circle time

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by Lisa H., Jun 24, 2004.

  1. Lisa H.

    Lisa H. Rookie

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    Jun 24, 2004

    I am hoping for a little advice. I have a class that consists of ages 3-5. I am having a really hard time trying to create a compromise for circle time. I really struggle to get the new, younger children to have any part of circle time, even just sitting. When they don't participate it causes the older children who enjoy circle, to not pay attention, and struggle to focus. I understand that the younger children, can't sit and focus on the same level, and that is fine. I try to explain about setting a good example, and that the younger children will slowly begin to join us. I have a harder time with the younger group, and I would like to keep it fun and interesting for all. I really don't want to take away at all from the children getting ready for Kindergarten. Any advice on anything for this wide range of learning levels, would be very well received!! Please... :) Thanks!
     
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  3. ida98annie99

    ida98annie99 Guest

    Jun 24, 2004

    childcareprovider

    tyr letting the yonger children play with puzzles or a color sheet while the others have circle time.
     
  4. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

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    Jun 25, 2004

    I am a preschool teacher at a Migrant Head Start Center. Right now, I have fifteen children in my class, but will soon be getting two more and then I will be at my maximum. My children are all Hispanic. About half are bilingual (English/Spanish) and the other half speaks anywhere from no English to a little bit of English. They are all older four year olds and five year old, so I do not have the age spread that you do. However, I do have a few children who have difficulty in "focusing" at circle time.

    My classroom is fairly large. I have a nice space for circle time. I use alphabet carpet squares that I set out on the outer edge of the circle for the children to sit on. I have assigned seats to avoid having two friends sitting together and playing/talking.

    In April, I went to the Ohio AEYC Conference. My first session was with Frank Leto. He is a professional musician who took a day-job in order to pay his bills. He happened to answer an ad for a music teacher at a Montessori school. That school trained him in their methods. He has CD's that I use every day at circle time. His music is calm, soothing, easy to learn, educational, and fun. Also, many of the songs have movement to them so that the children are not just sitting, sitting, sitting for the whole circle time. I have his Time for Music and Time for Music II. They are excellent! I usually choose one of his songs to start the circle time. Then I let the children choose another of his songs. Right now, they are always choosing the song, "Colors" where they get to stand up if they are wearing different colors. "Put your finger on it to show me that you found it." The song even tells them when to stand up and please sit down.

    I have found that my children listen better to Andy the Monkey better than they will to me. Andy is a monkey puppet that can make monkey noises. The children love it when I bring him out! They can't wait to tell Andy the letters and numbers. Also, they tell him all kinds of personal stories. He is a very helpful teaching tool that helps the children to listen.

    The public library has a nice selection of children's books with cassette tapes. The children listen better to those tapes than if I were to read the story aloud. (I'm not sure why that is??)

    I still have trouble with some children not listening. But, these strategies have helped with the situation. I hope you find something you can use!

    Good Luck!
     
  5. beckyeduk8er

    beckyeduk8er Comrade

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    Jun 28, 2004

    Hi Lisa,
    I have taught a three six mix group for last four years. What has worked for me (my group time last about 25 minutes and most days the whole group has no problem doing the whole thing) is to alternate a sitting activity with moving activity or a chance to be upfront. I use a lot of music in my classroom and highly recommend Dr. Jean Feldman’s CDs. There are the best investments I have made in the last five years teaching wise. (You can find her CD and many song lyrics on her website www.drjean.org )

    We start with the Pledge of Allegiance everyday. I have my helpers keep their jobs for a week and everyone has a job. The “Flag Holder” holds the flag in the front of the room and the “Pledge starter” starts saying the pledge as soon as everyone is standing respectfully. After the pledge we do our good morning song (either Hello Neighbor, or Shake a Hand both Dr. Jean Songs). These songs allow them to move around and great each other and both end with the words sit down. My class has assigned seats.

    After the Song we do calendar. We count the number of the date as a class and clap/stomp the pattern. They predict the pattern. I won’t show them if they are correct or not until everyone has on pretzel legs and a quiet month. I try to make that conditional between every activity and they seem to sit better. Then the “calendar helper” puts the number on the calendar. The “Date Reporter” comes up and tells the group the date and we echo it.

    After that we sing the Days of the Week Song. I made the days of the week (week days blue and weekends red) on paint sticks and I choose 7 students to each hold a day sign. They put the sign up as we sign their day. I choose another student to be the “ Days of the Week Pointer” The point to each child as they are suppose to hold up their sign. The days of the week song is to the Addams Family and on Dr. Jean’s CD. I only choose students who have been participating successfully in group time. They know I am watching to pick helpers they work hard to stay on task to be upfront.

    After the Days of the Week song we stand up all do the Macarena Months (Dr. Jean Song).

    After the Months Song we sing the weather song (Dr. Jean song) and I choose five student to hold the weather cards and a “weather song pointer.” Again only those participating successfully are eligible to hold a card. We sing the weather song and then the “Weather Watcher” looks out the window and reports the weather.

    I have taught my class a few signs in ASL like yes, no, please, thank you, stop, etc. I hold up the weather cards for the weather graph and have them sign yes or no without any talking. After we have selected the right weather card the “Weather Grapher” hangs it on the weather graph. We discuss the pattern if there is any or which type of weather we have had the most of.

    After that I start on whatever thematic teaching I am going to do or we might sing a few songs.

    By the end of group each child has been up front, some more then once and they feel successful and so do I.

    If you have any questions please let me know.
    Becky
     
  6. Lisa H.

    Lisa H. Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2004

    Thank You

    :angel: Thank you soo much for all of these answers, it is so nice to talk with people that understand, and are willing to share their advice and experiences.

    Becky: That website for Dr. Jean, had some great songs and I even ordered a CD. I am excited. I really love music, and I want to incorporate much more of it into my class. I am very grateful for the advice. My circle is very similar to the way that you describe yours, and I was aiming for 20-25 minutes. I also start with the pledge, and we have many of the same jobs that you mentioned, but i wanted to ask you how do you have assigned seats for the children at circle, because that is one of the things that i would like to do, and because your answers were similar to mine, i would love to know your method for seating. I have a few ideas, but nothing definate yet? I'd love it if you let me know!! Thanks again to all!! ~Lisa~
     
  7. beckyeduk8er

    beckyeduk8er Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2004

    Hi Lisa,
    I went to Wal-Mart and buy that clear vinyl that is $2.99 a yard. I used the industrial strength VELCRO (that can also be bought at Wal-Mart)to hold down the edges. Attach the scratchy side of the vinyl and that sticks to the carpet just fine. Then I printed out each child's name and taped it name side up (so the students could read their names) and place it where I want it. I could give those who needed a little extra space that space and put other a little bit closer. This is also very easy to move names as needed. I try and change mine once a month to see how my class is doing reading their names. I started doing this last year and the vinyl has held up real well I will need to replace the Velcro in about a month because our new cleaning person takes it up everyday to vacuum (even though it doesn't come up when the kids are there). I think I have spend less the $20 including the colored paper for their names.

    I put their names on about five different colors in the beginging of the year (making sure that each name that starts with D is on a different color). In January I cut it down to two colors and I just use one color in April.

    If I didn’t explain this well. Please let me know.
    Becky
     
  8. Jamal5000

    Jamal5000 New Member

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    Jul 1, 2004

    Dear Lisa H.

    The key to successful circle time comes from (1) very short duration (10-15 minutes) and (2) setting up/PRACTICING circle time procedures/routines at the beginning of the year.

    At this point in time, please try separating the younger children from the more attentive older ones by letting them work on a specific set of free-choice activities (i.e. puzzles, drawing, lacing, books relating to your themes, listening story media relating to your theme)that you can rotate every week or so.

    Remember, that circle time will never come under prestine control.

    Ice in Christ,
    Jamal5000 :love:
     
  9. Lisa H.

    Lisa H. Rookie

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    Jul 7, 2004

    THANKS for the replies, they are all great!! It is so great to have a place to ask for some ideas or advice, and actually have people care enough to respond. Thanks again.
    Becky, the advice is great i will be trying that. It is right along the lines of what i was thinking to begin with. I ordered the Dr. Jean cd, and it is great. The children have responded really well, and it is so easy to incorporate into any part of the day. Thanks again...Lisa
     
  10. Mr. Mike

    Mr. Mike Rookie

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    Jul 7, 2004

    i have one question. Why are 3 4 and 5 year olds in one class.
     
  11. Margo

    Margo Devotee

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    Jul 8, 2004

    When I taught Head Start it was 3, 4 and 5's. Perhaps this is Lisa's assignment as well.
     
  12. Teach3sToo

    Teach3sToo New Member

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    Oct 5, 2004

    I had a similar problem, and what worked for me was finding activities the children could do with me. We created a volcano (which also can be your science) on a large tray, we did weighing activities with the scale, and the children each got an object to weigh. I also play a lot of file folder games during group time, it introduces the topic, then they can play the game during choice/center time later. If you want to read a book, I tell the kids that we are going to read, if they are good listeners, they will get to play the game.
    I've just had better experience when they get to interact.
     
  13. Miss Landers

    Miss Landers Rookie

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    Oct 5, 2004

    I used to teach preschool and one of the things I did was to bring in a small nylon parachute in bright primary colors. The children would sit in a circle and hold onto the ends and every other activity involved a song we would sing and during key words they'd raise the parachute over their heads, move it from right to left or left to right. Nobody wanted to be left out, so they endured (lol) the story they normally wouldn't sit still for. Once in a while we had someone go astray, but we just let them wander away and back without fanfare and I never had a problem.

    Deb
     
  14. LucyLane

    LucyLane Rookie

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    Oct 5, 2004

    My class is mixed, 3's 4's and 5's. The way my assistant and I do circle time is to start with calendar, weather, story, a few songs and basic information sharing, by then the 3's have met their attention span limit, and my assistant take the youngers to another part of the classroom to do puzzles, or what have you. Then I can go a few more minutes with the older children, more indepth, etc. As the year goes by, more of the 3's are able to stay longer.
     
  15. hometeacher

    hometeacher Companion

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    Oct 6, 2004

    reply to mr mike
    212 3 4 5 6 years old child can blend very well. a child of three will take interest in what a five year old is doing,since it is far removed from his powers. all the older ones become heroes and teachers,and the tinies are their admirers.
     
  16. debbie

    debbie Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2004

    be dramatic and find something that engages all (a really great book or a really great fingerplay OR a mystery box always helps ..what is in the mystery box??
     
  17. hometeacher

    hometeacher Companion

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    Oct 14, 2004

    circle time fun blind fold who is this?
    everyone gets a turn.
     
  18. debbie

    debbie Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2004

    are you sure you wrote the right person? I didn't say anything about blind folds.
     
  19. hometeacher

    hometeacher Companion

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    Oct 14, 2004

    mis communication i just meant a good circle time blind folds over ones eyes the child has to guess who stands before them.
     
  20. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oct 15, 2004

    I find it difficult to read your posts sometimes, hometeacher. They are somewhat cryptic and lack punctuation, I assume for speed. But it does make it difficult to understand your point.
     
  21. hometeacher

    hometeacher Companion

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    Oct 15, 2004

    sorry .
     
  22. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Oct 15, 2004

    Persistance

    One thing to keep in mind: persistance pay off. It sounds like you are doing everything right, just keep sticking with it. I once had a mixed group like you do, and it is hard. Is there a way you can tell your boss politely that it isn't the most age appropriate practive to have such a mixed age group?
     
  23. beckyeduk8er

    beckyeduk8er Comrade

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    Oct 15, 2004

    Hello Frogs Pond,

    I just wanted to say that I have had both a three and youngh fours classes and 3-6 year old classes. I love the 3-6 becuase I think the younger children learn so much more from the older examples. I also saw a lot of my older children who were a little behind in skill practice it more becuase their were others on their level. I also usually have less behavior problems in a 3-6 mix becuase if it is an older child reminding them the are the leader because they are big often gets big changes and the younger ones copy the older ones.
    Becky
     
  24. Robin

    Robin Rookie

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    Oct 30, 2004

    I have 3, 4 and 5's also and pretty much follow what LucyLane does, works well. Keep circles as short as necessary. End successfully. Young children shouldn't be sitting in circle listening to teacher, or doing a structured activity for more than 15 minutes, tops! Kids learn by doing. Offer rich, planned experiences and let them get to it. To Mr. Mike: Before I did it, I thought combining 3's with 4's and 5's was going to be crazy, chaotic and innappropriate, but I love it! It's great! AND remember this: We don't live in a world where everyone is the same age. Putting all same age children into one room, is creating an artificial environment. Those of us babyboomers who grew up in large families will tell you how much we LEARNED from our older sibs, and what we could offer our younger sibs! It's classic Vygotsgy scaffolding! It really is a great way to teach kids, it just requires re thinking your strategies and trying new things until you find what works for you!
     

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