Monday, January 20, 2014

"Circle Time" Bulletin Board

I finally put the finishing touches on our "circle time" bulletin board.  As I mentioned previously, I'm "pseudo-homeschooling" Jane and Walt to help us find more of a schedule at home.  Hands down, their favorite part of our new schedule is "circle time."  (I'll be writing a post about our schedule and schedule chart later this week or early next week.)

During "circle time," I lay out a blanket for everyone to sit on.  I sit with my back to the bulletin board, and Jane and Walt face me.  Here's the board:

I'll describe our routine with the board before showing you up-close pictures:

We sit "criss cross applesauce" and begin circle time with prayer.  We say the "Morning Offering."  Just a few weeks into the month, Jane and Walt already know it!

After the Morning Offering, we pray for the Person of the Week.  The Person of the Week is a friend, family member, or other person that we pray for Sunday-Saturday.  We print off the person's photo to go on the Person of the Week purple sheet, and we print off 3 intentions that we will pray for that week for that person.  We try to contact the Person of the Week ahead of time to ask them for their intentions.  

After prayer, we move on to the calendar.  I ask for my "special helper" to help me.  Jane and Walt alternate days.  The "special helper" helps stick the day of the week, month of the year, date, and Saint of the Day to the calendar.  We mention which mysteries of the Rosary we pray for that day of the week and look at the Happy Saints Liturgical Calendar to see what we are celebrating next Sunday at Mass.  The special helper also puts the "Yesterday," "Today," and "Tomorrow" sticks in their appropriate pockets.  We sing our "Days of the Week" song at this point.  Then, we put the arrows on the appropriate month/season and talk about today's weather.

At this point, my "special helper" goes back to their spot on the blanket, and we stand up for our morning stretches.  We do 10 jumping jacks followed by a bunch of stretches.     

So, how did I make it?

I used:

  • 1 4' x 3' bulletin board (on clearance from an office supply store)
  • 1 calendar kit from a teacher supply store
  • Templates for Saints of the Day, Day of the Week pockets, "This Sunday Is", etc. from Sanctus Simplicitus' Liturgical Year Bulletin Board
  • Velcro squares
  • Laminator & laminating pockets
  • Cardstock
  • Brads to spin the arrows
  • Laptop & printer to print off our prayers

The Month:

I used the teacher supply calendar board and "Today's Date" box rather than the Sanctus Simplicitus Liturgical Year template.  I attached velcro squares so that the kids could attach the day of the week, month of the year, and date.  Then, I attached velcro squares to the empty calendar, and I attached the opposite side of the velcro square to the Saints of the Day.  I printed these saints from the Sanctus Simplicitus blog.  (This is a good time to mention that the blogger is a sedevacantist.  This is a schismatic group that does not follow the current liturgical calendar.  However, many of the materials on the blog are very beautiful and useful for circle time.  You'll just find some minor differences in the liturgical calendar, saints, and other places like the mysteries of the Rosary, so know that ahead of time.)  I am trying to stay one month ahead with the Saints of the Day, and I make any revisions that are necessary to bring the saints up to date.

There is a tradition in the Church to have special devotions on each day of the week.  (For example, Sunday is "Blessed Trinity," Monday is "Souls in Purgatory," Tuesday is "Holy Angels," etc.)  I used these pockets from the Sanctus Simplicitus blog to help the kids practice their days of the week.  They put "Yesterday," "Today," and "Tomorrow" craft sticks in the appropriate pockets each day.

I took this picture before attaching our family member's face to the purple person of the week paper.  I attach an index card or small sheet of paper with that person's weekly intentions on the green page.  I put velcro squares on the Joyful Mysteries image (also found on Sanctus Simplicitus).  I had to create my own Luminous Mysteries image because sedevacantists split from the Church before Blessed John Paul II introduced the Luminous Mysteries. 

Weather and prayers: 

I used the teacher supply materials for the weather and season portion of our circle time board.  I simply laminated the card stock, laminated the arrows, and stuck brads into them so that the kids could point the arrows to the corresponding month/kind of weather/season. 

Below our season and weather section are our daily prayers.  I typed these up on my own.  I created a "Morning Offering" and "The Angelus."  I want to start praying The Angelus with the children at noon or as close to it as possible.  I love the 19th century painting called "The Angelus" of the French peasants pausing from their work to pray.  Below those prayers is our Prayer to St. Joseph (our family's patron saint for 2014).  I imagine I'll switch out some of these prayers as the children master them and are ready to move on to others.      

Liturgical Calendar:

I wasn't able to use the liturgical calendar from the other blog, but I did use the "This Sunday Is" template.  I purchased and printed this adorable liturgical calendar from Happy Saints.  It's an e-poster that prints off on 8.5" x 11" paper.  I laminated mine before attaching it to the bulletin board.  I typed up what's happening in the 2013-2014 liturgical calendar every Sunday, and I put those words (for example: "Ordinary Week 3") in the "This Sunday is:" box.  Here is that doc.  I love having the liturgical calendar in visual format so that the kids have a better understanding of where we are in the calendar in relation to the seasons of Advent and Easter.  They love the bright colors and kid-friendly pictures.  

So, what do I do with all of the extra pieces?  I have the pieces separated by kind in sandwich bags inside of a canvas tote.  Maybe I'll upgrade to a desktop hanging file system or something like that down the road.  For now, the sandwich bags are getting the job done.  Before we start circle time each morning, I get out the pieces that we'll need.    

We love our bulletin board, and we are loving our circle time!  

What would you include in your bulletin board?  Do you have any suggestions of things you would add? 



  1. Thanks so much for posting this! I've been really enjoying reading through your blog (even into the early morning hours when I can't sleep) - so many awesome posts that hit home... I'll try and leave comments on my other favorites!

    1. Erin,
      Sorry that it's taken me forever to reply! I'm terrible at returning blog comments. Thank you so much for all of your responses and feedback!