Friday, November 2, 2018

Morning circle

Children benefit from Circle Time by gathering with all of the children to enjoy sharing stories, singing and talking with their friends and teacher.
We can come together learn new things and share what we know.

It is an opportunity to develop early literacy skills, math concepts, scientific processes, and very important social skills such as sharing and taking turns.
Updating the calendar is an important part of circle time.
We are developing early literacy skills.
When we sing and point to certain calendar words, we are reinforcing the recognition of sight words.
As we discover what yesterday, today and tomorrow are, we learn about the passage of time.
Each day we add a new number to our calendar, we are building on the linear progression of numbers.

Daily updating of the calendar provides a good opportunity to recognize connections and patterns, such as we never seem to be at school on Saturday and Sunday, Tuesday always follows Monday, the numbers keep getting bigger as we fill in the month.
We  have recently added writing a morning message.  I wrote morning messages with classes in prior years, I think this group of friends will enjoy and benefit from the experience.
A morning message consists of a few predictable items.
We document the leader. This helps the children recognize their friend’s names.
Morah Katie: Is this person here today?
Kids: No.
Morah Katie: How do you know? 
Lochlan: It says Eli, and Eli isn't here.
Morah Katie: I see we have some beginning readers in the classroom. Very exciting.

We highlight a letter of interest.
Morah Katie: What is our letter of interest?
Makayah: "a".
Morah Katie: It does say "a".   What is it's name?
Clive: A.
Morah Katie: If we went to the store what are somethings we could buy that begin with "a"?
Lochlan: Apples.
I ask my friends to be aware of this letter in the day, "How many A's can you find in class today? 
How many things in our class begin with the sound  a?'

We have a special number.
Morah Katie: What numeral is this?
Evan: 7.
Morah Katie: Please count with me as I draw.
Everyone: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. 
Morah Katie: We have begun to talk about the math concept of odd or even, what do you think 7 is?
Lochlan: Well 2 and 1 have each other. 4 and 3 have each other. 5 and 6 have each other.  But 7 is all by himself.
Morah Katie: What does that tell us?
Clive: He could be friends with 5 and 6.
Morah Katie:Yes, but 7 is by itself.  Is it odd or even?
Emily: Odd.

I begin a pattern and ask the helper to finish it.
I drew an orange circle/green rectangle/orange circle/green rectangle/orange circle/green rectangle
Morah Katie: What will you draw next Clive?
Clive: I will draw an orange circle and then a green rectangle.
Morah Katie: You were really paying attention to the pattern.
Later in the day Eli had been looking at the board.  He described the pattern and added to it. 

Playing with and creating patterns helps children discover repetitions of images and safely make guesses as to what will be the next.  This in time helps the children build confidence in their opinions and point of views, and begins to lay the foundation for critical thinking.
Eventually as we become comfortable with morning messages, the helper will begin the pattern and ask a friend to complete it. 
It is an opportunity for creative thinking, risk taking in our guesses, discovery thorough hands on results.

As the year progresses, the morning message will grow to include facts we are learning.

Circle time encourages a feeling of community; we all love singing, we all love listening to books, we all love to contribute what we know and to learn new things.
As we sit quietly, speak at our turn, we show our friends respect, and we in turn know our voice is valued and will be heard.
Circle time provides an opportunity to reach all learning styles; we talk in big ideas and look at the details.

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