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Circle Time

As in many preschool classrooms, circle time provides Barbara the opportunity to promote a variety of social-cognitive skills such as listening to peers, turn taking, and collaborative problem solving. Today, Barbara brings the calendar down from the wall and asks the students to describe the weather. When there is consensus that the day is generally cloudy, Ben, a nondisabled student, selects the cloudy picture from a variety of weather pictures (such as sunny, cloudy, rainy), and places it on the calendar. Lindsay confirms this choice on her communication board.

Lindsay choosing a picture symbol to describe the weather.Lindsay points to the symbol for cloudy on her communication page about weather.

Ricky's turn is next. He has Leigh's disease, and is non-speaking with very limited use of his hands. Barbara places a unique electronic device--a toy fireman, poised at the foot of a tall ladder--in the middle of the circle. She quickly plugs Ricky's Ablenet switch into the toy's jack. When Ricky hits his switch all eyes are on the fireman who begins his slow ascent up the ladder. Barbara has mounted weather pictures at various intervals on the ladder and the speaking children sing out the names of the pictures as the fireman passes by. By now Ricky is bursting with anticipation. When the fireman reaches the "cloudy" picture on the ladder, Ricky hits his switch to "stop the fireman" and the children sing out their approval.

Barbara holding toy firemanBarbara brings out the toy fireman.

Next, students sing a song together. Today's song is "The Fish in the Sea Go Splash, Splash, Splash." Again, non-disabled students indicate the "fish" they want to sing about (e.g., crab, shark, porpoise) by choosing pictures and placing them on a chart. Sabrina uses her eye-gaze board to choose a crab and the whole class sings the song together incorporating the crab.

Sabrina also participates in the singing. She uses a small voice output device which is pre-programmed with the refrain "splash, splash, splash." As the group sings "The crab in the sea goes . . . " Sabrina positions herself to hit her switch and delights in bellowing "splash, splash, splash" with her peers.


talking headBarbara Comments on Circle Time

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP)  in collaboration with the Center for Literacy and Disabilities (CLD)  at Duke University.   NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by CLD, NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

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