Circle time: Changes
13 February 2008Add to My Folder
Learning to accept change is a big part of growing up. Deliver this theme with creative circle time
This article was originally written in the context of the SEAL programme (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning), but these circle time activities could be used within PSHE education, or to address specific issues which arise in your classroom.
Change inevitably happens to everyone throughout life. Some of these changes are unwelcome, while others are unexpected and surprising. Many children find the concept of change unsettling, and need to learn strategies to cope.
Such children also need to learn that they can make changes for themselves. They have, for instance, a considerable amount of power to improve the way they approach learning tasks. This requires motivation, persistence and a high enough level of self-esteem to see the outcome as worth the effort. It is therefore vital that we give children the skills that enable them to change their behaviour and attitudes in a positive way.
Session 1 The power wand
Developing a positive attitude to change.
Hold up a decorated wand (a card star attached to a straw and covered with aluminium foil will suffice). Demonstrate an action for the child next to you to copy. Ask them to pass the action onto the child next to them, and so on. Once a few children have repeated the action, hold up your wand. The child who is in the process of doing the action must now do a new action for the next child to copy.
Talk about power and how it can be used. Using the wand as a speaking object, invite each child in turn to complete this sentence: If I had power I would…
Ask for a child to volunteer to expand on their wish using the following format: If I had the power to…, I would…
If children struggle with the sentence, provide them with a suitable example, for instance: If I had the power to get a bigger house, I would have six bedrooms so that I wouldn’t have to share with my sister.
Let the children choose a ‘call to power’, such as ‘hooray’ or ‘hey yah’. Everyone can join in the call when you hold up the wand of power.
Sitting with their hands in their laps and eyes closed, lead the children in taking five long, slow, deep breaths.
Session 2 Change happens
Coping with unwelcome change.
Ask everyone who is wearing blue socks (or another colour) to change places. Continue with other such ‘differences’ until everyone is sitting in a new place in the circle.
Using a suitable speaking object, invite each child, in turn, to complete the following sentence: I don’t like it when…
Talk about a well-known storybook character who has to cope with unexpected change, for example Snow White when her father remarries. Ask the children to think about Snow White’s emotions. How might she have felt? What did she do to cope? (She enjoyed being a good, helpful friend to seven dwarves.)
Encourage the children to give their own ideas on how to stay happy when changes occur. Can they offer any suggestions for other children in the group who are coping with an unwelcome change?
Let the children return to their original places in the circle. Then pass a smile around the group.
Ask the children to sit with their hands in their laps. Tell them to breathe out all their feelings of worry and breathe in feelings of calm and joy.
Session 3 Better and better
Getting better at our learning.
Ask the children to copy as you mime some of their daily school activities, such as painting a picture or reading a book. Talk them through each activity as you mime it.
Using a suitable speaking object, invite each child to complete the following sentence: I am good at…
Put some everyday classroom items on the floor, such as rulers, paint brushes, picture books, cubes, and so on. Invite one child at a time to choose an item and either show or talk about how it is used in the classroom. Can they explain how it increases their learning?
Praise the children for their knowledge about the things that help us learn. Say that the children should give themselves a round of applause for being such good learners.
Let the children curl up on the floor and ‘rest’ for a few minutes. ‘Wake’ them gently by whispering into each child’s ear, before asking them to all stand up and stretch.
For more resources, or for information on the Whole-School Quality Circle Time Consultancy visit www.circle-time.co.uk