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Five Ways to Make your Morning Routine More Meaningful

August 17, 2014 by Emily

Do you have a morning routine in your classroom?  Do you often wonder how you can make it more impactful and meaningful for your students?  I remember thinking, “I wish I had really strong academic activities to use as a spiral review for my students.” Until one day, I sat down, and made the plans to create just that.  If you have any of these thoughts, these tips are definitely going to help you! My morning routine is something that I wanted to improve on, but I just never found the time to really make sure my kids were getting adequate review. Before I really started focusing on my morning routine, if my kids were quiet, it was a success.  Life is good right?  I am going to show you a great way that you can still get everything you need done in the morning, but with a few extra strategies to put under your belt.
5 Ways to Make Your Morning Routine More Meaningful
5 Ways to Make Your Morning Routine More Meaningful: Establish a System that Works

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.

5 Ways to Make Your Morning Routine More Meaningful: Be strategic with what you give your students for morning work.

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.

Kindergarten Morning Work from Education to the Core

Kindergarten Morning Work

First Grade Morning Work from Education to the Core

First Grade Morning Work 

Second Grade Morning Work from Education to the Core

Second Grade Morning Work

5 Ways to Make Your Morning Routine More Meaningful: Bring the work to life!

3.  Bring the work to life!

Go over morning work together, and make a quick mini-lesson out of it.  I am able to take the roll and write sight words, and step it up a level.  When we check our work, I will have the kids say the word, clap the word, say the word again, and then write the word if they didn’t get to it.  If they did get to it, they can write it in the air.  For the math, we do a lot of kinesthetic activities and TPR when counting and going over the math problems.  Whenever possible, I have the kids stand up and move about the room to go over a problem.  This can be as simple as counting to a certain number and having them do pushups or jumping jacks.  If you have time to go over morning work, do it.  It sets the tone for the whole day, and really wakes the kids up!
5 Ways to Make Your Morning Routine More Meaningful: Go over your schedule for the day.

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 Ways to Make Your Morning Routine More Meaningful: Give your kids a chance to talk!

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!

 I hope you were able to take away a couple of tips from this article!  Be sure to shop morning work if you don’t have a set for your primary students already! If you would like more ideas or topics related to literacy teaching, reading comprehension, vocabulary or phonics activities, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook, and Instagram to stay posted with fabulous freebies and ideas!