Morning Routine ideas

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by macteach, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. macteach

    macteach Rookie

    Jul 13, 2008
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    Apr 27, 2012

    Good morning, I will be teaching second grade next year, and I would like some morning arrival routine ideas. I know some people play music to give the kids time to settle down and sharpen pencils etc. Also, some have morning meetings. I would just like to hear some of your routines and ideas. Also, any ideas on buying books for personal student library? Thanks!
  3. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

    Aug 9, 2008
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    Apr 27, 2012


    You can read the full blog post here if you want to access the links to the soundtrack, etc.

    Like many aspects of my classroom, "Morning Work" has been a process of trial and error. Thinking back, I'm almost ashamed that it took me so long to find such a simple solution.

    If I was told to name the time of day when the students are the least settled, the most chatty and the least focused it would be a close tie between "first thing in the morning" and "right after lunch/recess." Post-specialists would be a runner-up. The irony of this is that it is during that "first thing in the morning" timeframe that you have the most things to do in a short amount of time and can't devote your undivided attention to the wee ones before you.

    They are excited. It's been about 18 hours since they have seen you and your classmates and a lot happens during that time. They have breaking news to share. Maybe they saw an accident on the way to school. Perhaps a tooth fell out or a cat did some funny trick. Maybe they ate chicken for dinner and can't wait to share that earthshattering fact with others.

    Early in my career I thought the best thing to do would be to channel those thoughts into journal writing.

    Epic fail.

    They worked at different paces. Some moved quick. Others appeared to lack a pulse. Many were stressed. Several had chronic cases of, "I don't have anything to write about." In a nutshell it was too open-ended.

    So I moved on to what is traditionally known as "bell work."

    You know...unfinished work, morning jumpstarts, mad minutes, insert any other type of busy work known to man here.

    Again it was a flop.

    Because they lacked the independence to follow the directions or legitimately needed assistance. But, I couldn't provide them with assistance because I was taking attendance and checking folders which is why they were doing said task. Plus it felt meaningless.

    So then I tried handwriting. We do cursive in third grade and it seemed like a good task to start the day with.

    But some were masters of upswings and downcurves while simultaneously chatting the ear off the peers at their table.

    Alas I started using the Daily 5 in my classroom. Well, the Daily 5 with my own twists, but the same concept. And I needed to fit in a block for "independent reading."

    And just like that it all clicked and I was left scratching my head and thinking, "Why did it take me so long to do something so easy?"

    As I mentioned the other day, I have a morning song that I use to get them settled. When it ends they are expected to be at their seats and reading silently. This is magical because:
    Everyone can do it. Even wee little non-readers can "read the pictures."
    The expectation is silence so it's easy to keep everyone on task. Plus you can't read and talk so it's a no-brainer.
    If someone comes in a few minutes late he can hop right in.
    It provides a quiet environment that allows me to focus my attention on taking attendance and checking folders for dismissal changes and notes which are both very important for safety reasons.
    It calms the room and gets them ready to start learning.
    Because I count this as my 20 minutes of independent reading, I let it go on for that long. This allows me time to do a couple of running records or 1:1 reading conferences each day as well. Win-win!

    To execute your morning routine, I highly suggest posting the expectations and reviewing them often. The poster I use is pictured above.
  4. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

    Aug 4, 2009
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    Apr 27, 2012

    Our lockers are outside the class, so we dump everything before we even enter the room. They line up, give me a high five as they enter, and sit down to silent morning work/bell work. I use a Daily Language Review workbook. It usually has 2 sentences to correct and 3 or 4 grammar questions. They only have about 5 minutes, just long enough for me to take attendance. Then we pass in homework and go to the carpet for morning meeting. I try to follow the structure faithfully as the Responsive Classroom people recommend.

    I might move to silent reading next year instead of DLR for the same reasons listed above.
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Sep 18, 2007
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    Apr 27, 2012

    I am in the middle of changing my routine. Kids come in, turn in work they owe me, and hw as I call them up. They have been doing two fix-it sentences then going to word work (I too do a modified version of The Daily 5), but starting next week I am going to eliminate the fix-it sentences and have them go directly into word work.
  6. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

    May 10, 2008
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    Apr 27, 2012

    I usually do a morning reading and have for years, it works well. I have done writing for the last several months because while working with the combination class this year I felt I was behind in writing work. I think reading works better overall though.
  7. queenie

    queenie Groupie

    Feb 13, 2008
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    Apr 28, 2012

    Here is our morning routine and it works very well for us:

    1) Put away your backpack and put your take home folder in the crate.

    2) Do your lunch count.

    3) Get out your journal and begin responding to the writing prompt on the board.

    4) When you finish writing, begin morning work (this is a Language bell ringer that I have projected onto the board using a document camera).

    5) If you finish early, leave your journal on your desk and begin reading.

    While the kids are doing the morning bell ringers, I check the folders, and do the lunch count and any other housekeeping things that must be done. After a few minutes we begin checking the morning work and those who wish are allowed to share their journal writing out loud.

    This works very well for us! I always tell the kids that if they have anything at all to give to me from their parents, they should put it in in/with their folders. This has kept me from losing any important notes =)

    This routine also provides kids a chance to write, practice language skills, and read.

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