Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Circle Time, 8/7/12

Of all the programs I have done this summer - which I know is a lot, even without counting - I really think Circle Time has been the most fulfilling. No other program has challenged me to really up the ante and take risks, and no other group of kids has been more attentive, engaged, and adorable (except maybe my baby lap time babies). There is only one session left, and I can already tell I'm going to miss  these guys.

Today, I did a fairy tale theme, and to give the program some structure, I created a chart for the kids to help me complete. The inspiration for the chart came from a blog called Chalk Talk, which is filled with ideas for early childhood educators. I took the ideas I found there and adapted them.

When we started out, the only things on the chart were the items we might find in the fairy tales I planned to read. The chart paper on the left side has a castle, a giant, and a wolf, and the chart on the right-hand side has a princess, a prince, magic, a forest, and a happy ending. We identified each one before we started, then got down to the business of reading. After each book, we stopped to go over the chart and see which elements were included in the story we read.  We assigned a symbol to each story and placed that symbol next to the elements that story had.

Our chart, when finished, looked like this:

As I go through the story time below, I will share the symbols associated with the books, as well as the elements they did/did not include.

Opening Song (with ukulele): Hello, how are you? 
I had the ukulele on hand, so I decided to sing the hello song with it. That was a good decision - discussing the ukulele broke the ice, and  the kids seemed to like the change of pace.

Book: Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox, illustrated by Lydia Monks (2003)
I think this is the most hilarious picture book ever, but not one of the kids laughed. I don't know if they just don't think it's funny, or if the original story wasn't familiar enough for them to understand. I think they liked it, it was just weird that they were dead silent through the entire story.

Our symbol for this book was Rapunzel's braid. The fairy tale elements we found were a castle, a princess, a prince, and a happy ending.

Song: There is Clapping in the Castle
I sang one verse then asked the kids what else we could do in the castle.

Their responses:

  • Pat your knees (There is patting in the castle...)
  • Drum (There is drumming...)
  • Guitar (There is playing...) - Strumming would have been a better action word. I'll have to remember that. 
  •  Stomp your feet (There is stomping...)
  • Turn the lights on and off (I took this as a real suggestion because of the child it came from and said we couldn't really do that one.)
  • Turning around (There is turning...)
Book: The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be by Mini Grey (2003)
Well, thanks to SuperWhy, some of the kids at least had heard of  this story. They were still kind of quiet, but seemed slightly more relaxed and interested in what was happening.

Our symbol for this book was a pea. The fairy tale elements we found were a castle, a princess, a prince, magic (because the pea could talk to us), and a happy ending.

Book: Jack and the Beanstalk by Nina Crews (2012)
I am not crazy about this story, but it was the traditional tale with modernized illustrations, which is why I included it. The kids didn't understand the ending, but they did like the golden eggs.

Our symbol for this book was a beanstalk. The fairy tale elements we found were a giant, magic, and a happy ending.

Song: One Seed by the Laurie Berkner Band

Book: Red Riding Hood by James Marshall (1987)
I forgot about the violence at the end of this book (the wolf is killed and cut open) and skipped quickly past it when we got there, so it wouldn't be too traumatic. The joke on the last page, where Red Riding Hood does not talk to the alligator in the woods, got a good laugh.

Our symbol for this book was a basket of goodies. The fairy tale elements we found were a wolf, a forest, and a happy ending. 

Song (with flannel board): The First Pig Built His House Out Of Straw
I saw the idea for this song at an early education discussion board. I happened to know "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock" from my own childhood copy of  Wee Sing Bible Songs, and immediately started practicing the tune. For the flannel board, I used the pieces (in color) from this set at preschoolprintables.com. I didn't know whether the kids would like it or not, but it turned out to be a big hit - lots of the kids sang along with me!

Our symbol for this story was a pig face. The fairy tale elements we found were a wolf and a happy ending.

Book: Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Caralyn and Mark Buehner (2007)
Wow, this book is long. But the kids really stuck with it, possibly because of the promise of bubble time ahead. The story is also in really fun, fresh rhyming text, which really grabbed the kids' attention.

Our symbol for this book was a family of bears. The fairy tale elements we found were a forest and a happy ending.

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

This entire program, with bubbles, took 50 minutes. I was amazed at how quickly that time went!

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