One of my favorite things about working with a center-based district preschool is the ability to do push-in classroom based services. Those services come in different formats including joining the students in their play areas, pulling students to a table to work within the classroom, and doing whole-group lessons.
Whole group lessons have always been one of my favorite ways to get involved into the classrooms I work in. I’ve done the work a few different ways and want to tell you about three different types of whole group circle times I’ve done in a classroom.
I’ve worked in two different school district as well as in private clinics that run small groups so my comfort level leading “circle time” is pretty good. I know it can be totally overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. One year, I got plopped into a life skills middle school classroom and had to plan circle time and even there I found that circle time is something student enjoy – so have fun with it!
In each preschool, classroom settings have been made up of both Regular Education Settings (50% IEP students, 50% typical peers) and in Special Education classrooms (IEP only students). I’ve done circle time in both types of these classes. A lot of the SLPs who message me about doing circle time need some help getting started. Start with your goal. I’ve done three different type of circle times over the years. Let me tell you about them!
- Weekly Literacy Lessons
In my first preschool job, I did weekly inclusion lessons. I focused on curriculum vocabulary and language targets. Each week I picked a book and did something interactive with it with the whole class and the book. For example, I used the book The Mitten and my book companion materials and gave each student a puppet prop. As I read the story I had them come up to the front and get under a white blanket that we pretended with the mitten from the story. After the story, we focused on story comprehension, story retell, and sequencing.
2. Weekly Language Lessons
Another option I’ve done is a weekly lesson related to language skills. While there are SO many language activities to teach, I find that teaching basic concepts is a great place to start. Once you move through that you can target language functions, associations, part/whole and other vocabulary relationships. These are really critical in our young learners.
3. Monthly Phonology Lessons
This year, I’ve been using the 3:1 Flexible Scheduling Model and I use my flex week as a time to do a whole group circle time. This year, I noticed that each of my classrooms had peers with phonology errors. Once per month, I do a circle time lesson that focuses on a phonological process. I focus on one phonological process per week and do a SMARTBoard activity. This allows me to explicitly teach sounds and patterns to all students, even the peers who need some extra help.
During my next few posts, I’ll share some more ideas for how to plan a whole group phonology lesson and how to manage the behavior of a group. What questions do you have that you want me to answer? Leave a comment and let me know.
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Holly Sataloff says
Do you have these activities/ideas/book choices available for purchase on TPT???? Particularly for your literacy and language lessons?
When you write the phonology group lesson post will you include specific examples of how you introduce the topic and explain to them what they are learning?
Stacy Iannacone says
You said you used puppet prop for the mitten. I have all but the mole. Shhhh I’ve been using a platypus and calling it a mole. I have been called out by some of my higher kiddos. I’ve always felt guilty but can’t find one. Did you find one and where. I have everyone looking for me.
I am anxious to learn and see how you do the whole group phonology as well. I would like to do this with my preschoolers. Thanks for all you do. I love and buy your materials all the time. They are great!
Looking forward to hearing your ideas! Thank you!
Robin Brighton says
Thank you Jenna for sharing these great ideas. After 18 years with only K-5, I am working part time in a special ed preschool classroom, and I just feel lost. Your suggestions will be so helpful as I head back after the new year. Any ideas you can give regarding engaging this kiddos who are non-verbal would be helpful in future posts as well.
I can’t wait to read more. I have started doing push-in language lessons as well and if I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, so much the better.
Angie Anderson says
Thanks for posting your ideas! They are so interactive and all my kids love them.
Vivian Black says
I do like the concept of the weekly language lessons to help the students have a basis for the other language exercises they would be doing. That will be very helpful for them as some kids might prove to have a hard time in this areas. This is also the reason why I am planning on enrolling my child into a speech therapy session soon as I’ve noticed a lack of development in his speech patterns. Thanks!
Ave Perry says
My biggest struggle is doing push-in therapy in a a PreK class that can have up to 20 kids. Would you split the group? Or try and do your lesson for all 🙂
Thank you for posting! Very helpful!
Hi Jenna! Can you expand a bit more on center-based group ideas, please!