Make Mornings Easier!
Morning time can be chaotic! In my classroom, kids were trickling in at different times. They were excited and always chatting. I was being pulled in a million different directions from students, other teachers popping in, phone calls from the office. It was difficult to get my students to settle. Not to mention finish the responsibilities I had to get to before we started our day.
Here are some tips and ideas to help you establish a solid morning work routine. Hopefully, these tips will help you put a little sanity back in your morning.
How Morning Work Can Help
Morning work time was essential to my classroom management routines. And my sanity.
It was important to start each day with the same routines, which would keep my students calm and engaged in meaningful work.
I wanted students to work independently for the first fifteen minutes of the day, so I could get attendance done, check parent notes, or address any issues that may have arisen with individual students before school.
For me, a calm and quiet environment was just as important for my students as it was for me. I wanted to create an environment where students could come to relax, destress from the morning chaos, and establish a purpose and focus for the day.
(This wasn’t the way the environment all day. I had many opportunities for hands-on activities, collaboration, group and partner work, and discussion throughout the day. However, I found more success by keeping important transition times, like mornings, calm and quiet.)
But Stay Away from Busy Work!
I don’t believe in giving students “busy work” because I don’t believe in wasting time. The morning routine is no exception! Students should be engaged in meaningful learning from the start!
Considerations for Planning Morning Work:
Here are my three key elements to creating effective morning work.
- Can students complete the activity independently?
- Activities or worksheets should not require help from the teacher. Students should be exercising skills they already learned.
- Can students complete the activity quietly?
- Independence is important to creating a quiet activity and ensure students aren’t distracted.
- Can I assess student work quickly?
- You don’t want to make more work for yourself! Teachers already have so much to do. Develop morning work routines that self-correct. Select activities that you can correct things as a whole class, or spend five minutes walking around and checking work.
Routine is Key
I usually chose to assign routine assignments. This is especially important at the beginning of the year. Routine assignments set a consistent expectation with the students and remove uncertainty about what is required to complete the assignment – which means more focus, less distraction, and minimal questions.
What about Early Finishers?
It helps to have expectations in place for early finishers. Students who finished their morning work early were expected to choose a quiet activity. Their choices included helping a classmate, independent reading, studying facts, writing, unfinished work, changing out books, or computers.
Ideas for Morning Work
Some of the different things I tried out were Number of the Day, or making review worksheets for math and reading spiral review.
Number of the Day
For Number of the Day, I would write the number up on the board and the students would know where to look when they came in. I would continue to increase the number’s value throughout the year.
You can download my free Number of the Day Printable by clicking the link below.
Spiral Review Activities
I found the most success using spiral review activities. These are great because you can create a consistent process around varied text and questions, which allows you to practice different skills using the same process.
Celebrate Every Day Monthly Morning Work Activities
During my first five years of teaching, I spent a ton of time prepping routine spiral review activities for my students. Because I needed content for each morning, I was scrambling to create new worksheets for my students every afternoon, and I had so many other things to do with my time.
I knew I wasn’t alone. That is why I created my Celebrate Every Day Monthly Morning Work Activities.
These daily morning work exercises are based around a daily holiday for every day of the school year.
- Short reading passages leveled for 2nd and 3rd grade. There is a passage for every day of the month. They range from silly holidays, like national pickle day or backward day, to serious topics like kid inventors day and Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday.
- The passages integrate many different subject areas such as science, social studies, and health.
- Each daily passage has 2 explicit questions students can answer by underlining the text, which creates good answering question habits.
- Each daily passage has a short writing response activity to apply narrative, explanatory, or procedural writing, and art.
- Every daily passage has a class graphing activity that incorporates a bar graph. The graphing questions are great for class discussions and making a mathematical connection.
Try It For FREE!
Want to try before you buy? I am offering one free week from my September packet!
I’d love to hear how this works for you! Send me an email with questions, comments, suggestions, or photos!
Are you ready to have your best year ever?
If you’re a new teacher or if you just can’t seem to get a successful system of rituals and routines in place, and you’re ready to give your students the the stable learning environment you know they deserve, then check out my Classroom Management Course. Together, we’ll build a strategy for success that you can use year after year. Your students will thrive. And you can reduce your stress and finally earn the respect you deserve.