Opening (morning) circle

So who is back into your school routine?  This is day two back from break for me and my boys and I are dragging.  I am hoping sharing my opening circle (which is sometimes morning circle, depending on the time of day).

This is my calendar board for this year, but I threw up the sight word song so you could see how it fit.  I only do colors if the group needs it.  My calendar only focuses on one week at a time.  I have a sight word of the week and number of the week posted. I make minor changes each year depending on what the group needs (level of difficulty, music, movement, etc).

If the group or parts of the group are ready, they have individual binders that they use in addition to our board. I will talk more about the binders as we go through the routine. This post will focus on the kids that use the binders. I will do another post about the years where we do not use the binders.

Sit at the rainbow table.  Bring over whiteboard on easel (some years my calendar board is stationary, others it moves).
  • Hold up binder and ask which student it belongs to. (This helps with name identification, communication, etc. Once they get it down, then I would ask a student to hand out all of the binders to their classmates while I asked about marker colors.)
  • Ask each student what color marker they would like (Use “I want” picture cues and have them say the sentence)
  • Students trace or write their name on the first page.

  • Turn the page and complete the Daily Calendar

Daily Calendar
  • Teacher asks "what month is it?" Students verbally respond if they can or point in binder ( or use communication device). Students circle the month in the binder.
  • Sing months of the year song (I keep my music on an iPod, but other years I have used a cd player). Students point to months as we are singing.

  • Have a student put up number for the day in the calendar(Sometimes we count it out starting at 1, then when I get to whatever numbers we have up I start pointing and then when we get to the next number we say it and add it, other times we start wherever our calendar is)
  • Read days of the week together on the calendar. Identify Today is, Yesterday was, Tomorrow will be. Students circle in book.

  • Sing days of the week song (on ipod).  Someone can point to the days on the calendar.

  • Ask students what the weather is like outside.  (Everybody look out the window! What is the weather today?)
  • Put up weather card.  Students circle weather in their binder. The pictures in the binder are made to try to match the pictures that we use on our calendar.

Number of the week: (I put up a new number each week that we need to work on frrm 1-50, but you could easily do this for 1-100)
  • Turn to next page in book.  Point to the number on the board.  What is our number this week?  Students can answer out loud or point.
  • Students find the number of the week and color it in on the chart in their binder.
  • Have each student say the number ( or best approximation or use their communication device)
  • Stomp your feet/clap your hands and count by 1’s to to the number (you can also count by 2’s, 5’s etc) (Students like to high five each other for this part)

Sight word of the week: (I put up a new sight word each week to practice. This word is also posted outside my classroom door to read when they come in)
  • Read the word.  Sing sight word song…. (check out this post for more on our sight word song)
  • Write the word under the numbers in book

Poem: (I change this out with my units)

  • We all read the poem together, while  students point to the words in their books.  Hand over hand is given if needed. Students then read it independently to the class.  With a big group they could read it to each other or only one or two read a day.  
  • I ask the students to circle a word in the poem or a particular picture.  For example, when doing a money poem, I also had pictures of the coins.  We would circle the nickel, put an x on the quarter, make a box around the dime, etc. In a poem about spring, I asked the students to circle the word this or the picture of the bee.
 There you have it! This is one of my favorite parts of the day. My pre-k opening circle looks different but still covers a lot. I will post about that on another day.

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  1. I like the layout of your pages. I teach a middle school modified classroom with students who have profound disabilities, this layout is very simple and large which would be great for them! Do you have a link for these? Also where do you get your music from? I'm looking for something that is musical but is also age appropriate for my students.

    1. HI Cassandra! I am sending you an email!


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