Today during group time, there were a lot of strong emotions that happened during the transition period preceding it. Once we were all sitting, there were some children yelling, some crying, some with their hands over their ears. I looked around and said, "I noticed a lot of strong feelings with everyone. I wonder what would help all of us feel better?" Within a moment someone suggested, "Lets write down our favorite types of candy!"
Making lists is one of our favorite past times during group. We pick a topic and everyone gets a chance to add to it. Sometimes it's a never ending list, other times it is a very specific topic, and today everyone was going to have their name up on the paper. I took this opportunity to play a game. This is how it went.
"I'm going to write a name on the paper. It might be yours! Watch what I'm writing and see if you can read the name before I say it. Everyone gets a turn. When I say your name, you can tell me what your favorite is! While you're waiting to hear your name, think about what you want to say when it's your turn. Hold it quietly in your mind."
Everyone was ready, attention focused on what I was going to write. This game lasted longer than most and helped us gather together before our morning snack. Playing a game like this gave us a chance to practice and model phonics, letter recognition, waiting for your turn, listening, observation and noticing ("Oh we both love chocolate!"), and creative thinking.