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Barbara Comments on Circle Time

photo-BarbaraThere are certain things we do every day because the kids need that repetition. We always do the weather and talk about what kind of day it is. We read a story or do a song. Because of the predictability, I can ask Andrew, "What are we going to do next" and he can point to "story," which gets him communicating with the group.

When kids come to circle, I make sure I don't have all my kids with disabilities sitting together. I encourage them to move around a little without being too teacherdirected. You can grab the opportunity to put the child beside a peer who can model something for them or hold a communication board for them so that they can make choices. Paying attention to how you group kids, without telling them exactly where they have to go or what they have to do, is important.

Timing is important. When we pick the song we're going to sing, I stall before we sing so that the aides have the opportunity to get the symbol they need and can grab a peer to record the repetitive line into the switch or device. The aides can put the line in themselves, but it's optimal to have a peer do it. Sometimes in advance, I tell the aides that we're going to have a choice of these three songs at circle so they can have the symbols ready.

During circle, we encourage kids to say "my turn" when they want to speak, rather than raise their hands. We make sure that our kids with special needs have the "my turn" symbol ready and that voice is loaded so that when I ask, "Whose turn is it to do the weather today?" or "Whose turn is it to dress Forgetful?" they can volunteer. I sometimes cue my aides by saying "Now it's time for the 'my turns.'

This may be a problem when typical kids go on to kindergarten and they're supposed to raise their hands, but we'll let the kindergarten teachers worry about that-they can help the kids adapt to that environment.


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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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