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Sunday, June 30, 2019


Here’s a song to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” to dismiss children to go to a small group or a learning center. When they hear the letter their name begins with, they may be excused.

Dismissal Song
If your name begins with A, stand up.
If your name begins with B, stand up.
If your name begins with C, D, E,
You may now stand up. (Or go to your center, small group, etc.)

F, G, H, I, J…
K, L, M, N, O…
P, Q, R, S, T…
U, V, W, X, Y, Z

Hint! Vary the song by using their last name or middle name. You can also go from z to A.

Center Tickets
Cut out pictures representative of the different centers in your classroom. Cut out the same number of pictures for each area as children who can play in that area. Glue the pictures to poster board cut in 4” squares. At the end of circle time, shuffle up the cards and allow each child to draw one. Children then go to the center on their card.

*Attach pictures of activities to circles and glue to craft sticks. Children choose a stick to be dismissed to an activity.

Letter Bears
Cut 26 bears out of construction paper. Write upper and lowercase letters on all the bears. Mix up the bears and then sing this song to the tune of “Twinkle Little Star” as the letters are revealed. Children may be dismissed when they see the letter that their name starts with on the bear.

     Dd bear, Dd bear, what do you see?
     I see Kk bear looking at me.
     Kk bear, Kk bear, what do you see…

And now it's time for me to move on to some new activities for July. I hope you've learned at least 5 new ideas you'd like to use in your circle time when the school bell rings again!



Saturday, June 29, 2019


End circle time on a positive note by doing a few cheers and having children review plans for the day.

I’m So Glad I Came to School Today (“In My Heart There Rings a Melody”)
I’m so glad I came to school today,
I came to school today,
I came to school today.
I’m so glad I came to school today,
I came to be with all my friends.

Partner Share
Have children turn to a friend and share something they are looking forward to doing at school that day.

Toss and Tell
Take a bean bag or wadded up paper ball. Ask students to think of something that they are looking forward to doing at school. Toss the ball to a child. After they answer they toss the ball back to you.

Have children close their eyes and think about what and how they are going to learn.

Catch a Star
Ask children to think of something they are going to do to be a kind friend. Tell them to reach up and grab a star and then put it in their hearts.

Fist List
Children make a fist and then hold up a finger for each thing that they are going to do at school that day.


Right Now! Right Now!
Say, “Right now, right now, right now, right now! Who can raise their hand and tell me something they know right now that they didn’t know when they came in the classroom this morning?”

Friday, June 28, 2019


According to research, brain breaks actually increase INSTRUCTIONAL TIME by reinforcing skills and helping children stay alert and interested. Write your favorite brain breaks on index cards and place them in a bag. Pull one out and you’ll be ready to release those wiggles at circle time.


Shake It Up
Hold up your right hand and shake five times as you count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Hold up your left hand and shake five times as you count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Hold up your right foot and shake five times as you count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Hold up your left foot and shake five times as you count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Count to four with each arm and leg…then three…two…one.
End by saying, “Oh yeah!” as you extend your arms and make the letter “Y.”

Balancing Brains
Have children stand. How long can they balance on their right foot? How long can they balance on their left foot?
Can they balance on their toes?
Can they balance on their right foot and extend their left leg in the air?
Can they balance on their left foot and extend their right leg in the air.
Can they balance on one foot with their eyes closed?

Jumping Brains

Ask children to stand and challenge them to jump in their space as long as they can. When they get tired they can sit back in their seats.
Hanky Panky
Tell the students when you throw the handkerchief (or tissue) up in the air they can start doing a silly dance and make funny noises. When the hanky hits the ground they must freeze. Do this several times to get rid of wiggles.

Chop Wood 
Hands together as if holding an ax. Place hands on your right shoulder and then cross over your body to your left foot as you pretend to chop wood. Place hands on the left shoulder and chop to the right foot.

Magic Wand
Make a magic wand by covering a cardboard pants hanger with aluminum foil. Wave it over the children’s heads as you say, “Abracadabra! You are rabbits.” Children hop around like rabbits until you wave your wand and say, “STOP!” Continue calling out different animals and objects for the children to pantomime.


Thursday, June 27, 2019


A fidget toy can be a quiet outlet and satisfy children’s “need to move.” Some children just need something to “fiddle with” at circle time.  Keep fidget toys simple so they meet the need as an outlet, but don’t distract the child completely.

Set Limits! You may hold the fidget toy in your hands. If you bother someone else with it you will have to put it up.

Brain Toys
Get a shoebox and write “brain toys” on it. Take old socks, tie them in knots, and place them in the box. As needed, invite children to get a brain toy. They can hold it, unknot it, knot it, squeeze it, and so forth.

Tie one end of a 20” piece of string to a craft stick. Put a piece of tape on it to secure it. Children can wind up the string and then unwind it.

Stress Button
Glue a 1” piece of Velcro to a poker chip with strong glue (E6000). Children can keep it in their pocket and rub it when their hands are wiggly.


Twisty and Bendy
Give children a pipe cleaner to twist and manipulate.

Play Dough
Give children a small ball of play dough to squeeze.

Squishy Ball
Fill a balloon with flour or cornstarch. Squeeze out the excess air and knot the end so the children can squish it like a stress ball.

What Else?
Hair bands, binder clips, pompoms, clothespins, and other small items can be used to keep little hands busy.

Talk to Your Hands
Tell the children when their hands don’t want to keep still to “have a little talk with them.” Explain to your hands that they need to be still so you can listen and learn.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019


One of the best ways to encourage high level thinking and develop oral language skills is to ask good questions at circle time.

Ask open-ended questions, rather than “yes” or “no.” Convergent questions have one answer, but divergent questions encourage students to make new connections and think outside the box.

Phrase Questions Clearly
Focus on one aspect at a time.

Acknowledge Responses
Avoid judging answers by repeating their response. “Good thinking!” “That’s close.” “I never thought about that before.” “Kiss your brain!”

How did you know that?
Encourage children to “think out loud.” This will help peers develop higher thinking skills.

Give Time(Smile if you know!)
Help children think about what they want to say and provide for individual differences by asking children to smile if they know the answer. Allow at least 3-5 seconds of think time.

Thumbs Up Thinking
Tell children to stick up their thumb next to their chest if they have learned something. Stick up fingers for each additional thing you’ve learned.

Whisper & Release
Children whisper the answer in their fists. When the teacher says, “Release,” the students open their fists.

Sign Language (Yes/No)
Teach children the signs for “yes” (wiggle fist in the air) and “no” (touch index and middle finger to thumb like a mouth closing). You can also cut an envelope in half and write “Yes” on the front and “No” on the back.

Choral Response
Ask a question and then slowly count, “1, 2, 3.” When you say, “Tell,” the children all say the answer together.

Think Partners
Divide children into pairs and let them discuss answers. Children can also review information by “teaching” a friend what they have learned.

Pick Sticks
Ask each child to write his/her name on a large craft stick. Color one end green and one end red. Place the red end in the bottom of a can. Ask a question, and then choose a stick. That child gets to answer the question. Return their stick to the can with the red end up.


Me Too!

Teach children sign language for “me too!” (Extend thumb and pinky finger and place the middle three fingers on your palm as you point your thumb toward your chest.) Tell children when you are reading a book they can use the sign to let you know they’ve had a similar experience.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Instead of “bring and brag,” focus show and tell on a specific theme you are studying, such as a letter, science concept, shape, etc.

Concept Can
Cover an empty oatmeal container for your “concept can. Each week write a letter, shape, number, color, or other concept you want to reinforce on an index card and tape it to the can. One child gets to take home the can each evening and look for objects to go in the can. That child gets to remove the items and talk about them at circle time.


Sharing Shelf
Instead of passing objects around the class, designate a special shelf or table in your classroom where students can place their show and tell objects for friends to look at later in the day.

Have children close their eyes as friends take turns sharing. Can everyone remember one thing at the end of sharing time?

Ask children to come up with three clues about what they have brought from home. (Parents could write these for young students.) After giving the clues, friends try and guess what it is.

Provide a child-size podium (old music stand or giant block) for children to stand behind when they speak.

Show What You Know
Try “show what you know” where children demonstrate something that they can do or know. They could do an art project, make up a song, do a skit, make a video, etc.

Rhyme Homework Bag
Send home a brown “rhyme” bag with each student and ask them to fill the bag with two items that rhyme. At show and tell time, each student removes one item from their bag. Classmates must guess what the second item in the bag is by naming objects that rhyme.


*Adapt homework bags to colors, letters, shapes, science, social studies, and other themes you are working on.

Monday, June 24, 2019


All you have to do is put something in a bag and you’ll capture children’s curiosity and interest. Take a gift bag andhide a book, game, object, or prop that relates to a skill or theme you are working on and sing this song to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot.”

Surprise Sack
What’s in the surprise sack?
Who can tell?
Maybe it’s a book or maybe it’s a shell.
What’s in the surprise sack?
Who can see?
It’s something special for you and me!
What’s in the surprise sack?
Who can say?
Maybe it’s a picture or maybe it’s a game.
What’s in the surprise sack
Look and see.
It’s something special for you and me!

Mystery Box

Hide something you want to talk about (book, natural object, etc.) in a box and play “20 Questions.” Children get 20 chances to ask yes/no questions to figure out what is in the mystery box. Tally the questions on the board to keep track.


*Use this as an opportunity to teach strategies that will help narrow the answer. For example: Is it living? Is it non-living? Is it something in your house? Is it a person? Place? Thing?

Imagination Bag
Give each child a paper lunch bag and explain that you are going on an imaginary trip. You can take a trip to the pumpkin patch, zoo, outer space, or any place that fits with their interests or a theme. Have them open their bags and look for something they might see on the imaginary trip. Encourage them to take turns naming objects and making imaginary places on the floor in front of them.


*Time imagination bags into concepts you want to reinforce, such as letters, shapes, sounds, etc. For example: “Who can find something in their bag that is a square?”

Sunday, June 23, 2019


Learning sight words will be more fun when you sing and move.

Karate Writing
Explain that some letters are tall. They start at the top dotted line. Some letters start at the middle dotted line. Some letters have a tail. They go below the line. Sing the “Alphabet Song” stretching up in the air for tall letters, putting hands on waist for short letters, and touching the ground for letters with a tail. For example:

     A -hands on waist

     B - hands in air

     G - touch ground 

*Let children spell names, sight words, vocabulary words, etc. with karate writing.

Sports Spell
Have children stand and pretend to dribble a basketball. Spell out words as you dribble, and then shoot the ball in the hoop as you say the word. For example:
T (bounce), H (bounce), E (bounce) ~ “the” (throw the ball in the hoop)

Adaptations: Take a batter’s position. Pretend to take a swing as you say the letters; then hit a home run as you say the word. For example:

R (swing), E (swing), A (swing), D (swing) ~ “read” (swing around)

*Let children suggest other sports where they could practice spelling words. For example, swimming, soccer, tennis, skiing, fishing…it’s endless!

Writing Wands
Make writing wands by taping strips of tissue paper to a craft stick. Children practice writing letters, words, numbers, etc. in the air with their wands.


Singing the Word Wall
Sing the word wall from a to z with the tune of “Gilligan’s Island.”

Sight Word Cadence
Children echo each line as you sing four word wall words at a time.

     There are some words you need
     If you want to learn to read.
     A   All   And   Are
     Be   Book   Boy   By…etc.

Saturday, June 22, 2019


Your students will beg, “Do it again! Do it again!” when they move with these songs.

ABC Kick Box 

Children stand and make fists with their hands. Explain that you will punch across with your right hand and say a letter. Then punch across with their left hand and make the sound.

     A – Punch with right hand
     B - Punch with left hand /b/
     C…through Z


Children stand and put their hands in the air as they say a letter. They put their hands on their shoulders and make the letter sound. As they touch their toes they say a word that starts with that sound.

     A (Hands up in the air and say “A.”)

     /a/ (Hands on shoulders and make the short /a/ sound.)

    (Say a word that starts with “A” as you touch your toes.)

*Have older children say words that are nouns, verbs, or other parts of speech as you touch your toes.

Go Letters!
Children stand and roll arms around in between making the manual signs for each letter.

Cheering Letters
Children put their hands in the air for tall letters, hands in front from middle letters, and touch the ground for letters with a tail.

Friday, June 21, 2019



Math will be so much more meaningful when children move and sing a song each morning. They’ll be oxygenating their brains and learning at the same time!

Chant and Write Cadence (Children echo each line and make "invisible" numbers in the air with their finger.)

Zero is where it all begins- (Slap thighs.)
Curve down around and up again.
Number one is so much fun—
Pull straight down and you’ve got a one.
Number two is easy to do—
Up around down and across makes two.
Number three is simple to see—
Draw two humps sideways and that’s a three.
Number four I do adore—Go down, across, then down some more.
We’ve reached five, now let’s not stop—
Pull down, circle round, put a hat on top.
Number six is easy to fix—Big curve, small loop will give you six.
Number seven is really sizzlin’—
Straight across, slant down, and that’s a seven.
Number eight isn’t very straight—Make “S” then back up for an eight.
Number nine I think you’re fine—A loop on top of a long straight line.
Number ten we’ve reached the end—
Put a one by a zero and count again: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10!
*Use other body parts, such as toes or elbows to write "invisible" numbers.

Macarena Count to 100
1 (Right arm out palm down.)
2 (Left arm out palm down.)
3 (Right palm up.)
4 (Left palm up.)
5 (Right hand on left shoulder.)
6 (Left hand on right shoulder.)
7 (Right hand behind head.)
8 (Left hand behind head.)
9 (Right hand on left hip.)
10 (Left hand on right hip.)
(Clap two times.)
That is one ten. (Hold up one finger.)

11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 (clap clap)

That is two tens.

Country Countdown 1-20
All right all you cowboys and cowgirls.
Time to count ‘em up and count ‘em down with me.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 (Kick feet as you count.)
Turn around and count back down. 20 19 18 …..

The Shape Song (Tune: “I’m a Little Teapot”)
I am momma circle round like a pie. (Hands over head in a circle.)
I’m baby triangle three sides have I. (Use 3 fingers to make a triangle.)
I am papa square my sides are four. (Draw a square in the air.)
I’m cousin rectangle shaped like a door. (Draw a rectangle in the air.)
I am brother oval shaped like a zero. (Make oval with arms over head.)
I’m sister diamond with a sparkle and a glow. (Touch thumbs and index fingers to make a triangle.)
We are the shapes that you all know. (Make circles with fingers and
Look for us wherever you go. place around your eyes like glasses.)

Thursday, June 20, 2019


There is a limit to the time that children can sit and pay attention, but this idea might help spark interest in your morning routine as you build skills. Think about having the children stand and walk around the room to face the flag, calendar, word wall, and classroom alphabet. As children stand and walk around the room you can engage them in some of the songs, movements, and interactive activities suggested.

My World
What? flag, US map, poster of handshakes, classroom rules

How? Sing a good morning song, say the pledge, do a handshake, review rules, etc.

What? calendar, weather chart, hundreds chart, daily schedule 

How? Sing songs about the days of the week or the month, review your daily schedule. Sing the weather song and have a “meteorologist” report. Count, add boys and girls, think of equations that equal the date, etc. 

Word Wall
What? word wall, flashlight, pointer, fly swatter 

How? Sing, dance, clap, and cheer words. Make sentences with words, play games, spotlight words, spell words with sign language, etc.

Alphabet Wall
What? class alphabet, pointers 

How? Sing alphabet songs and play letter recognition games. Clap on consonants and jump on vowels. Do Karate writing where children punch up high for tall letters, punch in front of them for middle letters, and give a little kick for letters with a tail. 

Hint! Even if you don’t want to do all of the above activities, it’s important to get the children up and wake up their brain with a song or movement activity.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Rules help children feel secure and know what behavior is expected of them. Here are a few simple rules that children can review with a chant and dance each morning.

Rules Rap
The rules, the rules, the rules of the classroom. (Snap fingers.)
The rules, the rules, the rules of the classroom.

Follow, follow, follow directions, (Point index fingers.)
Follow, follow, follow directions. Chorus

Feet and hands, feet and hands, (Point to feet and hands.)
Feet and hands to yourself. Chorus

Small voices inside, tall voices on the playground. (Quiet and loud voice.)
Small voices inside, tall voices on the playground. Chorus

Work together, don’t fight, or you’ll get in trouble. (Clasp hands.)
Work together, don’t fight, or you’ll get in trouble. Chorus 

Class Rule Book
After teaching the class the “Rules Rap” discuss why rules are important. Say, “I know everyone in our class has a good rule to share with us.” Give each child a sheet of paper to draw a rule. Older students can write the rule and younger students can dictate the rule. Put their rules together, make a cover, and bind to make a book. Explain that when adults agree to do something they sign a contract. Invite the children to sign their names on the book to indicate they agree to the rules. When children are doing something they shouldn’t be doing take the book and point to a page as you say, “Look, it says _______ in the book. Show me the right thing to do.” (Most of them can’t read anyway, so you can turn to any page in the book!)


Behavior Management
Circle time is the perfect opportunity to discuss behavior problems. Explain, “I’ve noticed problem. I need your help to figure out how we can solve this problem. Let’s brainstorm to see how we can fix it.”

Note!  Accept all responses and then summarize at the end.

Hint! Use a stuffed animal, puppet, or super hero to describe an issue in the classroom. Pass the toy around for children to suggest a solution.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Many schools start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance. To help children use their right hand you can put a sticker on it or make a bracelet from a pipe cleaner. An outline of the right hand near your classroom flag is another visual prompt.

Here’s a song to get the children ready to say the pledge.

We Love Our Flag (Tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”)
We love our flag.
We love our flag.
We love America
And we love our flag.

Red, white, and blue,
red, white, and blue,
The colors of our country's flag
are red, white, and blue.

Here’s the link to download the book:

Sign Language
The words in the Pledge of Allegiance will be more meaningful if you teach children how to do it in sign language.

My Flag (Tune: “When the Saints Go Marching In”)
My flag is red. My flag is white. (March in place.)
And in the corner it is blue.
My flag stands for my country.
I love red, white, and blue!

Fifty white stars on a field of blue…

We are all Americans. (March alternating fists in the air.)
And so we always say I CAN!
We try and do our best
Because we are Americans!


Class Pledge
This pledge might be more appropriate for younger children.

     I pledge to myself on this day
     To try to be kind in every way.
     To every person big or small
     I will help them if they fall.
     I will love myself and others, too.
     That’s the best that I can do!

Monday, June 17, 2019


Jokes and riddles are a delightful way to develop children’s sense of humor as well as language standards. They can be used to reinforce double meanings of words, oral language, critical thinking, and questions and statements.

Riddle a Day
Write a riddle on the board each morning. Read over the riddle at circle time. Ask the children to smile if they “get” it. Encourage students to explain the joke and “think out loud.”

*You could also let the children discuss the riddle with a partner.

Riddle Books
Make riddle books for the students by folding paper in half and stapling. After reading the riddle each day, have them draw or write the answer in their books. Discuss their answers.

Joke Show and Tell
Have a “joke” show and tell. Ask each student to have their parents help them learn a joke at home. Use a play microphone to let them stand up and perform their joke for their classmates.

Every Day’s a Holiday
Introduce different silly and random holidays to your children.  Encourage them to explain what they think it means and how we can celebrate it. Kindness day, hug day, friend day, dictionary day, write a letter day, and dog biscuit day are just a few of the interesting days you can celebrate and use as a springboard for discussions.

*My grandson's third grade teacher tied in a vocabulary word every day to the holiday.  For example, on chocolate milkshake day he taught the word SAVOR because chocolate milkshakes are so good you want to savor them!

Note! Here are several websites where you can find a holiday for each day of the year.