The concept of Mel’s Circle Time! Mel’s Oval Time developed quite naturally in response to a need that presented itself quickly in my classroom. Afternoons were hard for the students. The school hours were long for them. It seemed that every afternoon, my staff and I would have to work particularly hard to keep the students engaged and maintain them focused on school activities. One day, I found myself reflecting on how well our Circle Time worked in the mornings. We would sit in a circle around our activity flip-card stand and share activities that seemed to motivate and focus the students for the school day ahead. The students would all be engaged in learning at the same time. Our Circle Time took place daily in the mornings immediately after breakfast when the students needed to have their mind-set put into “school mode.” The more I reflected on the success of our morning Circle Time with the students, the more sense it made to have a similar activity in the afternoons after lunch and recess. This was when the students, once again, needed to regroup and get back into a "school mode" to finish out their day. I decided, "Why not"? I would create an afternoon set of activity flip cards similar but different to our morning Circle Time activity flip cards. I got busy brainstorming, researching, planning, visualizing, adapting, and finally creating the activities that would make up and form our afternoon version of Circle Time. When I had finished cutting up shapes, magazines, wrapping paper, and placing stickers, chenille stems, Velcro, and foam shapes, we not only had our "Circle Time," but we now had our "Oval Time" as well. I was excited! I could not wait to try it out with my staff and students. I could only hope that they would be half as excited as I was or that it would go half as well as I hoped it would . . .
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