Sunday, September 22, 2013

Classroom Choreography Part 4: Story Time & Movement

In addition to my main circle time, we have two other times during the day that we come together for more "circle time." It is easier to call everything that we do on the rug "circle time" so that the kiddos can make that connection between our circle time visual and sitting on their spot on the rug.

At 9:30, we have our second circle time. We all sit on our spots and go over our circle time rules. Then, we read a book. On Monday, we always read our unit book from our Read It Once Again Unit (or watch a youtube video of someone else reading it!) and on Friday we read or listen to our nursery rhyme for that unit. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we read a book related to our unit. Right now we are focusing on pets so I have a couple of books related to dogs, cats, etc. This is how story time begins every day:

(Holding up book)
Teacher: What is this?
Students (modeled by paras): a book
Teacher: (Showing sign for book) What do we do with a book?
Students: We read it.
Teacher: We read a book. We turn the pages and look at the pictures.
(Begin reading)

(Finish book)
Teacher: What do we say when we finish a book?
Students: The end.

It sounds silly to write that down but I think repetition can be so beneficial for our kids.

After reading our story we always sing the ABC song. I usually say something like "Let's sing the alphabet song. I forgot how it goes, can you sing it?"

Then we always count to 5. We'll move up to counting to 10 at some point. I usually pull some teddy bear counters out of my rainbow box- emphasizing that I am taking them "out" and putting them "on" the rug. As I pull each one out, we count it- up to 5. Then I discuss putting them back "in" the box and we count them as I drop them back in.

Because this circle time is so short, all students typically sit for the entire time. Both paras are in my room during this time and they sit on the rug and model appropriate behavior. They also model appropriate answers if my students do not immediately answer. They handle any behavior issues during this time, using visuals as needed, while I focus on reading.

At 1:45, right before dismissal, we have our final circle time. This is mainly a music & movement time in which I play youtube videos & we dance. We work on following directions, improving our gross motor skills, interacting with each other, and we have A LOT of fun. Probably the most fun of the whole day. Here are a few of the songs we love the most:

this one
this one
this one
and this one

After a song or two we have "Question time"- each student is asked one or several personal information questions-

What is your name?
How old are you?
Are you a boy or girl?
What is your teacher's name?

Then, I always end with "do you want a hug or a high five before you go home?" All of my students either say hug or go in for a hug every day. I have yet for a student to ask for a high five! Precious:)


  1. Do you have a curriculum that you use? I'm teaching a self contained class this year for the first time and my school does not have a curriculum.

  2. Hi cat g! I use the ABLLS-R to develop individual programs for my students along with the Read It Once Again units and TouchMath. I am in Georgia so I use the GELDS/ CCGPS and we are hoping to order the Unique Learning Systems this year, which are aligned with the CC. Hope this helps!