This week on our teacher spotlight series we hear from Daisy Thomas (@misst2703) reception teacher, talking about her top lockdown tips and how they helped her get through lockdown and home-schooling!
'As an RQT I definitely did not imagine my first two years of teaching to turn out this way! However, I feel that one good thing that has come out of this is that it has made me think more creatively and outside the box with my teaching, which is never a bad thing!
For this lockdown, the whole school went straight in with 3 live lessons per day so this was much more full-on than the previous lockdown. In EYFS we opted to go for daily phonics, maths and story time and have found that this works well for us. At our school, the EYFS teachers are on rota to work in school with the key worker/vulnerable bubble so I also had to start teaching nursery children daily online too, which was completely new to me!
So, I thought I would share some tips and ideas that have worked well for us with 3/4/5 year olds!
Keep it snappy - we try to never have a live session for longer than 15-20 minutes. Sometimes they are shorter though and this is okay too, you need to trust your professional judgement with what is needed. At first I used to be constantly checking the time to make sure it was long enough, but now I've got into it I just go with what feels right for that session!
Keep it interactive - where the children are so young, if you do not keep it interactive then you just lose their interest. We often write a reminder on our class page beforehand to encourage them to bring resources with them to keep it practical. Some nice bits we have used are: pieces of pasta for addition, lego bricks for measuring, items from their home that start with the focus sound and bowls and spoons to stir the silly soup!
Sing, Sing, Sing! - are you really an EYFS teacher if you do not spend half of your inputs singing?! Singing lots of familiar songs with the children keeps that familiarity from their lessons in school. I really have not been blessed with a beautiful singing voice but where I can I use my speaker to play the backing music in the background, it really does help! I try and incorporate at least one learning song or nursery rhyme to start each session I teach.
4. Practical challenges - think about some simple and practical challenges which you can set for after the live session to consolidate, this works really well for maths especially! In addition to this, we set a weekly challenge board based on our topic or theme for the week for the children to choose from and complete. Lots of creative activities are usually very popular with both the children and parents!
Have some fun - the children get the most out of this kind of lesson! We recently had a ‘party day’ where the children wore party outfits and we completed fun games such as phonics/number musical statues, real or alien word musical bumps, Simon says and number bingo. I had such great feedback about these lessons from parents, they were definitely a big hit!
Finally, be kind to yourself! This is not the way of working that we signed up for or ever imagined, we are doing our best. It is not always going to be perfect and technology can be a nightmare and that is something we cannot control. Things don’t always go to plan but try not to take it to heart, you just have to laugh it off sometimes!
One thing is for sure, I am definitely going to appreciate teaching in person even more when we return!'
We really hope all of the teachers back in classrooms are adjusting back to normal life, and we'd love to hear any more of your stories and experiences, all you need to do is get in touch!