Group/Circle Time

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Beth2004, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Jun 27, 2005

    The kids (ages 6-12) at the after school program where I work get out of school on Thursday and starting Friday they'll be at the program with us all day. This will be my 7th summer at the program and I'm honestly not looking forward to it. We've had some pretty bad, loooong summers in the past because we've had a difficult time keeping the kids occupied from 8am until about 5pm. I'm determined to make this summer a better one especially since this summer there's less money for field trips and we've only got 3 planned for the entire summer. According to the schedule our bosses came up with we need to plan two group activities a day. For my morning group time I want to have a group meeting/circle time type of activity. I want to look at the calendar, discuss the lunch menu for the day, etc. I was thinking about reading aloud a book having to do with our current theme as well. What I'm hoping for is any other ideas that all of you may have for things I can do with this time. My group ranges from 6-8yrs old, but I have two 9yr olds and a 10yr old mixed in with them as well. Any ideas/suggestions are welcomed! Thanks! :)

    Bethany
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 27, 2005

    What is your schedule? Do you have art activities? How about outside games, a quiet game room, music and dance, PE? I think kids are pretty much calendared out by June- maybe just review the day's schedule. Plan some 'event' for every day= a scavenger hunt, crazy hat day, backwards day...(Just thinki8ng of activities we had when I was a camp counselor) I guess we'd need to know what the structure of your day is now to offer more suggestions.....
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I agree with czacza. The kids are ready to chill. So are the parents. Do you have enough games for them? Craft supplies? Have a puzzle area set up and ongoing.

    One fun thing is to have a fashion show out of recycled materials. The kids create their own 'fashions' and actually put on a show with someone introducing each model - "And now we have Maya who is wearing the latest industrial look called CanCan Design made from ....." Or have a talent show.

    Making a huge collage from various materials is also fun and creative. For bad weather days, make sure you have a beach ball for simple fun like speedball. Make paper airplanes and fly them, have a contest. Jump rope contest. Melt old crayons in cupcake papers in the sun. Make sand castings of nature - find shells, rocks, twigs, etc., and press them in sand/cement mixture in bottom of cut off milk containers (we used to do this at the beach). 4th of July patriotic theme - make t-shirts (add fabric medium to the acrylic paint). Go to Crayola.com for lots of art ideas.

    Anything with water would be fun. Even playing 'darts' with wet sponges on a cement wall outside. Make your own bubbles and make blown bubbles pictures.

    Maybe have a field day with various activities (relay races, egg in spoon race, sack race, over/under race with wet sponges, water balloon contest..). Make and fly kites.

    Since you have so few field trips, can you invite visitors? Is there a local puppetry group or theater group that would come? Would the local library send a librarian for story time?

    I'm tired just thinking about it all, but there is so much you could do!! Take your vitamins.
     
  5. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Jun 27, 2005

    Our schedule looks something like this....
    8:00-9:00: Arrival/Breakfast/Table-tops
    9:00-10:00: Group Time/Activity
    10:00-11:30: Outside Time/free play
    11:30-12:30: Wash hands/Lunch Time
    12:30-2:00: Team Game Time (trivial pursuit, relay races, kickball, etc)
    2:00-3:00: Group Time/Activity
    3:00-3:30: Wash hands/Snack Time
    3:30-5:00: Outside Time/free play
    5:00-6:00: Departure/Table-tops

    My plan for the calendar is just to go over the day's schedule and lunch menu. The only space we have open to us are three small cafeteria's and some outdoor space so it can be difficult, but we make it work. We allow the children plenty of "free play" time outside and in where they can play games, draw, color, dance, etc. We also need to provide structured activities during group time. We don't have a ton of art supplies and I don't make nearly enough to buy things all the time so that is mainly why I'm trying to plan something other than art for the morning group time. I also dont want to play a group game because they do that plenty throughout the day.
     
  6. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Jun 27, 2005

    bag skits... throw several random items in a lunch bag for each team, along with, maybe a quote or some random words... kids in teams have a specified amount of time to come up with a skit using those items. it's pretty funny to see what they come up with!

    Crazy Olympics, like mentioned above... include some backwards relays, suitcase relay (each team has a suitcase or bag with various articles of clothing, put on, run to other side, take off, etc)

    We did a cute team game at camp a few weeks ago (I know you weren't looking specifically for games, but perhaps this can be adapted)... index cards at one end equal to the number of kids on the team or the number of kids you have all together (with a small group, that's probably better)... first person goes to the end, and does whatever is on the card (pour a glass of water, open a bag of M&M's and share with your team, take off your shoes, play head, shoulders, knees, and toes, sing Jingle Bells, etc... be creative!)... then, goes back, hooks elbows with the next kid, and they both have to do what's on the next card... go back, get the next player, etc... it's really fun. :)
     
  7. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    Jun 27, 2005

    Read an exciting chapter book...they will look forward to group time. I tell my group this summer, Ok, at 3 oclock we will read two more chapters and they bug me all day- is it time to read more yet?

    do a morning message with Daily Oral Language...write a few sentences about what you will do that day, but put some mistakes in (forget to capitalize, use the wrong puntucation, simple spelling mistakes. My kids ask me from the time they arrive- can I fix the sentences today? pleeeaaase??? It's cool to see them that excited about grammar, which can be so boring sometimes ;)

    good Luck!
     
  8. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Jun 27, 2005

    Since you will have 2 nine year olds and a ten year old maybe they would like read to the class so they aren't bored with what you are doing.

    For some activities maybe you can do some cooking activities or if you don't have an access to a kitchen you can do some non-cooking activities like make fruit salad, decorate cookies, and so on.
     
  9. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Jun 28, 2005

    Group time is great, but stay away from the whole calendar thing. They are too old for that and know it all and will only get bored with it. That needs to be saved for childcare age children. By this time they are sick of school and ready for summer vacation so they want to have fun and not do anything "school" related. You've got some great suggestions above for fun activities that are not "school" based.

    Even though money for field trips is minimal, you can do things around the neighborhood, turn on the sprinkler outside, have a water fun day, etc. Look into what kinds of free things you can do. Also, I never budgeted for field trips because of the expense. I always had the parents pay the fees and split the cost of the bus between each family. A $10 trip would usually only cost about $15 with the bus added on. I also contracted with a bus company that gave us a discount during the summer because that is their slow time. Check into it a little more. There are many free things you can do that you may not know about. Is there anything within walkig distance? Do themed days (hat day, silly sock day, etc.).
     
  10. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    We get pretty decent deals from the bus company, but charging parents extra for field trips is not an option. The program services low income families and we wouldn't even get $10 or $15 from most of the parents. When I said calendar I meant just go over the schedule, "Ok, today is Tuesday June 28th, what does the calendar say is today's lunch? What's tomorrow's lunch? If you don't like tomorrow's lunch bring one from home! Here's what today's schedule looks like....." We also cannot just play games all day, some things have to be school related or at least some what educational because of our funding we receive from the DOE (we're a non-profit). I try to plan fun activities that are also educational, but like I said, with minimal materials it gets difficult. This is why I'm trying to use the morning "group time" for something other than activities that require art supplies or outdoor games because they have plenty of time for that throughout the day.
     
  11. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    IMHO, fun activities and games can equal educational. What my suggestions meant was to get them out of school mode (i.e. not sitting at desks doing "work"). You can be educational, but need to make it as fun as possible in the process. Everything you have gotten above can be fun AND educational as well. Even if it doesn't seem like it, it is.

    PS: still look into what free field trips you can do. You can also look into asking for sponsors for field trips (businesses and such).
     
  12. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I realize that things can be fun and educational, hence my saying, "I try to plan fun activities that are also educational, but like I said, with minimal materials it gets difficult." My problem is that we have group time twice a day. I do not want to do art projects, science experiments, cooking activities or anything requiring supplies for both of the periods because we just do not have the supplies. I also said that I dont want to play games or anything like that because they get a ton of free play and also team game time inside and out during the day. So, I decided to do something with the kids every morning during that time that does not require any art supplies or anything like that and that does not involve playing a game...i mean, maybe sometimes we'll play a game or do a project, but just not everyday because like I said, they do that plenty. I think what I'm probably going to do is read a chapter book during that time everyday.
     
  13. lowrie

    lowrie Companion

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    Jun 28, 2005

    I think this would be a great idea! You can accommodate all the ages this way and have continuity from day to day, start the reading with asking what has happened so far, etc. And, with all the outdoor stuff you will be doing some downtime listening to a chapter book will be great!

    Best of luck with this, hard to plan when funds are limited!
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    My favorite time to read is the afternoon, preferably after recess when they enjoy cooling down and relaxing. If you want to you could combine a novel study with the movie. I'm thinking of Because of Winn Dixie which would appeal to the age group. My class loved the book and I've heard the movie is very good.

    Something educational but fun would be to have the group write their own play or puppet show.
     
  15. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I was thinking about reading a book that has a good movie to go along with it that we could watch after we finish reading. Any other suggestions in addition to Because of Winn Dixie?
     
  16. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    How about Holes!
     
  17. MrsCase

    MrsCase Rookie

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    Additional Calendar ideas...

    If you want to take up a little more time with your calendar, something I like to do is go over the date/days of the week, weather, and sing a song/ The kids love being the "weather reporter" for the day, and we sing this song:

    Zippidy-doo-dah, Zippidy-Day
    Here we are on the [28th] day
    Plenty of counting, coming our way
    Zippidy-Doo-dah....zippidy-day!

    The kids like it a lot, and it gives them another way to understand the date and month.

    Best of luck!


     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe
     
  19. KIF

    KIF Companion

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    Jun 29, 2005

    Do you have whiteboards available (from your classroom maybe)? From my experience with that age group they love doing anything with those. Math problems, spelling words, rhyming words.

    Just trying to add more to this already fantastic posts for ideas that can be used anywhere!
     
  20. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    What about a scavenger hunt? This could take up quite a bit if time. Or you could have them work in groups, make a treasure map, hide a treasure and then the groups could switch maps and see which group can find the treasure fastest.

    A puppet show. Have them build the puppet theatre using big boxes (which you can get from stores), then make the puppets and perform. You could probably find scrips on the net. They could work on it as one large group or you could even have them break up in small groups and have each group work on their own. Then, each group can perform it for the others. This is something that could take up a good chunk of time and it would be fun and educational as it involves literacy.

    Simple science experiments is also another idea.
     

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