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7 Morning Routine Ideas for any Elementary Classroom

What to you like to do first thing in the morning when students arrive?  Do you need some new ideas?  I'll share a few that I have done in my own room, or some that my fellow teachers have tried as well.  At the end of this post, I would love to hear from you.  How do you manage the first few minutes of school?
I know! I know!  We all have the typical stuff we have to do.  Take attendance, lunch count, turn in homework (if you give homework), put supplies away.  You know those normal things teachers and students do everyday.  But what happens after that?  Below are a few activities I try from the first day of school moving forward.  
I greet each student at the door with a hug, handshake, or high 5.  I usually have music playing (sometimes I forget) in the classroom.  Students enter, read the morning message, put materials away, turn materials in, and then begin morning activity. 
1.  I start every year on the first day of school with a small container of Play Dough and a Back to School Coloring Book {Freebie}.
This keeps the students busy while I help them find seats, cubbies, and manage supplies.
I save the Play Dough for several years, so I only have to replace every few years.  They can work on the coloring book for the next few mornings as well.
2.  Another way to start each morning is with overhead lights on low, colored lights turned on, and music.  Kind of like a dance party or elementary night club.  Greeting each student at the door with a special greeting.

The disco lights change colors and are amazing.  They are sticky on the back and go around my Promethean Board with ease.  They come with a remote and are very inexpensive.  One strand goes around my entire Pro Board (minus a few inches).  I also have some above my chalkboard attached to the ledge.

3.  Morning Tubes/STEM Bins:  Some days, I have my students do morning tubs.  My morning tubs are made up of manipulatives and STEM activities that the students can complete.   You can read my blog post about Morning Tubs here {FREEBIE}  I use the STEM bins from Brooke Brown on TPT.  You can find them here

4.  Games or Puzzles:  Sometimes just playing games can be educational and fun at the same time.  Students often times do not play many hands on games at home, so I like to teach and incorporate them into my classroom on Fridays.
This is a wonderful logic and visual/spacial game.  This game can be differentiated becuase there are three levels of cards included.  These are my high ability kids.  They loved this game. Click on the picture above for a link to the game.
Games I love to have available for students to play after they learn them in small group of course:
~Uno (Giant Card Edition)
~Racko (Mine is really old)
~Dominoes (Ok, so I teach them the REAL way to play, because let's face it they think playing is just knocking them down).
~Jenga  (I use Jenga with task cards that I have created).

Puzzles:  I find the cheapest place to buy puzzles (besides Goodwill) is The Dollar Tree.  I also know from experience that 48 piece puzzles are perfect for second graders and 100 piece puzzles are stretching it.  Many of my students in the past have struggled with puzzle working.

5.  Quick-writes:  I love quick writes or journal prompts that are fun and goofy.  Sometimes, it gets the kids to think, write, and lighten the mood for the day.  While I don't do these everyday, they are good for one or two days of morning work.

6.  Silent Reading or Listening to Reading:  Ok, somedays I just want to read.  So....I want my kids to just somedays want to read.  Therefore 1 day a week, I have a silent reading or listening to reading activity with no strings attached.  They can listen or read anything!  It is like fun reading time.  They don't have to do any responses or even tell me what they read (unless they are so excited they want to).

7.  Educational Technology:  Somedays, I want them to practice a particular skill or activity using some sort of technology.  Since we are 1:1, this is easy to day.  However, I understand that not everyone can fit it in.

How do I fit it all in:  
Monday:  Morning Tubs/STEM Bins
Tuesday:  Technology Tuesday
Wednesday:  Writing Wednesday (journal time)
Thursday:  Reading Time either on an IPAD or silently
Friday:  Game/Puzzle Day

The kids know exactly what to expect and when.  They also know where I store all materials.  I have a morning tub cart that all morning tub activities are kept on.  Technology assignments are in the morning message on the board.  Journal Prompts are in a basket in my room (marked and out).  Puzzle and game day will have several options.  They know once 4 or 5 people are at a station or choice, they must make another selection.  I always have more options than I need to becuase I want them to have plenty of choice.  

What Am I doing?
When students arrive, I always greet them (either a hug, handshake, or high five).  We also greet each other during morning meeting later in the day.  After that, I am asking for notes, answering questions, taking attendance, and working with individual students for quick intervention time or specific help.  

How long does Morning Routine Last?
Students arrive at 7:45.  The tardy bell rings at 8.  Some students get extra time because they arrive earlier.  However, I stop morning routine around 8:10 or 8:15.  We also have announcements at 8:05 each morning.  We must stop for a bit to do Pledge and listen for announcements.

I would love to hear from you.  What do students do when they arrive?  How long does your morning routine block last?  Leave a comment below.  Have a great school year.  

What is Boom Learning?

Guys and Gals!  I am telling you If you have not tried or heard of BOOM Learning you must go there after reading this post.  Hopefully this post will make you want to go there even more.  My kids LOVE BOOM Learning™(I do too!!)

All about Prefixes

Are you looking for new ways to teach students about Prefixes in your classroom?  Here are a few ideas and lessons you can try with your kids that might make learning about prefixes more engaging.  Freebies are Included.

Double Digit Addition in the Primary Classroom

It is amazing to me how my little ones come to me only being able to add two small single digit numbers together and then after a few months can add (and subtract) with double digits.
During math, I try to incorporate as many movement activities and manipulatives that I can.  I will share a few of these with you.

Ways to Use Google Classroom in the Elementary Classroom

Let's face it.  Technology is all around us.  I have learned to embrace that fact and move forward figuring out unique and fun ways to use it in my classroom.

When I found out we had access to Google Classroom, of course I wanted to know all about it.  Everything I know up to this point, I taught myself by watching videos and reading blogs.  You can read how to get started with Google Classroom here.  

Using Google Slides in the Primary Classroom

Do you use Google Slides?  If you have access to Google Classroom and Google Slides, you should give it a try.  It is a great tool for the classroom.  My students love using Google Slides.  I use Google Slides in conjunction with Google Classroom.  You can read a blog post about Google Classroom here.
Here are a few ways I use Google Slides in my classroom.