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5 Activities to Make Your Classroom Morning Routine More Productive
Bring order and sanity to your morning routine with these teacher tools.
The first few minutes of class are crucial because they set the tone for the rest of the day. By establishing a classroom morning routine, you can make life easier and save time while teaching your students an efficient way to achieve more. Here are a few effective ways to start your school day.
A popular, teacher-approved classroom morning routine is writing a morning message on the board, and I've found that it's a simple way to welcome students while developing some of their skills. When I was teaching first grade, I began the day by writing the date and what we had planned for the day on a piece of large chart paper. To make it interesting, I included spelling and punctuation errors into the message. The students' job was to correctly copy the morning message into their notebooks. Once the message was copied, the students would gather on the floor, and we'd read the message together. I'd call on students to point out any errors. We'd discuss the mistakes and then talk about the plans for the day ahead.
Further Reading: Morning Routine Before School: Get More Out of Your Day
An effective way to set a positive tone for the school day is to have a morning meeting. It's a simple way to touch base with the students while building a sense of community. As soon as students put their belongings away, they'd come sit on the carpet and get ready to have a class discussion. We'd talk about what the students did the night before, what we planned on doing that day, and discuss any problems or concerns anyone was having within the classroom. By starting the day with this classroom morning routine, the students were relaxed, calm, and ready to listen and learn.
Question of the Day
For many teachers, the question-of-the-day routine is just another component of their morning meeting. They ask students a question like "The best thing about a friend is...," then let students take turns answering. When I was substituting in a third-grade classroom, I learned a new take on the "question of the day."
Students would come into class in the morning, and a question would already be posted on the board. The students' job was to answer it in their journals. The best part was that the questions came from the students, not the teacher. Every Friday, the students would submit a question to the "question of the day" box. Then the teacher would use these questions throughout the following week. The students loved answering the questions because they knew they came up with them.
Packets have always been an effective method for reviewing information learned in class, and they're a great way to start the day. Morning packets usually contain a variety of quick review activities that students can master independently.
When students arrive, they put their belongings away and sit at their desk to complete their morning packet until either the bell rings or the teacher says to put it away. Each morning, the students work on their packets until they're complete. Then, they're handed in, and another packet is given out in its place. My daughter's second-grade classroom uses this strategy, and she loves it. Through continual daily work review, students can master the essential skills needed to learn.
For many classrooms across the country, morning yoga ensures a positive start to the school day. I've learned firsthand that when children are anxious or stressed, it's harder for them to learn. Once, a child was so stressed out about an upcoming test that he asked to go to the nurse and lay down.
Further Reading: Feeling Burned Out? 4 Teacher Motivation Tips to Keep You Going
After witnessing this and reading a lot about yoga (as well as practicing it myself), I thought I'd implement it into our classroom morning routine. Yoga provides a way to relieve stress and gain focus. By teaching students simple yoga poses each morning, I was able to help sustain their attention while relieving some pent-up stress.
Children tend to respond positively to structure, and having a predictable classroom morning routine will show students what's expected of them each and every day. As long as it's carefully taught and modeled, you can ensure that your students will learn in an efficient and productive manner.