Thursday, July 23, 2015

Another year, another circle time...

I update and modify my circle time lesson a few times a year. Since I have kids multiple years in a row, I try to really mix it up at the beginning of every school year. I'm also trying to move past the typically circle time tasks (like focusing on the months, days of the week, etc.) and challenging my students with more meaningful functional and academic skills.


I'm keeping the layout of our circle time the same.
-I use a Powerpoint presentation with music videos displayed on our interactive white board.
-The Powerpoint has music videos that correspond to work tasks. Students watch 1-2 videos about a specific topic and then complete a task on the board, and then repeat that process multiple times.
-I have found that alternating the educational videos with work tasks helps my students attention span and ability to stay on task during the task part of circle time.
-We let students dance, stand up, or sit down during the songs/videos.

Communication:
Students take turns saying good morning to a peer (verbally, with sign language or with a voice output device).
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpTR1wF4M6k

Here are examples of the work tasks and videos that I am using:

Calendar Work:
I have reduced the amount of work and time we spend on the actual calendar. We used to spend a good amount of time completing tasks like "Today is ___," "Yesterday was ___," "Tomorrow will be___," "The month is___," etc. This year, we are focusing on using the calendar in a way many people use planners and calendars. We will cross off each day and write important dates like birthdays, holidays, and field trips. Of course we will still talk about the date and count the numbers on the calendar, but that won't be the focus of our calendar time.

Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhu_80vcPZ4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CVXzVOMU9A

Map work/ Social Studies:
Students will learn about the city and state that they live in. This task allows students to identify the state they live in and then match the state.

Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo--bheaE0I

This map activity will have students identify the continents. During circle time, we will talk about the country that our service dog, Ike, "traveled" to. We will spend time identifying the country on the map, and learning about the language and culture of that country.
Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNGJfg45QRI

Weather/ Math Work:
Instead of just simply identifying what the weather is, students will graph the weather for the week. At the end of the week, we will talk about what weather we had the most and the least.
Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD6FRDd9Hew
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmSKsyJ15yg

Attendance:
I made attendance a little more rigorous by adding last names to some of the students' name cards. I also made a section for students to complete a sentence about how many students are at school.

Please send me any ideas or suggestions you have to make circle time more academic and meaningful!

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