Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every school day started with happy, smiling students, ready to learn? You can’t control how your students come to class, but you can ensure the day starts off on a positive note in your room by having a strong morning work routine. As you know, morning work gives students something to focus on while you get ready to teach and keeps students busy as their classmates straggle in. If you’re looking for back-to-school classroom ideas, we’ve got you covered. Check out these new classroom ideas for morning work.
Adam Dovico, an elementary school principal, suggests letting students play an active part in morning work by offering morning choices. He details six choices, ranging from arts and crafts to computer time, all of which promote collaboration and critical-thinking skills.
Try this fun idea from blogger Lyndsey Kuster, who suggests creating a tub for each student in your class. (Or, have students share if space is an issue in your room.) Fill the tub with manipulatives and other items that will encourage creativity, imagination, and play time while also helping students hone academic skills.
Use your morning work time to reinforce concepts learned throughout the year by focusing on spiral review. Spiral review refers to the idea of revisiting material over several months—or even across grade levels—to help solidify concepts. Create your own spiral review worksheets based on what you know your students have learned and help them retain information that they’ll need to succeed in your classroom.
Give your students a classroom job and have them perform it first thing in the morning as part of their morning work routine. This not only gives them something to do, so they’re not just wasting time, but also gives them a sense of ownership over their learning space. If you’re struggling to come up with jobs for all of your students, check out this list of ideas.
Studies have shown the power of positivity. Just thinking happy thoughts can have a major impact on our day. Start your students off on the right foot by encouraging joy journals. Have students keep a gratitude journal and focus on the positive things in their lives. You’ll keep students busy in the morning while also reminding them to count their blessings.
Provide opportunities to solve logic puzzles and riddles, and let students work together to find a solution. You’ll get their brains warmed up for a full day of learning, and they’ll have fun at the same time.
Fake News Focus
Help your students determine fact from fiction and focus on a hot-button topic by giving them an opportunity to separate fake news from the real deal. Use ideas in this lesson plan from PBS, or just provide a headline a day and let students figure out if it’s real or not.
Picture of the Day
Put a daily photo on your board and let students answer writing prompts about it. You can either provide the prompt for younger students, or try this idea to emphasize observations, inferences, and predictions.
Let students practice their nonfiction reading skills while also polishing their writing skills with this idea. Find inspiration from this ninth-grade classroom in New Jersey, where students read The New York Times every morning and wrote a short summary of current events as part of their morning work.