The one with morning work made easy

Just thinking about morning work makes me sigh. There are too many factors that don’t always line up for it to seem feasible. 

Here are my problems with morning work:

  • Not every student arrives to school at the same time. Those students who arrive late regularly, or even right when the bell is about to ring, are starting their day behind. Not cool.
  • Students should be accountable for their work. It’s hard to hold students accountable if they don’t have time to complete it. And if you just check the morning work without giving all students ample opportunity to work on it, then why was it important enough for students A, B, & C to do, but not students E & F who are late every day?
  • Think about when you arrive at school in the morning. Do you want your coworker or principal to come bursting in with something for you to immediately do before you’re even unpacked? Probably not. While I may have been up for a couple hours, some of these kids have just rolled out of bed and are barely awake. And if your school is serving breakfast, then many kids probably haven’t even eaten!
Text: morning work made easy, image: teacher smiling with coffee in hand
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But…wait a minute. This blog post is titled “Morning Work Made Easy.” Aren’t I supposed to be making your life easier? I am! 

 To solve all of the aforementioned problems, I have a few suggestions for morning work.
1. Read a book. Encourage students to read their own books in the morning. There is only one thing more important than reading during the school day (and I’ll get to that!). So let them read! I found students really enjoyed that time to read on their own or check out books in my classroom library. They also could use this time to update their reading status. We had this freebie posted near the library. My students loved sharing the books they were reading. 
2. Color. Coloring is a good stress reliever and you can find ways to make it fit your needs. When we’re reading aloud Harry Potter, I’ve simply photocopied some of the Harry Potter Coloring Book pages. When we learn about arctic animals, I put out some of these drawing books. If I don’t have anything specific, I’ve used these growth mindset coloring pages also.

August Morning Journal

3. Write in a morning journal. This is where the MOST important thing in the classroom comes into play. RELATIONSHIPS. Using this simple morning journal, students can write about themselves, get something off of their chests, share a little with their classmates, and help YOU to get to know your students better. You could also use these types of prompts as whiteboard questions or as part of your morning meeting. Putting the prompts up early lets students start to think about them when they come in. Also, these are short questions, so even the student who is running late will have time. (Here’s a free set to help you get started!) Whether you use these journals, or come up with your own, the key is to keep them brief, but meaningful. The vary prompt topics to keep students engaged. 

That’s it. Keep it simple. Choose one. Or give your students all of these as options for morning work. 

Oh, and putting your head down on your desk and just laying there is also an option in my room. As long as you are ready to begin when our first class bell starts, it’s totally okay to have a chill/relaxed routine. That extra time really can help a student to mentally prepare to give their 100% during instruction time.

Want to try fitting in those SEL prompts? Here’s a huge set for free! SEL Morning Message Prompts for Upper Elementary Free Set

Need more classroom management strategies? Check out these activities.

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