Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Circle Time (Jobs Part 1)

Everyone does circle time a little different but if you're like me it is one of your favorite times of the day.  There are opportunities for the children to lead and to follow, to encourage one another with applause and to help one another when an answer is elusive.  Circle time is a community meeting where everyone belongs and has a say.

This is my helper chart.  The blue pocket chart cost $1.00 at the dollar store and has 12 pockets.  I have 11 jobs that I made headings for.  We start at the top during morning circle and work our way down.  I use clothespins with each child's name written on them.  They move clockwise every day.  The children who do not have jobs (right now that is 2 because I have 13 students) are in what we call the waiting place (hanging at the bottom of the chart).  Because the jobs cycle every day then that means each child has a job 11 days in a row and then is in the waiting place for 2 days and then the cycle starts again. They all know the routine and are happy when it is their turn.  Some jobs are more coveted than others.

We start with the flag holder. The flag holder holds the flag straight and tall while the other children stand at attention.  When everyone is ready with hand on heart then the flag holder says "Ready Salute!" and leads the class in saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing My Country Tis of Thee.

The second job every morning is song leader.  That child comes up and chooses the first two songs out of the song pouch.  She/he then chooses which of the two songs they will help lead the class in.  They stand at the front of the room while the rest of the boys and girls remain seated unless it is a stand up type song. During December all the songs are replaced with holiday songs.  As we learn the songs I am able to add new ones that go with whatever theme we are learning.

I make the song cards myself by using cardstock and printing an appropriate picture on the front and the words to the song on the back and then laminate them.  That way anyone subbing for me always has many songs (right there on the circle time wall) and if the children ask for one specifically they can show the sub and she has the words right there.

The next job is the Elephant Question person.  That person gets to come up and pick the first Elephant Question.  The whole class helps me do a drum roll on their legs and then I announce (very dramatically)"The elephant question for today is..." and read whatever the question is.  The question might be something like "What did you have for breakfast?" or for instance, after we had fire prevention week the questions I added were "What do you do if you catch on fire?", "What number do you call if there is an emergency? What is an emergency?".  The children LOVE getting the elephant question.  I explain to them at the beginning of the year that elephants are supposed to have really good brains for remembering things and we are going to use our brains to remember things too.  The elephant question job is probably one of those most coveted jobs I spoke of.  Every child will have different ideas and everyone can be right.  his is also very encouraging because it encourages those shy, quiet children to speaks in front of their peers. 

Those are the first four jobs we do every morning (after our morning exercise). Look forward to how we incorporate more jobs tomorrow...

 I would love to hear about your circle time activities.

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