Saturday, April 4, 2020

HOME LEARNING WITH SEESAW


This is a post from my good friend Betsy Cruz.  I met her over a year ago at the SCKA Conference and she told me a little bit about Seesaw.  It's almost too good to be true.  Oh, yeah, and it's FREEEEEE! 
Seesaw The Learning Journal is a free app, available on all platforms, that allows students to share their learning in creative ways. Students can show what they know with photos, drawings, audio or video recordings, notes, and links to projects, all of which are compiled in a digital portfolio. My students use it frequently in many ways. They take photos of their writing and record their voices reading it, record themselves explaining how they solve a math problem, take a picture of a leaf they found and use drawing tools to label it, etc.


Now, as my school has gone to remote learning, I have turned to my old friend, Seesaw, to reach out to students at their homes. Seesaw made their class app available for home learning, (with private home learning codes), and Seesaw offers wonderful remote learning resources. https://web.seesaw.me/remote-learning. In addition to student generated projects, Seesaw also allows teachers to create and assign activities with specific tasks for their students. Teachers can share activities to the extensive Seesaw Library, which all teachers can access to find and assign activities to students.

Knowing that my school was going to distance learning, I thought it was time that I started creating activities for my students, and to share with other teachers. I knew students would be using much more technology than might be best for little ones. So, I wanted to create some activities that combined technology with the philosophy of Dr. Jean activities, which emphasize hands, on real experiences, language, music, art, developing social skills, etc. (I could go on and on!)

I have made several activities, using Dr. Jean as inspiration. They are based on Dr. Jean songs, finger plays, or blog ideas. For the student task, I tried to create multiple options, such as draw a picture, write about it, record thoughts and knowledge, etc.

In “Coronavirus Avengers”, students watch Dr. Jean’s video, take a selfie and use drawing tools to make themselves Coronavirus Avengers. They also have the option to draw what they think coronavirus looks like.




https://app.seesaw.me/#/activities/library?profile=pub.person.684f8024-6991-4770-820f-035208495ed6&promptId=prompt.6c1f7e19-6c43-4512-b7e2-c14ed152dcef

In “Finger Plays – My Garden” students record themselves reciting the finger play, have the option to draw their own garden or take a photo of their garden at home, and then write about their garden. Teaching these finger plays during a circle time video chat is a tip I just learned from Dr. Jean!



https://app.seesaw.me/#/activities/library?profile=pub.person.684f8024-6991-4770-820f-035208495ed6&promptId=prompt.e20ebb0a-33bf-4657-aa15-f8d180c88b02

“Spring – O” gives students a board with pictures of signs of Spring that students mark with a drawing tool as they find them. Then they have the option on pages that follow to take photos or draw pictures of what they found. They can also write about or record their voices talking about what they found. 





https://app.seesaw.me/#/activities/library?profile=pub.person.684f8024-6991-4770-820f-035208495ed6&promptId=prompt.4c443a8d-307b-4feb-ac40-64ad52bc2975

In times like these, I am very grateful to be able to collaborate with educators around the world. Seesaw and Dr. Jean have been a great part of that. You can sign up for Seesaw at web.seesaw.me or by clicking “try” from one of my activities.


 

Friday, April 3, 2020

CALMING CONNECTIONS

If you missed my "LITTLE LESSONS FOR ONLINE LEARNING"
FB LIVE YESTERDAY YOU CAN CHECK IT OUT TODAY

bit.ly/drjeanLittleLessons

Today I'm thrilled to share some positive strategies from my friend Barbara Gruener for STAYING CALM!!!


Raise your hand if you’re feeling a little bit frazzled by the frantic and somewhat chaotic changes that this pandemic is causing. Okay, maybe a lot. How about frightened? Irritable? Angry? Sad? Agitated? Confused? Our list of emotions could go on and on as evidenced by this Emotions Wheel from the work of psychologist Rubin Plutchik. 



                                                         
 

Good news; it’s completely normal to be a twisted bundle of emotions right now. Use that wheel to learn more about your own feelings to help the children in your care understand, accept, navigate and manage theirs during the shelter-in-place mandate that has temporarily closed our schools, cancelled events, and demanded we stay home unless it’s essential travel.

Let’s look at some ways that we can comfort ourselves and calm our children during these trying times of uncertainty, unrest and turbulence.

1. Put your own mask on first. As soon as I typed the word turbulence, I thought immediately of that counterintuitive request that the airlines make, to put our own oxygen masks on before helping the young children traveling with us. This metaphor for life speaks volumes to me, because children take their lead from the adults that co-regulate them. If we want calm from them, then we need first and foremost to model calm. How does that look, sound, and feel right now? Maybe it’s deep breathing or the practice of mindfulness. Maybe it’s meditative coloring. Perhaps it’s listening to soothing music. It might even be dancing or escaping in video games. Whatever the medium, we set the example through a time-honored tradition called Show And Tell. Start by showing them what self-regulation looks like, then explain to them why it’s important for all of us. Modeling self-care works the same way. Show your children that self-care isn’t selfish and tell them that it’s not meant to be a reactive luxury, but instead a proactive necessity.

2. Name ‘em and claim ‘em. These days inside with our loved ones may get tricky; never before in our lifetime have we gotten to go through something like this. Expect those aforementioned feelings to get raw and uncomfortable. Model owning those feelings by naming them and claiming them: Mommy feels really sad right now; what do you think might help her as she walks through this big feeling? Or Daddy is really frustrated at the moment; maybe some recess would help his brain process this feeling before we continue. Our children benefit greatly from knowing that all feelings matter and that these feelings all visit their grown-ups, too. Use a kid-friendly feelings chart so that your children can put faces with their feelings. Come to my office and you’ll find the ceiling tiles have been replaced with feeling tiles, to give children the vocabulary to express what they’re experiencing.


Be careful not to label emotions as good or bad; instead, try thinking about them as big or small, easy or hard, comfortable or uncomfortable, weak or strong even. Need something more tangible? Try labeling them as cotton (soft) or sandpaper scratchy). Know that if we are not given a safe place to emote, unexpressed feelings can easily become undesirable behaviors.

3. Lean in and lean on. Ok, so I’ve named it and claimed it; now what do I do with it? Our knee-jerk reaction to an uncomfortable feeling might be to ignore it or to run away from it. But chances are good that it’s not going away. In fact, not only will it find you again, but often times when it does, it’s even bigger and stronger than before. Encourage your littles to lean in to their feelings (and the discomfort they might bring) and lean on you to walk them through it. It might go something like this: Sarah, it looks like you’re really sad that you can’t play with Jímena right now. I’m really sad, too, because we can’t see Grandma and Grandpa right now either. What do you think we could do together while sad is choosing us? Use an inquiry statement here rather than a suggestion to help avoid the temptation to fix the feeling for them. Nothing’s broken; they just need time to let the emotion of the moment run its course. As you teach them to lean into the pain and lean on a trusted peer or adult for support, you’re empowering them to process their feelings on their terms, in a way which is helpful for them. While you’re working together through using the strategy that they find helpful, feel free to share what might work for you, to give them yet another tool for their emotional-regulation toolbox.

4. Use empathy statement to normalize and validate. Researcher and author Brené Brown says that the skill of empathy is a powerful catalyst simply by “… listening, holding space, emotionally connecting and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’” Empathy begins with understanding what someone is feeling. Imagine the emotion beneath their experience. If you can, ask them what they’re feeling, to check it out. From cognition, empathy then moves to embracing those needs and feeling moved to alleviate their suffering, the affective domain known as compassion. Then, a chance to walk the talk, to show kindness, to let people know we see them, hear them, understand them, feel with them, and want to help. So rather than asking someone to stop crying, fussing at them to quit being so mad or insisting that there’s nothing to be scared about, try empathy statements like this: I hear you. Tell me more. Help me understand. I get it. That must feel scary. What’s the trickiest part? What might help you right now? Who could help you? How can I help? Step into their stories and walk alongside of them. When words fail, encourage them to draw it out or act it out for you. Got the angries? Try a few of these mindfulness strategies.

5. Connect with consistency. We all crave connection, probably now more than ever; I know that when our adult son came by yesterday, it was physically and emotionally painful to not wrap him up in one of our usual bear hugs. But distancing physically doesn’t keep us from connecting spiritually. Never underestimate the power of virtual (and real-life) connection catalysts like these:

  *Eye contact. Smiles. Sign Language.
  *Heart-to-heart phone calls. Texts. Emails.
  * Zoom. FaceTime. Google Hangouts.
  *Hand-drawn pictures. Love Letters for Grandfriends.
  * Thank-you notes for the people who serve.
  *Meditation and prayer. Yoga. Mindful breathing.
  *Chalk the walk for passersby.
  * Bear hunts and/or scavenger hunts.
  *Dance parties. Music lessons; ukulele anyone?
  *Create kindness from the kitchen.

Remember that children also crave consistency, so set some for-now normal routines and habits. Hold a family or class meeting to decide how your morning ritual will look. Check in every so often to make sure it’s working for everyone. Look at your schedule to see when it’ll work best to break for snacks and meals. Close the books and take some virtual field trips. Pencil in brain breaks and boosts. Allow for some down time to restore the rhythm of rest. Block off intentional time (think recess!) for meaningful movement and socializing. Look at your evening routines and tuck-in time traditions. The more predictable your schedule can be, the calmer it will feel for the littles in your care.

6. Reframe for the win. Keeping a growth mindset through all of these firsts will feel like a huge win-win. Instead of looking at it as We’re stuck at home for another month, try thinking we get to stay home for now. Turn but We can’t see our friends into let’s look for creative ways to get together virtually. Help This is too hard for me morph into Who can help me to understand it a little bit better? Rather than I’m just not cut out for this stay-at-home thing, think I’m getting better every day. Let I can’t control this become But I can control this. Continue to calmly reassure everyone that this is temporary. Breathe. Be a little kinder. Lavish grace without limits. Apologize. Forgive. Love unconditionally.

You’ve got this, dear caregivers, and when it’s over (and it will eventually end!), you’ll take the lessons we’re learning together with you into the future as you continue to foster calming connections that keep everyone feeling happily safe and secure. 


                                                                                   


About the author: In her 36th year of growing alongside students, staff, and stakeholders in Texas, Barbara Gruener, B.S., M.S., M.S., is a nationally-recognized school counselor, a speaker and The Corner on Character blog and What's Under Your Cape? SUPERHEROES of the Character Kind.

Attachments area

Thursday, April 2, 2020

I AM SLOWLY GOING CRAZY?

Do you need a little stress release today?  This is a silly song I would do in my classroom when I was about to explode.  I'd sit down in a chair and start singing and making the movements.  At first my class really thought I was going crazy, but eventually they saw the humor and we would all end up laughing.  I hope it will give you and your child a fun way to relax and smile today!

                            

                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgDU5RpzUms
 

I Am Slowly Going Crazy
(Tune: "Reuben, Reuben, I’ve Been Thinking")
I am slowly going crazy, (Cross right ankle on left knee. Place right
elbow on right knee and place chin on palm.)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, switch. (Cross left ankle on right knee and place
chin on left palm.)
Crazy going slowly am I, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, switch.
Continue singing faster and faster.

*Discuss other things that you can do when you feel stressed and anxious.



International Children's Book Day - April 2nd

According to holidayinsights.com Children's Book Day encourages reading, and promotes the love of books for children. The best and fastest way to develop our young children into intelligent human beings is by teaching them to read. Instilling a love of reading promotes a lifetime of learning and enjoyment.

You probably can't do anything more wonderful, loving, and lasting while you are "on vacation" than to read, read, read to your child!

 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

NO JOKE! I'VE GOT APRIL JOKES FOR YOU!!

HAPPY APRIL FOOL'S DAY! I'VE GOT SOME "EGG-STRA" SPECIAL 
"EGG-U-CATED" JOKES FOR ALL OF YOU TODAY!  I HOPE THEY MAKE YOU SMILE!



Why did the egg go to school?
To get "Egg-u-cated".

What kind of jokes do eggs tell?
Egg yolks!

What did the mommy egg say to the baby egg?
You're "Egg-stra special".

How do eggs stay healthy?
They "Egg-cercize".

What happened to the egg when he was tickled too much?
He cracked up.

What kind of plants do eggs keep?
Eggplants

What flowers grow on faces?
Tulips (Two-lips)!


What is a bunny's motto?
Don't be mad, be hoppy!

How do you catch a unique rabbit?
Unique up on it.

How do you catch a tame rabbit?
The tame way. Unique up on it.

What is a rabbit's favorite dance style?
Hip-Hop!

Why are rabbits so lucky?
They have four rabbit's feet?

Some “bunny’s” got some knock knock jokes for you!

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Ether.
Ether who?
Ether bunny.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Justin.
Justin who?
Justin other Ether Bunny.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Notta.
Notta who?
Notta nother Ether Bunnies.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Stella.
Stella who?
Stella nother Ether bunny.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Juan.
Juan who?
Juan more Ether bunny.

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Chuck.
Chuck who?
Chuck-olate bunny!

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Dewey.
Dewey who?
Dewey have to listen to any more Ether bunny jokes?

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Some bunny.
Some bunny who?
Some bunny is eating all my Easter eggs!


Knock, knock!

Who's there?

Noah.

Noah who?

Noah body . . . April Fool's!



Why Can't I Go to School?
Here's a video that Katie Mac from the Story Shack made to help children understand what's going on and why they can't go to school.
 
https://youtu.be/NHpzWpxAURc 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

SACK IT TO ME!

Lunch sacks are inexpensive and can be used in a variety of ways for crafts and learning activities. Children love to create and make things and this is a perfect way to make play creative and purposeful.

Nests  

Open a lunch sack and roll down from the top to make a nest.   
*Let younger children roll play dough eggs for the nest.

*Older children can write stories about “How to Build a Nest” or make construction paper birds to go in their nests.

*Tie in with fiction and non-fiction books about birds.

Easter Basket 

Of course, the Easter egg hunts are going to be put on “hold,” but you can still make baskets from a lunch bag. Open and roll down like the nest and then staple on a pipe cleaner handle.
                                       
*Make your own “grass” by cutting green paper into strips.

Buildings and Houses  

To make a house, decorate the bottom of the bag with markers and construction paper. Stuff with newspaper and fold down the top. Staple on a roof.
        
To make a building turn a lunch bag upside down and decorate with construction paper and markers. Take a second bag and stuff with newspaper. Insert the decorated bag over this to make a stand up building.

*Create a village with masking tape for a road, toy cars, action figures, etc.

Puppet  

Insert your hand in the bag and decorate with markers, construction paper, and other art media to make a favorite character from a book or unit of study.

Treasure Map
Cut open a lunch bag to make a rectangle, wet, and wad up. Dry. Let children create their own treasure maps or other vintage writings.




 


Peek a Boo Books
Take 3 or 4 lunch bags and stack them up and staple as shown. Fold over the bottom flap. Write a riddle or question on the front. Open and draw a picture or write the answer under the flap.
     
 

Nature Hunts
Let children use bags for a nature hunt. They can look for leaves, rocks, and other natural items.                                         
Note! Encourage them to return the items to nature after collecting and observing them.

*As an inside scavenger hunt have children look for things that are a particular shape, color, start with a beginning sound, etc.

PomPoms
Cut strips from the top of bags to the flap. Roll up the bottom and wrap a rubber band around to make a handle. Use for singing alphabet songs, repeating patterns, cheering words, etc.  

                                                                                      
Tree   

Make 5 or 6 tears about halfway down from the top of the bag. Open and squeeze the bottom as show. Write alphabet letters on branches to make a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree.

*Decorate your tree with pastel tissue paper in the spring.

*In the fall tear red, orange, and yellow construction paper to make leaves.

*Sponge paint white in the winter to make snow.









Touch and Tell
Hide objects in the bag. Children close eyes, touch, and guess what it is.




 


Grumble Bag
When someone whines or complains tell them to, “Put it in the bag!”

Monday, March 30, 2020

FAMILY ACTIVITY CALENDARS EN ESPANOL

I'm so glad that a teacher sent an email asking about the activity calendars in Spanish because I had forgotten all about them.  I know many of you have children who speak Spanish in their homes and are looking for activities.  Gabriela Davila Anaya from St. Joseph School in El Paso translated these for my September, 2014, website. Please check it out and share!



My webmaster (Alex May) has also created some videos with my songs in English as well as Spanish that some of your families might enjoy.


 


 


                                                                 Diverterse!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

PINDER KINDER SHARES

If you didn't see my video yet, here's the link.
https://bit.ly/drjeanPrimeTimeCT

I've met such amazing teachers recently in cyber world. Heidi Pinder truly is a "YouTube Star" now with her channel. I asked Heidi to tell her story and to give some advice with using Zoom to stay connected with your students.


On March 15, back when “shelter in place” was just one of the many drills practiced by schools across the nation and toilet paper was still easy to come by, a parent tagged me on Facebook. Her child and his best friend danced with shaving cream beards leaving sticky white footprints across a soapy patio. The caption read “I think we are all losing it…” I didn’t, ‘like’, or share, or even comment on the post that evening, but the image of my adorable students haunted my sleep. I knew this mom, a former Kindergarten teacher and parent extraordinaire, was only half-joking, but I also realized that children across the nation would wake up the next day to no school. Spring Break was over, yet schools would still be closed and kids would be untethered.

If this mom and I were feeling overwhelmed by the shocking news, the lack of structure, and the confusion being shared about COVID19, then I knew that young children everywhere would also be sensing the unsettling atmosphere. When September 11, 2001 occurred in our nation, I was mom to a sassy red headed four year old and a clingy contemplative two year old and I was eight months pregnant. Although there was extreme uncertainty and fear on that day and the months to follow, my children still wanted to go to the park in our DC suburb. They still needed lunch and baths and stories and bedtime. It was challenging to be a mom in 2001, but I survived by taking care of myself, following our routine, and bringing comfort and joy to my family as best I could.

Combining my memories of being a mom of young children during a national crisis with my thirty years of knowledge as an educator, and my experience as an online ESL teacher, I logged back into Facebook and commented on the picture of my bored but excited students, “Oh, I miss these guys!!!! Big hugs from Mrs. Pinder. Be on the lookout for something from me in a bit.”

It was at this moment that Pinder Kinder was born! Pinder Kinder is my YouTube channel. It consists of 15-20 minute lessons. Each lesson centers around a theme and relates to books that Scholastic is currently offering for free on their remote learning website. My goal is to connect with kids and ease their trauma as I bring them comfort and joy. If they learn something along the way, fabulous! I sing, do finger plays, ask questions, listen, lead writing and drawing activities, count, tell jokes, and more. I never thought I would be adding YouTuber to my resume at age 51, but here we are!

Are we still “losing it”? Maybe, but we are having fun in the process and who knows what we’ll find while we’re looking.

Here is a link to Pinder Kinder, a YouTube channel created while the world was ‘losing it’:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClKgMj9tEIicPH3LG10V5kw

Happy learning,
Mrs. Pinder


EXPERIENCE WITH ZOOM



 

In addition to creating YouTube videos, I am also using Zoom to stay connected with my students. Zoom is a video conferencing platform that offers free and paid plans. Although I am not an expert, I highly recommend Zoom to stay in touch with staff members, friends, and even Kindergartners!

My class includes 2 teachers (myself being one of them), 2 paras, and 19 students of all abilities. Our first Zoom meeting was so fun! Of course, we had a few challenges, but here is what my co-teacher and I learned:

● If you are new to Zoom, do a practice Zoom meeting with your team or friends to try out the features. If you are not the ‘host’ of the practice meeting, have the ‘host’ of the meeting explain all of their features, especially ‘mute’.

● Set up your meeting time and date, email the link to the parents. Include your district supervisor in the email. Check all district guidelines and follow to the best of your ability. If in doubt, get pre-approval. Guidelines are changing daily and sometimes hourly.

● Decide if you want to allow your students to ‘enter the meeting’ prior to ‘you’ (the host). We (my co-teacher and I) did allow our students to enter ahead of us and the kids had a great time. Some logged on as much as 20 minutes early and they loved chatting and acting silly together. They were thrilled to see each other! The more students there are, however, the harder it becomes to hear. My co-teacher created the meeting, so I was able to enter as a participant a little early with my camera turned off and observe the kids. It was a hoot!

● Decide if you want to mute your students’ (‘participants’) mics. We tried to mute everyone, but ran into a snafu so we started our meeting as a free-for-all and never were able to mute everyone’s mics. No worries, however, my brilliant co-teacher (Mrs. Covington) got the class’ attention, instructed them on how to mute their mics, and proceeded with our plan. Remember, we are teachers. We are flexible! I believe the current term is ‘fluidity”, but no matter, teachers have been doing this since the beginning of time. Use one of your regular ‘attention getters’ and move on just as you normally would.

● Make a plan for your meeting and share it with any other teachers/paras that will be participating in your Zoom. The purpose of our Zoom was to connect. Our district has explicitly asked us not to instruct through Zoom.

● Our plan (also, what really happened :):

○ Gather with mics muted: wave and smile (our mics were not muted, so the kids chatted/waved/showed off their siblings and toys)

○ Welcome: Mrs. Covington, my co-teacher, greeted class and taught everyone ‘Good Morning’ in sign language. We all said ‘Good Morning’. Mrs. Covington instructed students how to mute mics. She addressed each student by name as needed to troubleshoot. Some parents assisted. She gave a brief overview of our Zoom class meeting.

○ Song: I led our “Friends Song” with mics muted. (I suggest you choose a very familiar song that has hand motions. This part was adorable!)

○ Share time: Mrs. Covington called students one at a time to share something happy that had happened to them since we were last together. She shared first and then called on others to share. If things had gone as planned, she would have un-muted student mics as she called on them, but instead she instructed them how to unmute their mics as she called on them and reminded them how to mute them again when she was done. She reminded them of ways we can respond when people share: sign language for same, heart hands, thumbs up, silent cheer. They didn’t have to share if they didn’t want to and some siblings shared. One student chose to keep his camera off, but still listened. Some parents assisted. It was a beautiful time.

○ Read aloud: I read The Feelings Book by Todd Parr, a familiar book. Students acted out the feelings. Students kept their mics muted.

○ Good-bye: We sang “Skidamarin” (this is our usual end of the day song), waved, and blew kisses. Mrs. Covington ended the meeting.

I loved Zooming with my class even though it was heartbreaking to see how much they miss school. I teared up a few times, but we can’t wait to Zoom again next week.

Happy Zooming,
Mrs. Pinder 













Saturday, March 28, 2020

PRIME TIME CIRCLE TIME


Here's a link to the video I did yesterday on PRIME TIME Circle time:

I’ve always believed that you shouldn’t “talk the talk unless you’ve walked the walk.” I admit I have never done circle time online so I shouldn’t even be doing this video and blog. However, when a teacher reached out to me I felt I needed to help and share what I could. I think we are all treading and learning and growing in an unknown territory right now. Although I can’t help you with the technical end, I can give you some songs and ideas for the content of your circle time. Let’s hold hands and figure this out!

I asked my friend Cheri Winton Bromley for some input on Prime Time Circle Time. She had some brilliant advice (as usual) and said, “Remember Romper Room and the magic mirror?” Some of you might be too young to remember this television show where the host would look in the mirror and say:

"Romper, bomper, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, have all my friends had fun at play?"

  
(I glued fake jewels to an old picture frame to make my magic mirror.)

Then she’d call out different children’s names and say, “I see George and I see Monica and I see…” I was always waiting and hoping she’d say my name, but she never did.

*USE YOUR STUDENTS’ NAMES.

The Romper Room lady and Mr. Rogers were masters at engaging an audience they couldn’t actually see or hear. Yet, remember how Mr. Rogers would ask a question and then pause as if listening to the children.

*ASK QUESTIONS AND THEN PAUSE AS IF LISTENING.

Mr. Rogers also talked very slowly. Without a physical presence it might take your students a little longer to process the verbal information.

*TALK SLOWLY AND CLEARLY. DON’T BE IN A HURRY!

Remember the real reason you are doing this. It’s not about “teaching” them; it’s about touching their hearts and helping them connect with their classroom family.

*MAKE THEM FEEL SECURE, LOVED.

*Nothing succeeds like success. What did your children enjoy most in the classroom? Remember their favorite songs, cheers, and stories and repeat those.

*GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT!


TIPS AND TRICKS FOR CIRCLE TIME

Quit while you are ahead! Don’t make circle time too long! Start slow and you can add more activities as you go along.

Follow a basic routine. Doing similar activities every day will make children feel secure. Include brain breaks so they can get up and wiggle. For example:

     Piddle Time
     Attention Grabber and Welcome (sitting)
     Good Morning Song (standing)
     Active Learning - Alphabet song or math song (standing)
     Let’s Learn! (sitting)
          Engage them with a finger play
          Share a morning message, read a book, or do a short lesson

     Sing and Dance (standing)
          “Tooty Ta” or “The Cool Bear Hunt” or other favorite song
     Cheer - Words of encouragement - Challenge for the day (sitting)

     Good –bye song


PIDDLE TIME
 

One of my first supervisors suggested we start each morning with “piddle time.” What is “piddle time”? It’s a few minutes at the beginning of the lesson where children can chat and settle down. One teacher said she left the mute button off at first because the children were so excited just to see their friends and talk.

Note! I think whether you turn the “mute” on or off will depend on the size of your group and the chatter you are comfortable with.

ATTENTION GRABBER AND WELCOME (sitting)

Use a song to capture their attention. I love this one that Elizabeth Hofmaster shared with me several years ago. It goes to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

If you know your teacher loves you blow her a kiss.
If you know your teacher loves you blow her a kiss.
If you know your teacher loves you and she would really likes to hug you...
If you know your teacher loves you blow her a kiss.

Here’s another attention grabber that I’ve used for years. It goes to the tune of “Skip to My Lou.”

I like you, there’s no doubt about it. (Point to self and then a friend.)
I like you, there’s no doubt about it.
I like you, there’s no doubt about it.
You are my good friend. (Point to friend and then self.)

You like me, there’s no doubt about it. (Point to a friend and then self.)
You like me, there’s no doubt about it.
You like me, there’s no doubt about it.
You are my good friend.

Welcome them with a name song.

Hello Song (Tune: “Good Night, Ladies”)
Hello, (child’s name).
Hello, (child’s name).
Hello (child’s name).
I'm so glad to see you!

Continue singing all the children’s names in your classroom.

Little Red Box
Cover a small box with red paper. Write children’s names on sentence strips and glue their picture by their name. Pull one name at a time out of the red box and sing this song to the tune of “Polly Wolly Doodle.”
I wish I had a little red box
To put my child’s name in.
I’d take him/her out and go hug, hug, hug (hug self)
And put him/her back again.
…Continue singing each child’s name.


GOOD MORNING SONG (standing)
 

Have children stand and sing a song like “Rise and Shine.”
 

Rise and shine and welcome to school today.
Rise and shine and welcome to school today.
Rise and shine and welcome to school today .
We’re so glad you’re here!


Hint!  Insert “online school,” “Zoom school,” your grade level or school’s name as you sing,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyAD2OoFuoY


ACTIVE LEARNING! (standing)

Literacy – Review sounds with an alphabet song.  Sing the traditional ABC’s with different voices. For example: monster style, mouse, with a cold, opera, etc.

Kick Box the ABC’s

 

Happy Birthday Letters

Karate Writing


 

Math – Sing calendar songs or counting songs.

Macarena Count to 100

 

Country Countdown


 




LET’S LEARN! (sitting)
 

Get children seated by singing this song to “Shortnin’ Bread.”

Everybody have a seat, have a seat, have a seat.
Everybody have a seat on the floor.
Not on the ceiling, not on the door.
Everybody have a seat on the floor.
 

Focus their attention with a finger play.

Open, shut them. (Open and close fists.) 

Open, shut them. 
Give a little clap, clap, clap. (Clap 3 times.) 
Open, shut them. (Open and close fists.) 
Open, shut them. 
Put them in your lap, lap, lap. (Put hands in your lap.) 
Open shut them...


Read a morning message from a class mascot (stuffed animal or puppet).


Read a book (Just for pleasure or to prompt a lesson.)



SING AND DANCE (standing)
 

Do a favorite song such as “Tooty Ta” or “The Cool Bear Hunt.”


CHEER and CHALLENGE 

How about a few cheers and a word of encouragement? I love this mantra:
     Teacher: Friends, what are you?
     Children: I am kind. (Touch heart.)
     I am smart. (Kiss brain.)
     I am important. (Hug self.)

Give them a special challenge for the day. It might be to teach their parents a song or finger play. They could look for shapes around the house. Or, maybe ask them to draw a picture or make a card and send it to someone they love.


GOOD-BYE SONG
 

Thank the children for joining you and say, “I hope you’ll come back and see me tomorrow.”

Sing this good-bye song to the tune of “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain”
It is time to say “good-bye” to all my friends.
It is time to say “good-bye” to all my friends.
It is time to say “good-bye,”
give a smile and wink your eye.
It is time to say “good-bye” to all my friends.
Good-bye, friends. Yee haw!


TECH SUPPORT
Someone said that Kennesaw State University had some great tips for remote teaching and learning.
info@ksuiteach.org

Are there other sites that you have found that have been helpful to you?