 3) can they have different patterns? 4) how long do they live for? 5) why do they make slime?
So I'm hoping for similar questions. If the ta doesn't want the snails she can do the snail trail activity. Or would it be better for me to have the snail group anyway?

Snowcherriesfromfrance Fri 06-Jun-14 15:34:08

Oooh and we could make snail obstacle courses and the write a story in the same style as snail trail.

Eebahgum Fri 06-Jun-14 16:12:16

Never taught early years but that sounds like a lovely lesson. Is this a teaching post? I'd suggest you find out about the things you're unsure about - are you expected to have all 15 children for 30 minutes or will some be doing small group/independent activities?

Snowcherriesfromfrance Fri 06-Jun-14 16:16:02

Teaching post.

Think if we take pictures of snails in our obstacle courses the children could then make their own books or a class book in the same style as Snail Trail which is about a snail going through a tunnel, over a bridge etc and then at the end you find the tunnel was a plant pot and the bridge was a stem etc.

They could add some lovely descriptive language. Language is a really sticking point even though they all have English as a first language. Some children are easily two years behind.

Bessymessy Fri 06-Jun-14 16:20:34

I'm not a teacher so can't offer any useful advice but you sound like an absolutely lovely teacher using imagination and resourcefulness to come up with an engaging lesson for all abilities. smile

Snowcherriesfromfrance Fri 06-Jun-14 20:37:59

Thank you.
I'm trying to get a balance between doing enough and not doing too much.

I'm not sure if they will want to see the activities finish in which case I won't have enough time to do all the above or if I can do a "mini plenary" and leave the children to it.

30 minutes isn't very long, especially given that the children are starting from a fairly low level so need a lot of input. Some of them weren't able to identify a snail when they looked a mini beast book (I volunteer at the school so know the children).

Eebahgum Fri 06-Jun-14 21:36:34

As I said, no experience with early years but I have got experience interviewing. Basically they're looking at how you interact with the children. Do you engage them? Try not to flap too much about content of the lesson because it doesn't matter half as much as your delivery. Good luck.

RussianBlu Fri 06-Jun-14 23:01:28

So if you are doing an adult focus and the TA is also doing some kind of adult focus who is interacting with the free flow children out of interest?

RussianBlu Fri 06-Jun-14 23:09:34

I would be surprised if you are expected to set up for the session as that should already be done but maybe you could have playdough to make smails, chalk outside to draw snails and their trails, a minibeast tally chark/tick off list? you could challenge the children to work with their friends to find x amount of snails. Don't spend too long on your intro session, they shouldn't be sitting for too long, esp if they are mainly low ability. Get them to assess their learning with a thumbs up/down at the end. Give them a clear learning intention at the beginning of the session/adult focus.

Snowcherriesfromfrance Fri 06-Jun-14 23:18:19

There are two TAs.
Due to the nature of the children there is a lot of support.

I liked those ideas thank you. Some of the outdoor ones are lovely, I just hope it doesn't rain! Although if it rains they might find more snails. I have captured some from our garden. They made a break for it last night and two are now somewhere in my living room!!

RussianBlu Fri 06-Jun-14 23:24:06

Leave magnifying glasses out for the children to investigate if any leaves/flowers have been eaten by the snails, get them to use wooden blocks to build houses for snails. It doesn't matter if it rains unless its really really bad, you can still do most of the activities. Is there a rain cover for the outdoor area? 3 adults for 15 children. Nice!!! Is it a full day state nursery?

Snowcherriesfromfrance Fri 06-Jun-14 23:44:01

It's a state reception class. There are a number of high needs children in the class in terms of behaviour and SEN.

The only problem is most of the outdoor area is sadly Tarmac. There aren't that many places for mini beasts to hide.

I'm not thinking I might:

Read the story about the snail trail.
Then have the following free choice activities:
Put out a load of materials for them to experiment making trails with -string, wool, glitter glues etc.
Have some plastic mini beasts for them to match and sort.
Have some magnifying glasses and a checklist for them to hunt mini beasts outside.
Have some junk modelling for them to make homes for minibeasts.
Have a story sack for the children to explore so they can set up the story and reenact it.
Possibly some puppets of snails to make so that they can use them in their junk modelling habitats?

Then I will have the focus group and we will examine the snails and do lots and lots of talking and introducing new vocab. I will make a list of words the children used to describe the snails and the more able can have a go at writing themselves on whiteboards. But really the activity will be about identifying the features of the snail, extending the vocab and speaking and listening.

Then I will return the children briefly for a mini plenary and we will talk about anything else we want to find out and what we found out and enjoyed.

There's so so much I want to do but realistically it's half an hour and I'm worried I will tie myself in knots trying to do too much.

Where I'm worried is with the free choice activities. How do you explain to children what the task is or don't you? I know it has to be child initiated but there has to be some guidance surely? Or does the TA do this? I can make signs but the fact is predominantly they can't read so it won't help. So if I put out lots of stuff to make snail trails with although it will be their choice how to do it if I don't tell them they are making snail trails won't it just be a big mess?

Snowcherriesfromfrance Fri 06-Jun-14 23:47:39

And I have myself have learnt some very interesting and slightly gross facts about snails.
Including the fact that they make their own body weight in snail poo overnight it would appear. Grim. Very grim.

I am slightly worried for the snail's well being, some of the more enthusiastic children are a bit heavy handed. It would not be good if a snail got crushed! Part of my LO will be to do with treating small creatures carefully so I plan to talk this through with my group at the start.

Snowcherriesfromfrance Fri 06-Jun-14 23:53:53

And I guess if time with my group we could label some snail pictures.

Actually I might do that over describing words as it fits in better with my LO.
So my higher ability could have a go at writing shell, feelers, eyes, mouth, foot etc
My middle ability could have a go at it too probably - the class it kind of split down the middle tbh. Half could have a go at writing and sounding out the words, the other half have no letter recognition at all.
I think I could do a group labelling with the lower ability.

Yes. This sounds like a good plan!

My brain is full of ideas but they aren't very well organised!

cosikitty Fri 06-Jun-14 23:55:51

Sounds like a great lesson, but would expect all that to take a lot longer than 30 minutes. Do you think they would expect you to draw the session to a conclusion? I don't think any of them would have completed the group tasks by the time your 30 minutes is up.

RussianBlu Sat 07-Jun-14 00:01:18

you will all remind the children throughout the session to make good choices with regards to the snails and their well being. I would introduce the free flow activities briefly after you have done your main into session by saying something like....'today I will be looking for children working in the indoor area to visit the creative area (or whatever you call it) and have a go at making snail puppets using materials like card and paper and using the tools like scissors and maskng tape, you might need to ask a friend to help you.... in the outdoor area I am looking for children to collect snails and look closely at their shells using a magnifying glass, what can you see? Are there any patterns? Tell your friends what you have discovered. Basically keep it fairly short and maybe introduce one indoor and one out door activity or possibly 2. Before leaving the carpet you could say 'have a think about where you would like to work and who you would like to work with then quietly get busy' . Not sure what the usual patter is but probably good to stick to it so the children don't get too confused. Anyway, just remember to keep it short.

Snowcherriesfromfrance Sat 07-Jun-14 00:10:21

I don't know - I wasn't sure whether to ring and ask on Monday because usually the children would be set off and not stopped after 30 minutes so it is a bit different for them to suddenly be interrupted in the middle of a session.

I could perhaps do a mini plenary with my group and then show on my planning how I would continue the activities if I had more time?

I really like those phrases Russian, thank you. I will commit them to memory. There will be all the usually free choice stuff out too but that won't need explaining so will just mention the additional activities I've planned.

There fact there are two TAs means that the children will have someone to ask for help of they need it and can't solve the problem between themselves.
There are three children who are waiting to be assessed but I'd say their understanding is around that of a child of 24 months. They cannot follow two step instructions and need reminders and visual prompts for one step instructions. They don't speak in sentences and need a lot of support.
At the other end there are some able children who need extending.
It's a really wide ability range.

RussianBlu Sat 07-Jun-14 00:18:06

Have they said you need to stop the whole class after 30 mins and bring them all back together? Isn't it likely that they will observe you do the intro session for say 10 mins max as a whole class then go off and do you adult focus with small groups and they would see you do your end with the focus group rather than with the whole class? It would be tricky to bring them all back to the carpet willingly after half an hour if you have so many low ability children I would have though.

It all sounds good.

The only thing you haven't mentioned is your learning objective, what is it? What area of the curriculum are you aiming to cover in this lesson? I know the actual learning that could take place spans all areas but what is your focus? Sequencing? Using descriptive language? Using positional language? Learning about snails? You need to be clear on that, and you need to make it clear to the children what they are learning. E.g "today we're going to be learning ...." in child speak. Then you need to keep repeating this throughout your activity. That will tick boxes, and make the learning explicit to the children.

youbethemummylion Sat 07-Jun-14 05:52:27

Not a teacher but they had snails in my sons reception class, they didnt last 5 mins before they were crushed, dropped, stood on. Would it be possible to put the snails in those little bug viewing boxes with a magnifying glass in the top. Just so little snaily will be protected.

Snowcherriesfromfrance Sat 07-Jun-14 07:36:42

The LO for my group activity would be To identify the parts of a snail.
It would be centred around building on vocabulary.
Does that sound ok?

The main class with the story would be To listen to a story and recall what happens.

I am a bit worried for my snail's safety now though. I'm going to ring the school and see what they have in terms of snail protection!! If they don't have much not sure what I will do. I can't afford to buy everything myself.

Other option would be to observe the snails in something like a tuff spot and maybe just take one out to carefully look at.
I don't want to be responsible for a snail massacre.

fedup0f Sat 07-Jun-14 08:38:53

Could you put the snails in little tupperware/ clear take away boxes with lids so the children can see them but they're protected from over enthusiastic cuddles? Maybe the TAs and you could get them out or let the children see you pitting them in the boxes so they can get a close up of the snails?

Also you could get the children who are less able with letters etc to do snail pics, or use snail pics that thry have to draw the shell to get them to do circles etc for formative writing (is it called that?).

Am not a geacher but your lesson idea sounds really lovely and engaging.

fedup0f Sat 07-Jun-14 08:39:27

Sorry about typos, on phone

HarrySnotter Sat 07-Jun-14 08:45:01

Sounds lovely. smile How about having your resources in a 'treasure' box too? Lots of luck, they'll be lucky to have you.

Snowcherriesfromfrance Sat 07-Jun-14 08:58:09

Oooo the formation of letters using the snail shells is great - building on fine motor skills.

I think I will have them in a box and let the children observe them. Then have one (unfortunate) snail out to handle. I really wanted them to be able to handle and see the snail as it's trying to give them as much exposure as possible so that they have a wider range of experiences. Otoh I don't want snail to get hurt. I'm quite fond of them and I hate small creatures getting hurt. If we sit down on the carpet though and use the biggest snail maybe that will reduce risk of it being squished or dropped. I was going to put it on some laminated coloured paper so children could see the trail it was leaving.

Will have to make some sort of special box for my story resources so the children are interested.
At least it's not a class of 30!

Thank you for all your suggestions and advice - keep them coming!

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