How do you start the day in your classroom? Your classroom morning routines can set the tone for the whole day. Taking time to teach and practice your classroom morning routines can have a big pay off. If students have been on break or there have been other changes to your school day, I recommend reviewing and practicing your classroom routines again to start off the day smoothly.
So what goes into your classroom morning routines? Anything that students need to do to settle in and get ready to work. Classroom morning routines can also include morning work.
Setting up morning routines for your classroom
Start by thinking through what needs to happen in the morning in your classroom before students start their morning work. Some of these may not apply in your classroom or school, but this list will get you started:
- Enter the classroom appropriately.
What does this look like? Does it mean no running? Staying in line? Talking quietly or not at all? Does it mean distancing or following a particular pathway through the classroom? Should they greet you or wait until a morning meeting or another time?
- Put away belongings such as a coat, water bottle, lunch box, or backpack.
Show students the proper place for all of their things. Do they hang on a hook? Go in a locker or cubby? Belong at their desk? Or on a special shelf? Also show them how to store things effectively—getting a coat all the way inside so a locker can close for example.
- Turn in homework, permission slips, notes, or other papers from home.
Have a spot for everything students need to turn in. There may be more than one spot, but keep it simple. For example, have a place for turning in homework (or any finished work) and an inbox for any papers including notes, permission slips, order forms or any other papers sent from home.
- Sign in, order lunch or other administrative tasks.
Do you take attendance or do students sign in somehow? For example, students might move their name tag into the “Here” column on your attendance chart. Students might sign in and give their lunch/milk order by moving their ID to the appropriate pocket of a lunch chart. Some teachers do roll call and include asking students lunch plans as part of it.
- Go to the correct place to get started.
Do students go to their seat and start in on morning work while they are waiting for everyone to get settled? Or do you start with a morning meeting in a circle and then have students move to their desks or tables? Make sure students know where to get settled when they come in.
A lot of these ideas for part of your morning classroom routines are related to what students need to do and where they need to put things. They also need to know when to do all the things. Does everybody come in and go from cubby to homework/inbox to sign in to desk? Or do students go to desks with their belongings and move into other actions as their table or row is called? Give students clear directions and set up expectations.
Including morning work in your classroom routines
In addition to these getting set up for the day tasks, classroom morning routines often include morning work. Morning work can take different formats but should be work that students can do independently.
Let students know when and where to get their morning work. Does everybody have a morning work basket? Is there a file where they pick up and drop off morning work packets? Are there folders in their desk? There is no right answer to these questions. You just want to make sure students know where to get their morning work, when to do it, and what to do when they are done.
Some ideas for morning work include:
- Morning message
Write a morning message on the board or a chart each day. Morning messages can include the day and date, any specials or events happening during the day, and a question of the day.
- Morning activity sheets
You can give new activity sheets every morning or give students a pack for the week to practice or review concepts. If you go the weekly route, students can move through the pack at their pace over the course of the week.
- Morning journal
Having students write in a journal every morning is a great way to get them writing first thing. You can ask students to start with the same questions daily (How are you feeling/what is your mood today? What is one good thing about today? I’m excited about/I’m worried about). You can use the question of the day in your morning message as a writing prompt. Or you can give students writing prompts as part of the activity sheets you give them.
Making writing part of your morning work
One of the things I love about a morning journal or using writing prompts as part of the morning routine is it gives kids a chance to express themselves, practice phonics skills and vocabulary, and use words in meaningful writing practice.
If you want to add more writing into your classroom morning work routines, check out this free resource: Phonics Writing Prompts. Fill in the form below to grab them now!
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Each set of these no prep phonics writing prompts focuses on a specific phonics sound. The word bank provides a variety of words using different spelling patterns for this sound. Not only does the word bank help students with the phonics and spelling, but it also helps to provide ideas for writing. With a variety of phonics based sounds and spelling patterns, you can easily differentiate for the needs of your students. And even reluctant writers love them. Get yours here.