Circle time can be to most joyous or tedious time of your day. Sometimes it depends on the class while at other times it depends on my frame of mind. This year I have made a conscious effort to embrace circle time at the start of our day.
Here are 5 top reasons to embrace circle time!
Circle time is a time for connecting. It is my favorite time to hear about what is going on my my students lives! Our "teacher" persona is on for so much of the day. The reading teacher, the language arts teacher, the math teacher...you get the idea! This is why circle time is the most important time of the day. It allows my students to know I am interested in their lives in and outside of school. When I make these connections first thing in the morning, my students are more apt to go the extra mile in class.
Its show time! This is my time to be silly and over the top! I need to grab the attention of 19 little people for 15-20 minutes. I need to keep them engaged which means what I do needs to be engaging. "We are all in this together!" is our motto. Circle time belongs to us as a class. We sing, we dance, we talk, we move and yes, we even learn! Key word: WE.
Friendships bloom. I randomly call children to the carpet for circle time so they are always sitting next to different friends. I use Kagan strategies to get the ultimate engagement. Pair Share is a favorite on the carpet where I pose a question and partner up children share what they know. This not only gets students taking, sharing, and building vocabulary, but students are talking to classmates that might not be in their close circle of friends! It is a win-win.
Novelty is key! Young children LOVE novelty! I can take the same game, song or activity and change the novelty from apples to pumpkins or from hearts to shamrocks and I have my kids attention and enthusiasm! Young children need consistency with the activities so they can concentrate on the new skill. This is why the activity stays the same. The novelty is what keeps them coming back each and every time.
"Once upon a time"...it was story time! I always share stories at circle to introduce new concepts, provide models for the children, build on our theme, and yes, just to enjoy the story because everyone needs a "and they lived happily ever after!"
My wish for you is that you embrace circle time like an old friend: comfortable yet silly, predictable yet exciting and where everyone lives happily ever after!