Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Circle Time - Basics



Circle time has been one of my MOST favourite parts of the day. This is when you get to connect personally with each child and share many stories, songs and experiences together. Here are important parts about circle time:

1. BUM minutes. This is a term I learned during my degree to describe the number of minutes a child is developmentally ready to stay seated and pay attention. For example, for a child who is 4 years old can developmentally sit for only four minutes in total. "OH MY!" is absolutely right. Look at what we expect from our children even though they are not developmentally ready. However, bum minutes can be increased through practice and teaching.


2. Because of bum minutes, you need to keep in mind to keep your "lesson" short and to the point. Use songs and finger plays to begin your circle. You can visit my posts about songs and finger plays for transitions here. Here are some more. 


Song - Make A Circle (Tune: Where is Thumbkin)


Make a circle, make a circle
Big and round, big and round
Everybody hold hands,
Everybody hold hands.
And sit right down.
Sit right down.


Song - It's Time for Circle Time (Tune: Farmer in the Dell)


It's time for circle time,
It's time for circle time.
Everybody hold hands,
It's time for circle time.


3. Your circle time needs to begin with something that keeps the children's attention going for the next little while. I always start with a song that is personal to every child and the best of songs to accomplish this task are the ones where you sing the child's name. Here is a song that is personal and another that does not use children's names (there will be many days you may not have enough time to sing a long song!)


Good Morning/Afternoon Welcome Song
Good morning, good morning,
Good morning to you.
Good morning, good morning,
And how do you do.
Your faces like sunshine,
You bring us good cheer.
So happy to see you,
So glad that you're here!


Good Morning/Afternoon Train Welcome Song


*This song I always did with a train whistle that I have or a hand puppet of a train conductor. Props work excellent with young children. Sing in the tune of "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain". The 'Choo Choo' part is when everyone pretends to pull the string of the engine's horn*





The good morning train is coming, how are you? Choo Choo!
The good morning train is coming, how are you? Choo Choo!
The good morning train is coming, the good morning train is coming, 
The good morning train is coming, how are you? Choo Choo!
And we say hello to Page, how are you? Choo Choo!
And we say hello to Nothy, how are you? Choo Choo!
And we say hello to Bobby, and we say hello to Gary
And we say hello to Shelly, how are you? Choo Choo!


*Carry on with different names. If everyone's name is done and you still have the tune left to finish, you can always sing "...say hello to everyone"*


4. Begin with songs that allow the children to have fun and get their bodies moving to release their sillies! "Old MacDonald", "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Johnny Hammers".


5. Read a fun story. Flap-books are great. Use different storytelling strategies. Puppets, clothesline, magnetic boards, felt boards, large books, books with props, or tell a story without the use of any book!


6. End circle with a few more songs. Or share stories/show and tell with each other. Finish the circle with a goodbye song.


Song - Goodbye Friends


Goodbye friends, Goodbye friends
Goodbye friends, we'll see you all next time.

10 comments:

  1. You know, circle time is a favourite of mine too. I don't know why we eliminate it as the children go into higher grades. Five minutes of "bum time" (great name) can build community, resolve arguments, focus children, and set a tone for the day that no other activity even begins to match.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're exactly right. When I took the Tribes workshop, we did everything in our community circle. We only met 4 times for the workshop but after the 2nd meeting, everyone felt very close to each other and we got a lot of activities accomplished. I think circle time should be present in every grade because it brings everyone together. Also, every time I took drama, we all did activities in a circle first and then moved into our mini-groups. We loved it and it helped us get along very well.

      Delete
  2. I am still trying to find out the best way to conduct circle time especially since I only just started teaching 2 months ago. And how to gain my children's joint attention especially when I teach in a special needs school. But the children sure love singing songs ((:

    ReplyDelete
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  6. Hello Paige!

    The song with the lyrics "your face is like sunshine" is precious. What tune do/you use??

    Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What is the tune to this song? I love it!


    Good Morning/Afternoon Welcome Song
    Good morning, good morning,
    Good morning to you.
    Good morning, good morning,
    And how do you do.
    Your faces like sunshine,
    You bring us good cheer.
    So happy to see you,
    So glad that you're here!

    ReplyDelete

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