Saturday, August 16, 2014

Our ECSE Classroom's Schedule: Part Three - Large Group (9:40 am - 10:00 am or 10:20am)

Welcome back to the magic that is our classroom and how it all works together.  :)

Last time we were together, I shared our highly engaging and successful 80 to 100 minutes of learning rotations.  Now it is time to all join back up at large group between 9:40 and 10:00 (depending on if we have outside time or not). 

We do so by singing this song to the tune of She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain.
It is time to go to large group with our friends,
It is time to go to large group with our friends,
Put your things away, find your chair and have a seat,
Oh, it is time to go to large group with our friends. 
Hi Friends!”
Note: We sing this song over and over again until all the students have arrived at large group.  The song helps smooth the transition.   We can sing it fast, slow, loud, or quiet depending on what the mood and needs of the classroom are.  We can also change the words a bit to fit what is happening.  For example if we are waiting for a group to get back from an errand or a potty break, we may change the last two lines of the song to, We are waiting for friends, We are waiting for our friends? Who are waiting for right now? 

By singing it until everyone joins, we have found it makes for a more successful transition and the students who arrive before others still have something to do while they wait.  They can sing and slap their knees or clap their hands whatever the lead teacher is doing while we wait.  The big thing is that there needs to be a staff person waiting for everyone to come join.  Sometimes this gets challenging as that person (usually myself) is setting up the Smartboard, helping a student whom is struggling, or getting out lapbooks and materials so sometimes we have to be creative.  I feel like how we start engagement for large group sets the tone for the rest of group time. 
You can learn more about various forms of large group and how we run opening calendar by clicking here to read three different posts on morning calendar. 

At the end of large group (10:00 or 10:20 again depending if we get outside time or not), the students get dismissed one at a time for snack by using a thematic large group game. For instances, they may each get a chance to guess the item in Santa’s bag, or play hot potato with a pumpkin ball.  When the ball lands by them they go wash their hands for snack.  The idea here is that large group ends in a staggered fashion so we limit wait time at the sink as students wait to wash their hands.  

Join me next time to learn all about our snack time routine! :) 

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