Circle time can be FUN and EXCITING but if learning isn’t going on why do it? What if I told you that circle time could involve a ton of learning while still being fun and exciting? Read on to see how to effectively use circle time in a preschool, kindergarten or first grade classroom.
Have A Routine
Something that makes kids feel safe and secure at school (or home) is having consistent routines set in place. I used to sub and one thing I know for sure is: Don’t mess with a kid’s routine! If I didn’t do things EXACTLY like the teacher did I was in for a rude awakening. The kids quickly taught me how to do it “their way”.
Circle time is no different than any other part of your day. Have a routine!
Here is an example of a structure that could work well:
- A welcome song to sing while arriving at the carpet. Think about these questions: How do you want them to come to the carpet? Do you want them silent or singing or doing something else? How do you want them to sit? Where do they turn their attention? Teach them exactly what you want!
- Calendar time with songs. What calendar skills are you planning to teach? Do you have songs or poems to help them learn the skills? Here are the skills I taught: days of the week and todays date, months of the year, counting how many day we’ve been in school, counting by 1’s and 10’s and noticing the weather. All of this took about 5 to 7 minutes and we had lots of songs to sing and up and down movements so they did not have to sit for long. I added math skills as the year went on that had to do with the number of the day (whichever date landed on the calendar).
- Introduction or review of a skill. This is when we worked on the alphabet, sound muncher and other phonics skills as the year progressed.
- A song that goes with the weekly theme. These are science or social studies based songs. I love using songs and poems for my weekly theme during circle time.
- Read a story related to the weekly theme! Then send them off to work or do centers and Reading Group.
This type of structure works well because there is a balance of movement and music which helps them learn.
Songs And Activities
Now that you have an idea for a circle time structure, what activities can you use? You probably have so many ideas. In case you need more ideas I will share some.
I love to teach the calendar with songs. In the resource below there is a song for the days of the week, another for the months of the year and for the number of days we’ve been in school and counting by 10’s and more. They learn skills and concepts quickly through music. Check out these circle time songs:
Or maybe you need some thematic songs that will teach science and social studies concepts.
When you begin teaching sight words there are songs for those as well.
I love having kids up and active during circle time because they learn better this way. Kids not only LOVE to move but they NEED to move. Whole group movement with academic skills a great way to combine education and movement! Here is an example:
If you are in need of a classroom management system that works well at circle time you can check out the blogpost that I linked below:
No matter what concepts you want to teach, find a song, poem or movement activity that can go with it and you will set your students up for success!
However, if you are searching for other routines to help you and your students have a successful year here are some more posts: