Morning routines

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MrsHoot, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. MrsHoot

    MrsHoot Comrade

    Dec 10, 2008
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    Jul 8, 2012

    What are your morning routines? I'm trying to figure out a simple and calm plan for the morning. The biggest trouble I have is that kids trickle in for about 15 minutes in the morning, makes it a little trickier. I know reading is always an option, but last year I always did a read aloud/mini lesson and then Daily 5. I was worried about it becoming reading overkill.

    Our schedule changed this year though, so I may have reading in the afternoon instead.

    What works for you?
  3. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

    Apr 14, 2007
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    Jul 8, 2012

    My kiddos would trickle in from the cafeteria until around 8:30 (the tardy bell rings at 8:10). Between that and the morning announcements, I was never able to start class (reading) until 8:30, so.... I always have something on my kiddos' desks for them to do - we call it "morning work." It might be a coloring sheet (first week or so), handwriting practice, a word sort, sentences to complete with high-frequency words or to edit (on the Smartboard for them to complete in their notebooks)... something relevant to what we are studying, but not too difficult, because they can only ask their tablemates for help during morning work (I'm usually dealing with some "emergency" or other, lol, or setting up student computers, etc.).
  4. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

    Aug 9, 2008
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    Jul 9, 2012


    The following was cut and pasted from here, but it was much faster than retyping it all.

    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.
  5. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

    Feb 27, 2011
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    Jul 9, 2012

    We come upstairs at about 8:20 from the gym where the kids arrive. But we can't mark kids late until 8:35 (ridiculous I know, school starts at 8:15 but feel free to come 20 minutes late everyday.) Anyway, it's extremely difficult to actually start a lesson before 8:45. (Yet 1st period is over at 9:00!!!)

    Anyway, when we come upstairs the kids unpack, leave their homework out on their desks so my co-teacher or I can check it. Many children have jobs to take care of in the morning (sharpening pencils, organizing the library, putting hand-outs into mailboxes, etc.) Students have 1 day a week they can go book shopping during morning routine. So they go to the classroom library to browse and take out books. When students have finished their job or have their hw out they either read or work on a writing prompt. We usually always had reading 1st/2nd period. After their homework is checked they get up and put their homework books/work away where it belongs and return to the do-now until all the homework is checked. We usually start a few minutes after all the homework is checked and put away.
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Sep 18, 2007
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    Jul 9, 2012

    This has been my routine thus far, though I think I am changing it this following year: come in and put away backpack, turn in homework, and begin Daily 5 (my own modified version) by doing word work. I was having a hard time fitting in a rotation time for word work, so cutting out their fix-it sentences in the morning was wonderful as it allowed more time to work on their words (you'd be surprised how long it can take them in the morning to open their journals and begin writing their sentences...some of them can do it quickly, but others are still half asleep).
  7. queenie

    queenie Groupie

    Feb 13, 2008
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    Jul 9, 2012

    My kids trickle in over about a 15 minute time period (from 7:45-8:00), so they don't all end up getting the same amount of work done, but we don't go over Morning Work until 8:15, so that's plenty of time for all of them to at least have written a paragraph.

    1) Move number for lunch count
    2) Turn in folder
    3) Put away backpack
    4) Begin morning work (This consists of "Write a paragraph about..." and a Daily Language Page that is displayed on the screen. They do both in their Journals, then we go over the Daily Language together and I allow a few of them to share their writing. The ones who are fast finishers know to read silently when finished.)

    I begin checking home folders at 8:00 and take attendance/lunch count, etc. That gives us 15-30 minutes of quiet time every if I can just get the last few minutes of the day to be so calm...

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