A DAY IN AU {Circle Time}

Circle time is one of my favorite times of the day! There is of course lots of singing and dancing involved and my students have a blast! Thankfully, circle time in our classroom is very animated because we have the luxury of having a promethean board. My students love singing the days and months along with different videos, as well as doing the interactive calendar on Starfall. We pack A LOT of different skills into this time because it is one of our few whole group times of the day.

Here is a little run-down of our circle time routine:

Group time behavior reminders – These are also posted below my promethean so I can point to them to remind students.

Good Morning Song

Once we start the transition into circle time, I begin playing this song. The students love it and it’s a good “starter” for our circle time. Once students are seated, I shake hands with each kid and say, “Good Morning! I wait for each student to either say or gesture back to me before moving to the next student. See, with my kids, I know hugs are still cute and they make teachers feel loved, BUT, when that little 1st grader is in 6th grade and he’s hugging random people, it’s not so cute anymore. SO – we work on other ways to greet people, like shaking hands. When I first started this at the beginning of the year, the kids all kind of just looked at me and I was basically grabbing their hand to shake it. Now that it is part of the routine, they reach their hand out right away when I get to them. Love it!


For attendance we have one student up at the promethean board to move the pictures. As we sing to each kid, this student moves his or her picture (down below – not shown). After we are finished with everyone, we also go over if we have a teacher missing and we will move that person over to “Home” and write the sub’s name under school. We then make little counting/math problem out of the two sections by counting how many on each side, then adding those two numbers together.

We sing a few different attendance songs depending on the day.

The first one goes to the tune of bingo:

In this class, we have a girl, and Sara is her name-o
We’re glad you’re hear today!

The second one I have no clue what the tune is, but here are the words:

Hello, Sara!
Hello, Sara!
Hello, Sara!
How are you today?

Sara: I am happy (or whatever emotion), I am happy, I am happy, I am happy today!

Calendar Time

Days of the week song  – Love this song because it involves following directions (whisper the days, yell the days, clap, stomp, etc) and moving.
Months of the year song – Calming music, goes over the seasons and holidays for each month.
Starfall Calendar – the best – interactive & no prep required!

We also count the days we’ve been in school to review counting ones, tens, and hundreds using this pocket chart and our hundred’s chart:

My students love this weather song and this weather song, so we switch it off every other day.
We use the calendar to record the daily weather, as well as our weather chart with Boardmaker pictures so my younger students can participate as well.

My students also love to listen to this seasons song before we discuss the different seasons.
We have several pictures of different weather patterns/seasons that we go over after listening to this song. For example, I would show a student the picture and they would tell me what season it is. For my nonverbal students, I would show them two pictures and say, “touch winter.” 
We also do several online interactive weather activities, such as picking out different outfits for the weather outside or guessing what type of weather. Here are the links to those sites:
Basic Skill Songs: After the weather, we usually take our outdoor sensory break. When we come back, we focus more on basic skills through movement activities and songs.
Color Song: Students hold up their pom when their color is mentioned in the song.
Shape Song 1: Students hold up their shape or draw the shape with their hands.
Count by 10s: Stand up and dance using both hands to count by 10s
Count by 5s: Stand up and dance using one hand to count by 5s
Money Song: I bought large coin prints from the dollar tree, laminated, and we use them during the song.
Telling Time Song: Students have clocks to follow the time shown in the song OR we stand up and use our arms as the arms of the clock.
If there is time after, we have a quick story time. Last week was all about Dr. Suess! 🙂
Our circle time continues to change as my students change. I always put a small schedule up of the different songs/activities we do during circle time so the students can see how many more activities until we are done. Sorry I didn’t get a picture of it! 
I would LOVE to hear what you do for your circle time – I need some fresh ideas! 

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  1. Glenwood CDA on March 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Every class in my school has a slightly different morning circle, many of which include activities you already do. Here are some other ideas you may find interesting!

    News time: students share what they did last night. This ranges from independent news telling on their AAC devices, selecting from a couple of PCS to tell us what they did, or answer a yes/no questions like 'Did you have fun with Dad last night?'

    lunch survey – hot lunch, sandwich, salad, special lunch or something else. We often use this one to work on yes/no

    Daily surveys in their circle time – again working mostly on yes/no responses, questions like 'did you like the snow last night?' 'do you think it will be spring soon?' 'do you think Canada will win more medals today?" etc.

    The name song: one of our classes uses a song on a casette (that I can't find anywhere online 🙁 ) that talks about different scenarios where you may need to tell someone your name and allows for practice saying your name.

    PS what does your 'outdoor sensory break' entail? Thanks!

    • Mrs. Dixon on March 9, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      LOVE all of these! Thanks so much for the new ideas. We used to do a daily lunch survey, but since the same students bring lunch/get lunch, it got a little boring for them because the numbers were always the same!

      During our outdoor sensory break, we go out on the playground and use the equipment. We try to encourage our students to climb up the slides and do the rock wall, monkey bars, or zip line – all of which are great for "heavy work." We also do a lot of running, and even some crab walk, wheelbarrow walk, jumping jacks, etc. Anything to get them moving while doing some sort of heavy work. I will be doing a post about this soon!

  2. Kate on March 9, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Our circle time is similar to yours. We usually do a whole group activity that focuses on colors, shapes, numbers, or abc's and relates to the theme of the week. I am envious of your Promethean board. It would make things so much easier. All of my visuals are on paper.
    Fun in ECSE

  3. Anonymous on August 1, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Thank you for the inspiration! This worked wonders with introducing time to my preschooler.

  4. Scoil Noamh GobnaitASD on August 26, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    sorry just wondering if you posted ur promeathan file?? i think you said that you did but i cant find it!! thank you

  5. Shea on September 11, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this Mrs. Dixon! I have a daughter that is a special thinker. She has been diagnosed with autism and some other issues. I wrote and published a book about our journey that I hope will help educators and encourage other parents of special thinkers. The book is titled "My Life with a Dandelion". I titled it this because I felt that that is the way that the world viewed my daughter–as a useless, willfull weed. She is quite the contrary! I was told by doctors that she would never be a productive citizen and that she needed to be institutionalized. But prayer, hard work and wonderful teachers made sure that that didn't happen! You can get the book from Amazon for about $10 (paperback) and $4 for Kindle. Thanks again for loving these special thinkers! https://www.amazon.com/Life-With-Dandelion-Shea-Jackson/dp/1466977388

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