Circle Time Chart for Preschool

Circle Time Chart Banner

When I started thinking about setting up a classroom in my kids’ playroom, I wanted items that were movable and could be stored easily. I wanted things I could take out, use when it was classroom time and then put away. I was stumped on what to do until I found a pin one day on Pinterest. I cam e across this pin Preschool Learning Board and knew what I wanted to do.

I ran to the dollar store and got a trifold and poster board. On the poster board I drew Circle Time Chart_Centersquares to make my calendar. I had to cut down the poster board beause I didn’t need it big. Each square was 3 1/4 inches x 2 1/4 inches. I left a 1/2 inch rim around it. I glued this to the trifold, centered in the middle section.

For the numbers and months, I went to to Teacher’s Clubhouse and printed the calendar days and months. They charge $1 and up for items. For our home classroom I chose frogs. I have a home laminator so I was able to laminate all of the month pieces. Then I took white circle velcro dots on the calendar squares. I also placed one above the calendar for the month. This allows the calendar to be changed each month.Circle Time Chart_Right

On the right side I put the shape, color, and weather bear. I printed the titles on colored cardstock. I am laminated these as well. Once laminated I hot glued them to the trifold. I put velcro dots on the shape and color so that they could be changed.

For the weather bear, I glued it to a piece of cardstock and laminated the bear and the accessories which allows the girls to dress him.

For the left side I did the days of the week. On a piece of cardstock I printed “Today is…”, “Yesterday was…”, and “Tomorrow will be…”. I left a space in between so that a Circle Time Chart_Leftvelcro dot could be placed there. I created days of the week labels so that each day the girls can change them. Below this section I put a section for the letter of the week and sight word.

All of these items were laminated first. They were stored on the back of the trifold in a manilla envelope.

Each morning this trifold will come out for school time. After we are done, it will be put away. This is a fantastic way to have a bulletin board that can be put away each day. As we move into the year, I will create more trifolds for bulletin boards and centers.

Check out my post What To Do with Circle Time to see some ideas of how to use circle time in your daily teaching. Also check out my lessons for preschool on the blog.

For additional ideas here are a few pictures I found on the internet.

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Preschool Schedule

Our Preschool Schedule

This post will explain how to use each time and what is to be expected during each teaching session. I am including my time frame that I am using for the lessons so that I can show you how long each session will take. This schedule is 9 am to 2:30 pm and includes some breaks. My girls will have this schedule three days a week. I will include extra activities for those of you who would like to do this five days a week.

Sample Schedule

Circle Time – 9:00 AM

As always start the morning with Circle Time. Call the child or children down to the floor to go over the circle chart. In the first lesson, you will need to introduce circle time to them. During the first week you will need to set your expectations for this time. Usually this means that you want them to sit down and listen to your directions. They need to raise their hand to ask a question. They can come up to touch the board only when you give them permission, etc…

This is also important time to explain what they see on the circle time chart. Show them the calendar and explain that this is the calendar they will use. You can explain that the months will change and the numbers will move but that you will only move those once a month, that they are not to move the numbers for you. You can then explain the colors, shapes, etc… Explain why we are using them.

The weather bear will be the most fun for them to learn about. Explain that the weather bear is going to tell us about the weather outside. Each day they will get to dress the bear for the weather outside. They will love this part!

Letter Work – 9:15 AM

From circle time move on to letter work. On the first day introduce the letter and tell them the sound the letter makes. Have them repeat the letter and the sound. From there have them seated at a table to work on tracing the letter. You can find each week’s letter attached to the lesson. You can have them write the letter, trace in different materials such as sand or shaving cream, repeat letter sounds, find objects that start with that letter, etc… Those are all things that you do during this time.

This is also a great time to start working on the sight words of the week  or word building.

This should only take about 15 minutes. It may take a little longer during the first few weeks until the children know what is expected during this time. It will also be a little longer on days that you use sand or shaving cream due to the clean-up time.

Sight Words – 9:30 AM

During this time you should work on the sight word for the week. I have included different tasks to do with the sight words each day. It is also important to review past sight words so that your child does not forget them.

Reading – 9:45 AM

Reading lesson should start with a story. It is very important to read to your child. This is perfect for sitting down together on the floor or on the couch to just enjoy story time. During the story pause to let them look at the pictures, it is important for them to start noticing pictures and talking about what they see. This will introduce prediction and comprehension. On certain days you can have them do a picture walk with you before you read. This means that they will look at the pictures and tell you what they think is happening based on the pictures. Be sure to talk about characters and their feelings during the picture walk.

After reading the story, have the children sit down with pre-chosen books to look at pictures and tell you about the stories. This is important to for building reading curiosity as well as momentum for sitting still. If you are teaching multiple children, this is a great time for one on one reading time.

Writing – 10:15 AM (Maybe earlier or later depending on how much time is needed for reading)

During writing lesson you will need their writer’s notebook. I chose this composition book because it has space for drawing pictures. Many young children can express themselves through drawings. They relate to pictures more than words. This composition book allows for the drawing part of writing that you will begin with. For the first few weeks, your child will be learning how to hold the pencil and draw the shapes and pictures. They will begin to trace words that you have put in their book.

It is important for them to start the writing process at this age as they will be writing in Kindergarten. Each day will have different lessons and ways to write.

Math – 10:45 AM

Math time for preschool is not adding and subtracting like we are used to. This will start by identifying the numbers and learning that those numbers hold a value. Math will be counting objects, creating patterns, learning shapes, etc… Math can be an expansion of the morning circle time or can be an entirely new lesson.

I like to start the first of the week with a new concept by modeling the teaching. Then as the week goes by, they will be asked to practice that skill on their own. At the end of the week, they will be informally evaluated to see if they understand the concept. These lessons will build as you go throughout the school year.

**This time of day is usually snack time for my girls. So this is a perfect time to incorporate snack into counting or other math time. I know that we have been told not to play with our food, but this is a perfect time to learn with our food.

 

Outside Time (Physical Exercise) – 11:15 AM

This is a perfect time for a mental break. Small children cannot sit for a long time and this is the perfect time for them to move. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to go outside all of the time. I will include activities to do on those days you are stuck inside that will get them the physical movement they need.

This time is perfect for learning things like throwing and catching a ball, jumping, hopscotch, etc… You can also include Science experiments or nature walks during this time. It is also a great time to just take a break for you.

Lunch Time – 12:00 Noon

My kids normally eat around this time. It’s great to have them outside playing for about an hour and then bring them inside for lunch. This is also just a nice break for them before starting something else.

 

Technology or Quiet Time – 12:30 PM 

During this time I have my kids play learning games on their tablet or Leap pads. Technology is a newer concept that children are expected to know as they enter school. So much of our world revolves around technology so children need to learn how to use it at earlier ages. I have specific games or websites that I want them to use during this time.

I limit the time to thirty minutes because I don’t like them to spend too much time using the technology. From there it’s quiet time in my house. I require my kids to lay down quietly or play something in their quiet boxes so that they have more down time. This allows their brains to recharge a bit before we start learning again. Some children need a nap still so this is a great time to let them get that power nap.

Science or Social Studies – 1:30 PM

I list this as Science or Social Studies because you may not need to do both in the same day. Sometimes these subjects can be taught during other times of the day such as reading or outside time. These lessons are usually short. I start the week teaching the concept and like to end with a fun activity or experiment. These are both hands on type experiences that are great for their learning.

Art or Drama or Music – 2:00 PM

This is the last subject of the day. You will not teach each of these every day, sometimes you may not teach these at all in a week, it just depends on the time allotted and lesson concepts.

Art – this time is great for drawing, coloring, painting, etc… You can use the themes of the week or concepts that are being taught to incorporate into the art time. For example learning about weather, you can paint rainbows.

Music – this is a great time for kids. They love playing musical instruments. The purpose of this subject is to get them interested in music. You do not have to teach them how to play songs or grade them on their musical skills. This is simply to get them interested in music. I like to use this time for dancing, singing songs, playing instruments, etc… You can put on your own “rock band” or “concert” as a fun way to include music.

Drama – this is basically imaginary play. Let your child play dress up, with babies, building towers, etc…, anything that they want to pretend and play. You can play with them or just observe them playing. This is not a structure learning time. It’s a time to allow them to be creative through play.

You can skip the quiet time, shorten the outside time, whatever you need to make this work for your schedule. Like I stated before, this is what I am doing with my children, you need to make this work for your family.

I’d love to hear your feedback on lessons that you have taught or ideas that you have for teaching preschoolers. Please post your comment below.

Please check back for the weekly lessons that I am using to teach Preschool to my girls.

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Mother's Day 2016

Mother's Day

I love this painting of the roses. This picture means many different things to me. It reminds me of my mother and grandmothers. The large red and yellow roses make me think of my completely opposite twin girls. The budding rose is my sweet baby boy. 

Mother’s Day has changed so much over the years for me. Five years ago Mother’s Day was about my mother and mother-in-law. In those years, it was celebrating the life that they had given them, a time to say thanks and show our love for the life they had worked so hard to provide for us. Now that I have three children, it’s a celebration for them.

I call it a celebration of my children because they do not understand the concept of appreciating their mother for all that she has done. They think it’s a fun day that revolves around them with Mommy. This is perfectly fine with me. I know that someday they will have that appreciation but for now, it is just one more holiday to celebrate their existence.

Mother’s Day started with Brooke tip-toeing into our bedroom, as she does every morning by 7:15. This time Joel took her into the playroom to spend some time with her and let me sleep a little more. By 8 am the baby was awake and ready to nurse so he and I spent some quiet time in our bedroom. I had heard a few things going on in the kitchen and figured that Joel was makiing Brooke breakfast. Bailey was still sleeping so everyone was staying pretty quiet.

At about 8:30 the girls brought me breakfast in bed. They had seen a commercial on the Disney Junior channel where one family had breakfast in bed for mom. Thank you Disney Junior for this sweet idea! Of course, breakfast in bed meant that everyone had breakfast in Mommy’s bed. Normally we do not eat in our bedrooms but this was just a fun idea so we let it happen.

Joel and Brooke made eggs, pancakes, hashbrowns, and bacon with blueberries on the side. Brooke was very proud of herself that she was able to help daddy. 🙂 It was really sweet and we all enjoyed our breakfast in bed experience.

After breakfast and getting dressed for the day we took the girls to the hardware store to get the replacement ceiling fans we have needed for our house. It may have been mother’s day but we still needed to do things around the house.

When we returned from the store, we took the girls in their wagon to our neighborhood park. They LOVE wagon rides and the park so this was a special time for us. I brought my camera along with us to take some fun pictures of time at the park. Mason and I hung out in the shade under a tree. He enjoyed snuggle time with Maggie, our pet dog, and watching the birds fly above our heads.

We stayed at the park until lunch time. Brooke did not want to ride in the wagon on the way home so we propped Mason up with blankets and buckled him in for his first wagon ride. He liked it because he could sit up and see what was going on. Brooke liked being able to walk like a “big girl”.

The rest of the afternoon was relaxing around the house. We installed one ceiling fan, with the help of the entire family. Followed up by playing in the splash pad in the backyard.

Our Mother’s Day was not about a fancy brunch or shopping or anything about me. It was about having fun with the kids and doing things as a family. In my opinion, this made our Mother’s Day fun.

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Mason: 4 Months

Baby Monthly Updates

Mason turned 4 months old on Mother’s Day. It is amazing to see how much he has grown in the past four months as well as how much of a blessing he has been to all of us. I must admit, these past four months have been a huge adjustment to everyone in our family but we have survived.

Watch Him Grow

Mason was 8 lbs 2 oz at birth. You can see his past months measurements here at Mason One MonthMason Two MonthsMason Three Months. Here are his current measurements:

Weight: 16 lbs 6 oz

Height:  25 inches

He has doubled his weight plus 2 oz since birth. His height and weight combined puts him in the 83 percentile for his age. This is amazing to me because the girls were so small compared to him. Bailey and Brooke – 4 Months

He is currently in 3-6 or 6 month onesies and sleepers, depending on the brand 6 month shorts and rompers.

What He Can Do

Mason has learned to jump in his jumperoo and has become really good at it. He spends most of his time jumping in the jumperoo if he can. He prefers to be sitting up right where he can see everything now. Now usually this means in my lap or by daddy or I holding him. We have tried putting him in the bumbo but he HATES it. Tummy time has become a real issue. Mason will scream hysterically when placed on his tummy. He does not enjoy it and it becomes something that we avoid.He thinks that he can stand up and often times tries to stand when we hold him. When laying down he can pivot on his back and is constantly moving those legs when on his tummy.He loves sitting with us in his high chair and is showing a lot of interest in food and spoons. He will chew on a baby spoon while the rest of us eat dinner so I think I am going to start cereal within the next few days.

4 Month Checkup

Mason had a check up with the pediatrician. During this visit we discussed his growth, sleeping (his four month regression of sleep), starting baby food. Mason is growing appropriately for his age. This past weekend Mason started waking up throughout the night again. It has been exhausting! I mentioned this to the pediatrician and she reminded me of the four month regression in sleep. Where all babies go through a lack of sleep around this growth spurt. I had forgotten about this with the girls, and am disliking it.

We also talked about starting baby food. The doctor told me that Mason was at the appropriate age to start baby food if that was what we wanted to do. Of course she reviewed the fact that he still needs breastmilk most of the day and that we have to spread out the new foods between 3 to 5 days so that reactions are known as to which food. I always start with rice cereal first then move to veggies and fruits. I can only imagie that he will hate the rice cereal the way that my girls did. I made all of their baby food and plan to do the same for him. So it looks like I need to get started on making it and freezing it. (Check back for some recipes).

Another thing we talked about was the tummy time. My concern was that he has acid reflux. This was an issue that Brooke had and she hated tummy time. Mason does not spit up as much as Brooke did at his age. She agreed that is what it sounded like to her so we are trying acid reflux medication for a few weeks to see if it works. If he stops crying when on his tummy and stops spitting up, he will remain on the medication until we know that the acid reflux is gone.  Brooke was only on it about 4 months before she was over it, I have high hopes he will be the same.

Becoming A Babywise Mom

Babywise Schedule

During this fourth month we finally were able to transition Mason to sleep the 11-7, 8 hour schedule. We have tried for several months and only this past two weeks has he slept 11-7. The next transition is right around the corner but I think that he won’t be ready until he is eating solids.

7:00 AM – He wakes up. I change him and get him dressed for the day. Then I feed him. He usually eats about 4 oz or nurses for 10+ minutes. From here he is awake for about an
hour and a half to two hours. During this time we are usually taking the girls to school, running errands or heading to bible study. If we are home, he plays on his tummy and on his back, rotating every 15 minutes or so. Sometimes he is in the jumperoo for play time. About 8:30 he will fall asleep for a quick 20 minute nap.

9:30 AM – I wake him up from his nap. I change his diaper and then he eats about 4 oz or nurses for 10 minutes. This one is a day to day change on naps. Sometimes he will go straight to sleep and other times he will be awake for an hour before sleeping. I try to keep him up but if he is tired, there is no use.  I put him in his bed for this nap.

12:30 PM  – I wake him from his nap again. I change his diaper, and then he eats about 4 oz or nurses for 15 minutes. He falls asleep right after this feeding. Sometimes he sleeps an hour and a half, and other times 20 minutes.

3:00 PM – I change his diaper and feed him. He eats about 4 oz or nurses 15 minutes. He is usually awake about an hour after this feeding time. He will stay awake for a little while after this feeding as it’s usually when the girls come home. He will fall asleep around 4:30 for 30 to 45 minutes.

5:30 PM – If he has had a nap, I wake him, and change him. Then I feed him 4 oz or nurse him 15 minutes. He again stays awake for about an hour after this feeding. During this time I am cooking dinner so he gets tummy time, time in the swing, or snuggle time with Joel. He stays awake until the next feeding.

6:45 PM – This is bath time for him. I schedule his bath time just before a feeding time as it usually wakes him up and he is hungry during this time. If I feed him before the bath, he will spit it up during the bath. I learned that lesson with the girls.

7:00 PM – I nurse him for about 15 minutes before putting him to bed.

11:00 PM– I wake him to nurse or take a bottle. He usually nurses about 10 minutes and then is back to sleep. He won’t wake until 7 am most nights.

Up Next in Babywise scheduling

He will have his next transition between 16 and 24 weeks that will drop him to five feeding schedules a day. During this time he will be introduced to baby food so this will help with the dropping of feedings.

Mason’s next schedule should be the following:

7 AM – wake and feed
9:30 AM – wake and feed
12:30 PM – wake and feed
3:30 PM – wake and feed
6:00 PM – wake and feed (stay awake until bedtime)
8:00-9:00 PM – feed & bedtime

This should drop his current 11 pm feeding time.

Four Month Pictures

IMG_5786 IMG_5900 IMG_5964 IMG_5965 IMG_6051 IMG_6052 IMG_6054 IMG_6055

This month, we had our first splash pad experience. With our weather in the 90s, it has been perfect weather for running through the sprinklers and the splash pad. Well as you can tell from the pictures, Mason hated the splash pad. Mommy was not really excited about it either. It was freezing! Although it was 93 at that time, the outside water was freezing.

Coming up soon

  • Mason’s 5 Month update
  • Preschool Lessons
  • Mother’s Day

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