Preschool circle time is when all the children sit together as a group in a circle. It usually takes place in the morning a little bit after short morning free play. Use circle time to introduce a topic, discuss social situations and connect as a group.
Circle time can vary from 15 to 30 minutes depending on the maturity of the children and their interest.
Have more activities than you can cover. Go over your lesson plans. Keep in mind the following questions: What is leading your lesson for today? What would you like the children to know by the end of circle time?
There are days that you might have a great circle planned but instead an incident occurred in class that needs to be addressed. Take the opportunity to teach the children valuable life lessons and turn your preschool circle time to circle T.I.M.E.
Circle time should include: Songs, games and movement. By keeping Multiple Intelligences Theory in mind, your will reach more children. For example:
1. Begin with a song about the letter B. (Music Smart)
2. Use a paper chart to brainstorm words that begin with B. (Picture Smart)
3. Trace the letter B in the air with your hand. (Body Smart)
4. Turn your body into the letter B. (Body Smart)
5. Give the children picture cards. They need to sort the pictures that begin with the letter B. For children who are almost reading, give the word on a card instead of the picture. (People Smart)
6. I instruct the children: "Turn to your partner and tell them your parents' names and something special that you like to do as a family." After a few minutes ask the children to face the circle again and ask partner A: "What did partner B share with you?"
Break up the kids for a few minutes by giving them a task to do in partners or small groups. Here are some examples:
1. Each small group is given a color (using colorful balls as visual aid is fantastic). I ask the children to find 10 items in the room that are the same color as their ball.
2. Popsicle Trick - An easy way to make sure that everyone is focused, listening and engaged. Write the name of each child on a popsicle stick and put them all in a jar. The child that has their name pulled out has a turn to talk, answer the question or contribute to the discussion.
3. Yarn Ball - Begin talking and hold the end of the yarn. Pass the yarn ball (while you still hold the end part) to a child that would like to contribute a thought or an idea. When the child is finished talking they hold a part of the yarn and pass the ball to the next child. By the end of circle time the classroom space looks like a beautiful spiderweb.
This technique encourages the children to participate since everyone wants to hold the yarn and be a part of the spiderweb. At the end we lift the web up high, which takes good team effort.
I always have these resources by my side during circle time. I personally prefer the Wall Chart Stand and paper but I know other teachers like using the erasable version. The Pocket Chart and Sentence Strips allow me to write the words clearly for the children who are ready to 'sight' read.
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