Imagine it’s a usual Monday morning. The students excitedly enter the classroom, talking over the top of each other to share about their weekends. Their parents follow, chatting and greeting you as they enter the door. Then one parent gives you that look. You know they’re about to hit you with the tricky questions they’ve thought of over the weekend. You hastily tell the students to ‘get a book to read quietly’ and try to scan your lesson plan to remind yourself what you had organised for this week.
The parent comes and asks you about the upcoming school excursion. Did you know that little Johnny has 6 different allergies and needs to be constantly watched by an adult when in public places? You gently remind them that you have plans in place, ready to go for the excursion day. Just as you finish your response you notice how loud the class has gotten. You look up to see one child doing a dance across the room! The other parents look up at you, waiting for your response.
You remind the class to ‘do some quiet reading’. Johnny’s mum suggests that you let her come on the excursion. You let her know that you’ll need to check with your supervisor, and you’ll get back to her later that afternoon. Finally, Johnny’s mum and the other parents slowly make their way out the door. The class is getting louder every moment.
You reward the one student who followed your instructions, hoping that the others will follow the example. You walk to the front of the class to take control of things when another teacher frantically enters the room. With a look of desperation, they ask: ‘can I pleeeasse borrow some of your class iPads? We have ICT this morning and 5 of mine aren’t working.’ You send a child to get some iPads for the teacher. Suddenly, 10 other students go to help too.
With half the class out of their seats, a majority of students sitting and chatting, 1 child actually reading and that other 1 child still dancing across the room, you are determined to get things together. You walk back to the front of the class, about to ring the bell, when something catches your eye. Oh no! The principal is doing tours this morning! Why does this school have such big windows? You awkwardly smile at the visitors as you ring that bell and get the students back to reading. What a start to the week!
Does this ever happen to you? Caught off-guard on a Monday morning. It’s like children have a special sense for this sort of thing and know when they can test the boundaries. Well, my friend, it doesn’t have to be this way. I’m here to help you get a consistent morning routine in place so that you can start your days off on the right foot.
Here are four of my top recommendations for morning routines that are simple to implement and effective at keeping kids engaged.
Use a mixed morning work template
Using a morning work routine to start the day gives students consistency and offers them an opportunity to revise what they’ve been learning in class. By covering more than one subject in your morning work tasks, you’re able to make the most of this opportunity. If you don’t have the time to create your own set of daily morning work tasks, I’ve got you covered! I have a month’s worth of pages available in my store for you that are ready-to-use!
Number of the day
If you’d rather focus on one subject, you can try doing a ‘number of the day’ routine. I’ve used ‘number of the day’ activities in my classroom both within Maths lessons and as morning work. Simple tasks like this don’t take much time out of the day but are fantastic at building children’s confidence with tricky concepts like place value. The best part is that while your students are developing their confidence with place value, you get a moment to sort out the rest of your day.
Daily 5 is a daily routine where students can alternate between five different English activities, typically: word work, reading to someone, individual reading, listening to reading or working on writing. Once you have Daily 5 (or a similar routine of literacy stations) as part of your schedule each day, it becomes easy to swap the activities to suit what you are working on in your English lessons. If you want to start using Daily 5 in your classroom, I have a starter kit that you can use to get set up here.
Student Choice Boards
Have you given student choice boards a try yet? Student Choice Boards can be used in all sorts of ways across many subject areas – as well as for morning work. The reason choice boards work so well is because you can cover a range of different skills at once, and your students get to practise some autonomy. If you’re interested in setting up choice boards for your students, you can read more here.
I hope you feel inspired to try one of these morning work routines! If you’d like more teaching ideas, then take a look at this post on increasing cooperative learning opportunities in the classroom.
Have a question or a request? You can contact me at email@example.com.