We all probably know that routines are important for young students, but I have found the most important routine to establish early on is the morning routine. Have a morning routine in place will set the tone for the entire day. These routines and expectations must be carefully taught, modeled, and established in the classroom, which may take time. But eventually, students will know what’s expected of them and be able to do it on their own. Having these predictable patterns in place will allow for you, the teacher, to start your morning tasks and continue prepping for the upcoming activities. It will also set a peaceful tone in the room, which who wouldn’t want that early in the morning?!
As children start trickling into the classroom, they need to know exactly what to do. What should they do with their homework? Where should they put their book bags? Where do their coats and other materials belong? What should they do while they wait for the rest of the class to arrive? When does class actually start? When kids know the answers to these questions, they can move smoothly through the morning routine and get straight into learning. These questions should be answered on DAY ONE of school and taught every day until the morning routine is clearly established.
Here’s a look into my morning routine:
- 8:48- Bell Rings. I open my exterior classroom door for the students and welcome them. This may seem like an insignificant part, but it truly is so important. I greet each student at the door with a smile on my face. Once I start to learn their names, I greet them by name, letting them know I am glad they are here today! I also wave at parents and tell them to have a great day. (This is great for signaling to parents that they need to let their students be independent and come in on their own.)
- Students hang up their coats and backpacks on the hooks and take out their homework folders and lunch (if they have one). They walk their homework folder to the homework turn-in tray. The top tray is for homework and the bottom tray is for lunch money and notes to me. When students turn in their homework, they highlight their name (great way to make sure their name is actually on it, flip their clip over (great way to check who still needs to turn it in), and turn in their work. (I have a pink pail with several highlighters next to this tray.) Click HERE to download this free sign!
- For those students who have a lunch, they put it in the lunch bin that is located outside my interior door.
- Students then head to their desks, take down their chairs, and put away their homework folder in their desk (makes for an easy pack up at the end of the day) (^^During this time, I am monitoring students that they are following the expectations, but also busy talking to parents who have to tell me something, greeting late students, taking phone calls from the office, etc.) Then, they take out their morning work folder. I love organizing the folders for the students prior to the school year starting. These labels do JUST the trick!
- Students then begin their morning work. My students know that morning work is absolutely silent. This may be the only silence in your day, and boy oh boy, is it wonderful (and so needed)! (^^Once everyone is working, I begin taking attendance. You can do this in a fun and interactive way, but I have found that doing so can be very disturbing and distracting.) For our daily morning work, I use Daily Fix-It Sentences. Our district doesn’t have a grammar program, so I have found this very successful! It is just five questions per day, so students can do it rather quickly and independently. (^^During this time, I can check in who didn’t turn in their homework and help students with their morning work.) Students know that once they are done, they can read silently at their desks.
- Once everyone is done, I go over the answers to their morning work using my document camera. I use a blank copy of their morning work, project it on the screen, and call students up to write their answers on the board. Sometimes I do it all as they check their own papers. This is a great teaching time about grammar as you go through the answers! Students then fill out their progress bar by coloring as many boxes as they got correct. (They love doing this!)
- Then, it is time for our morning meeting! (Our favorite time of the day!) My students know to put their morning work away in their folders, walk quietly and calmly and find a seat on the carpet. I use these fun Morning Meeting Questions. I let my students pick them out, read it aloud, and choose someone to answer the question. It makes for a fun way to get to know each other, start our day in with good attitudes, and usually get a few laughs out!
- Then, we go over the daily schedule for the day and we begin our first subject of the day!
Want this FREE editable morning routine sign? Click HERE! I hang this up on my white board for all students to refer to in the morning (especially at the beginning of the year!) This way, if I see a student not following the routine, I don’t have to tell them what to to do, I just remind them to look at this sign to determine it for themselves.
I hope you got a few tips of how to make a smooth morning routine for your own classroom! Of course, adapt this to your classroom and your students. And remember, practice, practice, practice is KEY! Don’t expect students to get it right away! I wish you all the BEST as you start this next school year!