With objective led planning you would still group the children by ability based on assessment. Rather than having 'red group', 'blue group' etc for CLLD, PSRN etc. It allows you to group your children by their specific need in each area of learning. So, children who need more support in talk development and less in fine motor can get just that, rather than being in one ability group for both.
Once you have decided on your teaching focus you group your children in relation to their performance within that area
For each group of children you would make a statement of their current performance in that area 'where they are now'.
Then you plan a 'next step' for each group.
It is the next step that you then take into the children's play. I would not call groups of children to me. The success of objective led planning is based on the fact that you go to them.
When you go and play alongside children you get high levels of engagement.
If you come across a group of children of mixed ability - which you will, because children don't tend to play in ability groups! You just differentiate your questioning to suit the next steps objectives for the ability group of the child you are working with.
If I know that I have got a group of children who have a particular interest in something like Ben 10 then I might create a 'starter activity' that I know is going to grab their interest.
Once they have visited my activity and I have fulfilled my teaching objective then I wouldn't start calling other children over. The activity has fulfilled it's purpose in attracting the children that I was targeting. I would now take my objectives into other children's play.
How it can work…
In this Reception setting there is a teacher and a teaching assistant.
The teacher has a writing focus for her objective led planning.
She is going to get the children to write using their knowledge of phonics.
She has grouped all of the children by their phonic knowledge and given each group a 'next steps' statement.
She has not planned an activity.
This is what her planning could look like.
The T.A had got a PSRN focus for her objective led planning
She is working on recognition of 1 digit and 2 digit numbers
She wants the children to recognise, name and order numbers
She has planned a 'starter' activity.
Once interest has dwindled in her activity she will leave it and take the objectives into the environment to target groups and individual children.
What we are looking at in this photo is the TA who has whipped out a Tesco bingo set. She has not said that specific children have to come and work with her. She has used the lure of Tesco bingo to get their interest and it worked. There were too many children interested to start with! The adult could have created differentiated bingo cards that would correspond to the next steps objectives that had been planned or would differentiate her questioning depending on the individual children she was working with.
Notice behind the bingo session there are 2 boys engaging in a bit of deconstructed role play. They have chosen to be pirates and have a small pirate chest full of gold coins which they are hiding in the cave that they have created.
The teacher (in lovely lemon cardi) observes the boys in play and does not 'steam roller' in - clip board in hand, but instead rolls out HUGE sheet of paper onto the floor. This in itself gets the interest of other children within close proximity.
She then asks the role playing boys what is happening in their play. They are keen to tell her and she begins to draw parts of it out, creating a visual 'map' of their play.
She then models labelling her drawings. All of the time she is explaining to the children who have gathered what she is doing a then encouraging them to join in.
Lots do and begin to move between the role play and the paper, playing and then mapping their play. The teacher is supporting their learning on lots of levels but also fulfilling her writing objective differentiated to the ability level of the child she is working with.
The play takes another interesting shift when the 'map' of the role play actually becomes the source of play with the introduction of small world characters.
The play is now taking place in two places at once. A bit like a live game of Dungeons and Dragons!
The teacher ended up staying with this activity for a long time as there was lots of opportunity to meet her objectives with a variety of children as well as support them in other areas of their learning and complete a couple of observations!
The T.A on the other hand has worked with the first lot of 'bingo' children and then had enough interest to work with a second batch. Now she has moved into the environment with her objectives leaving the bingo on the table…
Where it is being used by children as part of their continuous provision.
One of the many advantages of this system of planning and teaching is that if I had a child in my bingo group that wasn't able to recognise and name numbers, then I could find them later in the house and count spoons, then in the garage and count cars, then in the workshop and count pom-poms.
Because I am doing it through their play I get high level engagement and they don't even know that I am doing it!
Honestly, you need to try it!
Thanks to Susan at St Augustine's Catholic Primary for the planning photos and Claire at St Thomas More Catholic Primary for the practice photos.