Gathering Time (or Circle Time) is when the actual teaching takes place. This can be as formal or informal as desired depending on your situation. Last year I did my teaching completely informally, though this year I am thinking that I will attempt to do it with my boys sitting down with me in front of them. Gathering time shouldn't be long and being flexible will save a lot of heartache.
Avoid doing all of the talking. It's true, that now is the teaching time, but children should be actively involved. Avoid asking answers that have a right or wrong answer to them. Use your ideas to be emphasized that you gathered from what you learned of your preassessment and find fun and interactive ways to teach the children these new concepts. Decide what message to get across and then decide how to go about doing that. Here is a list of ideas that are great to use during Gathering Time:
- role playing
- what's missing?
- treasure hunts
- guess the picture (cover picture)
- finger plays
- stories (all different types)
- memory games
Apples grow on trees
• “I have something in this box and I need your help figuring out what it is.” Give clues one at a time. If they haven’t figured it out by the end then bring it out anyway. “It is something we eat.” “It is a fruit.” “It is crunchy.” “Sometimes we eat peanut butter with it.”
• Show an apple to the children. “I have an apple here.” Show another apple that has been cut. “Apples have seeds inside them. We can take an apple seed and plant it in the ground. Pretend to take your seed and plant it in the ground.” Have the children pretend to dig a whole and put a seed in and fill it back up.
• “After a while that seed will grow until one day it grows into a tree.” Have the children curl on the floor and then slowly grow like a tree.”
• “That tree then blossoms and then apples begin to grow on it. At first the apples are small and green, but as time goes on they will turn their true color.”
• Sing, “A Little Appleseed” (sung to Itsy, Bitsy Spider)
Once a little apple seed was planted in the ground
Down came the raindrops, falling all around.
Out came the big sun, bright as bright could be
And that little apple seed grew to be an apple tree!
• “This apple turned red. “When apples turn their true color than they can be picked and we can eat them.”
• I will put up sequencing cards as we talk about each thing.
• Mix up sequencing cards. “I need your help figuring out how these cards go.” Have the children take turns putting cards up so that they are in order.
Gathering Time can be so much fun. Good luck!