I wanted to get some opinions. I am currently student teaching, and every morning, the first graders come in, put their things away, and get a piece of paper and begin writing their spelling words. Some days there is a worksheet, math sheet, or word find for them to do.
It seems that everywhere I go and everyone I talk to does this type of routine in the morning. I agree, it DOES set the stage for a more quiet morning. And I understand the need to get the kids right to work in the morning.
However, I also observe that there are many first graders who also need to ask questions, fill their water bottles (they keep a small one at their desks), go to the bathroom, sharpen pencils, and talk to the teacher.
I have been thinking that when I start teaching my own room, I would set up a routine in the morning, but I wouldn't have them do seatwork. I would have them put things away, go to the bathroom, get a drink, fill up water bottles, put papers, folders, and notes in the proper places, sharpen two pencils, and then perhaps sit on the carpet and quietly talk with their friends (and they can talk to me also). Once the announcements and pledge come on, we can start our day then.
It just seems like these smaller kids just need to socialize a bit, come together again as a class family, to share what they did the night before, etc. I definitely see the need for strict routine in the morning, but I just don't think it HAS to be quiet seatwork.
Is anyone out there doing something different as a new teacher? Or do you feel that you need to stick with the seatwork like most teachers do? Do you think I'd be setting myself up for a chaotic day if I choose not to have them sit and be quiet right away?
I think that your classroom will be successful as long as you model, model, model your expectations... what kind of a voice can I use when I'm on the carpet? Do I need to stay in one place, or can I move around? Those kinda of things... be explicit with your instructions and consistent with your expectations. As long as your kids know the routine, I can imagine it will be fine.
My children do a Drop in the Bucket each morning so that I can read the notes, talk to children in private, take lunch count, etc. This gives them something productive to do (phonics/language arts review) while I have time to organize my day. This all happens in the first 15 minutes of my day.
I think your idea could be successful depending on the kind of group you have. Our morning routine is do your lunch count, turn in your nightly reading books, turn in homework, hang up your things, then sit down and work on seat work. While they are doing seatwork, I check in home work, book bags, check lunch count. They are allowed to talk while doing seat work as long as they use a soft voice. They can use the bathroom and sharpen pencils as long as it isn't fooling around time. I also need them to be seated so I can do attendance.
This group would not handle going to the circle and visiting very well. It would soon turn into loud yelling and wrestling, because that is just how they are. They need almost complete structure and very small paramaters to be happy and keep themselves in control.
See how your group is when you get your own class. It is always easier to start out more structured and controlled, then loosen up later, than it is to start out loose, then find out the group can't handle it and try to tighten up. But I see a lot of merit in your ideas.
I'm with fourth graders this year, which is a little different, but none of the other fourth grade teachers had morning work, so I didn't either. I changed that quickly. I think it can work, but I found that without something to do, the students will find something...usually not something productive... Usually the work I give is something simple, something review, that they can turn in later in the day or for extra points. I think it all depends on the kind of kids you have
You could always make a checklist of those things and have each student check off which items he/she completed. That way it is more structured, yet still allows for a bit of socializing and, basically, getting themselves together.
I do something similiar to what you are thinking about. Our announcements come on over the intercom about 10 minutes after we enter the room. The kids know to come in, unpack their things, turn in homework, and then go to the carpet. I have a morning song that I play and they know to be on the carpet by the time the song is over. Before announcements come on, all of the kids are on the carpet and we talk about how their evenings went the night before. After announcements, we are already at the carpet ready for calendar time. I found that their wasn't enough time for them to complete a task at their desks and that the kids love to chat with you in the morning.
I teach 2nd grade and I do believe that young students NEED some sort of structure in the morning. I do believe that if I allow my kids to chat in the mornings will set the tone for the rest of the day. So I give them the best of bothe worlds.
What I do is have them hand in homework, sharpen pencils etc. Then they sit right in their seats and at least begin seatwork. Seatwork is just math review, editing sentences, taking out their sight word index cards and practicing with a friend etc. Something meaningful. Then after announcements, we gather on the carpet for Morning Meeting. Morning Meeting allows them that time to share ideas, get all their wiggles out, talk about diff. things etc. We do alot of math during MM but it's also a time to share something. And I also do shared reading or interactive writing during MM so most kids get a chance to move around and just say something. So I like the routine I have. It works for me.
Thank you everyone for responding to this post! I love hearing all about how you each start your mornings... I am gathering LOTS of great information! I'm very nervous about having my own classroom, and I'm sure the first year I'll make every mistake under the sun...but it's so nice to get such a wealth of information BEFORE I take on my class. I love this site and all the great info on it!