There is no doubt about it that one of the favorite and most-loved circle time activities I do is Question of the Day. My class looks forward to it each time, and some of them even bring their parents over to see it at the end of the day. Talk about making my teacher heart burst!
Sometimes it feels like there’s so much to do in a day and so little time to do it. And when it comes to circle time, it might feel like we have a lot we want to go over but their attention spans are itty bitty. Children start to lose focus around 10 minutes when they are sitting still.
That means two important things to me.
- I need to be very intentional about what I focus on in circle time. I am super picky now when it comes to circle time activities. I want to do circle time activities that add true value to my class that they actually love to do. I don’t want to have to stop every few minutes to address behavior. We don’t have time for that! After doing circle time for about 15 years and seeing other amazing teachers do it too, I just skip to the best activities that keep children’s attention and get them excited to come over when I say that circle time is starting.
- There needs to be some movement and engagement all throughout circle time. When we know that children only have those precious and quick 10 minutes of sitting in them before we start to lose them, we need to use this to our advantage. And in preschool, we get to have classes that are interactive and fun. After preschool, most children won’t get those fun and magical moments that are the highlight of preschool. I always start circle time with action and movement songs or dance songs because then I know that their brains are ready to listen. They’ve crossed the midline, and now they can concentrate and focus better as they listen to me and their friends in the class.
See my Circle Time 101 post for more of my best circle time ideas!
Question of the Day
So why I do decide to go with Question of the Day as one of my treasured preschool circle time activities?
I noticed that during circle time, a lot of times when I call on a child they would tell me about something completely unrelated to what we were talking about. They would want to tell me a story about what they did over the weekend. Or about the funny thing their pet did that morning.
At first, I was asking myself, “Is anyone even listening to me?!? My question had nothing to do with that.”
But then it hit me.
Children want to use large group time to share with the class about themselves.
As someone who loves to use my own student’s interests and cues to help guide my teaching, I decided that we could come to a good balance with some good old Question of the Day prompts.
My students would be interested in it because they would get that chance to release their burning desire to talk about themselves. And I also loved what they would be learning at the same time.
Question of the Day Skills
Now let’s get down to the nitty, gritty of using Question of the Day.
What are children actually learning during Question of the Day?
Let’s talk literacy skills. Question of the Day in preschool and kindergarten helps teach:
- Print awareness
- Letter recognition
- Sentence structure
And now math skills. Question of the Day helps children learn about:
They are even developing those super important social/emotional skills by:
- Developing classroom community
- Practicing listening to their classmates
- Learning to take turns
There are lots of ways to do Question of the Day. That’s the out-of-the-box person in me talking. To begin question of the day, many teachers like to start with yes/no questions to get their preschoolers used to making quick decisions and interpreting simple data.
As we begin to get comfortable with our routine, I love to ask questions that are more open-ended or have an answer that they can quickly choose. An added bonus is that it also gives you lots more ways to graph the children’s answers, and as a person who loves graphs, charts, and data, this is right up my alley.
We use it to dive into important topics, silly ideas, to play games, and to laugh with one another.
There are so many topics or preschool themes you can use for Question of the Day, but I have included some favorite topics that I can use any time of the year for Question of the Day:
- Emotions and Feelings
- My Name, Letters, Vowels
- Which Do You Prefer?
This is what I based my Question of the Day prompts on. These are great for anyone who is looking to have another meaningful activity for their circle time, someone who has never done Question of the Day before, and anyone who likes to have circle time ideas ready to go ahead of time.
Question of the Day Color Prompts
For colors, my absolute favorite question, which happens to be theirs too, is, “What’s your favorite color?”
Then we graph it by each color. I like to let my students come up and put their own name under the color they selected.
That way I’m incorporating some simple hands-on interaction and movement since they are helping too by walking up and finding their name.
Plus, lots of other color questions including, “What color are your eyes? What color are your shoes?” Or connecting colors to animals is lots of fun too!
Question of the Day Shape Prompts
My favorite part of the Question of the Day shape section is the game, “What Am I?”
It gives clues to help children figure out which shape is being used.
The more interactive I make circle time, the more my little learners want to participate. And games are always a winner.
Question of the Day Emotions and Feelings Prompts
Social/emotional skills are one of the most overlooked skills in the preschool years, but it is one of the most important times to practice them.
I make it a daily practice to talk about our feelings.
Plus, it makes a perfect question of the day for preschool.
When I talk about feelings and emotions during circle time, I can make it our entire circle time topic if that’s what I’m aiming for that day. I’ll ask the children about questions that will get them thinking and help them relate their feelings to words. But then again, if I just want to make it simple and quick, then I don’t dive as deep into our questions.
Question of the Day My Name Prompts
A teacher friend and I were talking about the importance of using our students names throughout the day, especially in a positive way.
Lots of times when children hear their names, it’s followed by, “don’t do that” or “stop that.”
Displaying children’s names in positive ways is a game-changer, and I like to do it in as many ways as I can think of.
So each day at circle time we sing one another’s names with welcome songs and we talk about them for the question of the day.
Plus, the letter cards and alphabet question cards encourage children to use the letters in other ways. We have used them to find items in the room that begin with that letter sound. We have also had lengthy discussions about why some of the letters are red (vowels) and some of the letters are blue (consonants). There are so many options for great literacy building with these question of the day cards!
Question of the Day Which Do You Prefer Prompts
Opinions run strong in preschool! My preschoolers adore answering opinion questions…sometimes they struggle to pick just one but this prompt helps them to make decisions and explore the likes/dislikes of their classmates. They love to see which one the teacher will choose and I save that until the very end for the grand finale!
They love to think of their own which do you prefer items too. We often spotlight children who have come up with new comparisons and then we use them for our next question of the day!
Question of the Day Rhyming Prompts
Using these question of the day rhyming prompts turns rhyming into such a fun game! Kids love to figure out additional words that rhyme with the rhyming card too. Plus on the days when the words don’t rhyme, it’s a great opportunity to talk about why they don’t rhyme but perhaps what they have in common like both seed and sun begin with the /s/ sound.
Question of the Day Animal Prompts
Probably the topic that children love to talk about the most is animals!
And it goes far beyond the preschool years. In second grade, my daughter’s class had a guinea pig, and she had guinea pigs on the brain 24/7 for months. She wrote about them, researched them, drew pictures, and couldn’t think of much else besides guinea pigs.
Each child has that one type of animal that they are fascinated by or just love.
So I came up with circle time lesson plans that involved animals in my Question of the Day activities.
I like to spend about a week on each topic. Topics such as animals can go on for ages, and you could do different animals each month. There are so many possibilities with it. Other topics that we love to ask questions about are holidays, insects and bugs, or whatever theme we are working on for the week.
Question of the Day Printable Cards
Overall, it’s important to make the question of the day a time when it is simple for you to implement. No one has tons of prepping time, and Question of the Day should be easy and not a burden. For years, I just wrote out Question of the Day on easel paper or a whiteboard.
If I can’t easily do a Question of the Day idea, then it just doesn’t happen. I have a tendency to overcomplicate things, so my system is easy-peasy.
I made my own Question of the Day printable cards so that each time I do Question of the Day now, it’s all set and easy to use on different classes. Once you prep it once, it’s all set forever.
And can I be honest? I learned a few years ago that as much as I love laminating my teaching materials, I love not having to laminate them even more!
So when it comes to Question of the Day, I have a secret. I print them out on photo paper instead of regular paper. That way they are all pretty and glossy, and I wasn’t spending the day cutting and laminating. All I do is print and cut once. Laminating still has its benefits, but I just love that shortcut.