1. Establish a system that works for when your kids come through the door.
Last year, I used to lay morning work out on the tables for my kids. This wasn’t very effective, because I noticed some kids would just sit there because they literally “forgot” what they were supposed to do. I hold the belief that if a child physically has to grab the paper and pencil and go to their seat, they are more likely to begin working faster. I just put a table near the door that has morning work, pencils, and anything else they need for the day. Before the kids come in, they already know what they need for the day because I established a system right from the beginning.
2. Be strategic on what you give your kids for morning work.
I am not saying you have to plan out your whole year, but don’t just give them busy work. Remember that even if you are only doing morning work for fifteen minutes each day, that is an hour and 15 minutes each week. That adds up to be about 50 hours each year! And we all know that 15 minutes spent on morning work is a good day! I created my morning work bundles after being frustrated with not having enough meaningful content that kept my students busy. The result…my kids absolutely LOVED it. It has been very helpful in my classroom, and I believe having meaningful academic practice is so important, even at the beginning of the year.
3. Bring the work to life!
4. Go over the schedule for the day.
I always have my kids read it with me so that it is not just me talking. I make up motions for all the different components of our day. I will also let the kids know the theme for the week on Monday and I brush over the skills we will be learning in reading and math. That way, the kids know EXACTLY what they will be doing, and there are no surprises. I think the kids appreciate this, and their behavior shows throughout the week.
5. Give your kids a chance to talk.
Let’s be honest…they have a lot to say! If you don’t give them a chance to talk about whatever it may be when they walk in, rest assured they will try fit it in during instructional time. I have my tables numbered, so I can tell the kids to take turns and I can have them start and work in a clockwise order. I also use Accountable Talk Posters and Rings as a resource for myself and the students in my classroom!