For elementary schools there is no right way to do morning work. Teachers across classrooms and grade levels have all found ways that morning work fits their teaching style and their classroom. However, there is definitely a wrong way to do morning work; skipping it entirely. Teachers that skip morning work are missing out on creating a consistent start to their day and are missing out on an easy way to help their students.
For most teachers the absence of morning work isn’t something that they do out of lack of care for their students. Most believe that their time and energy is better spent elsewhere. Others may simply be overwhelmed with what to do for morning work. Below are some great examples of what can become part of a great morning work routine.
Journals and Writing Prompts
Journaling and writing prompts are a popular form of morning work for many teachers for a number of reasons.
- They are low prep. All that is needed is a pen and a notebook.
- They create a great way to know your students
- Prompts can focus on supplementing student’s learning goals in other subjects
- Prompts can be used as a knowledge pre-test
Journaling can also be incredibly beneficial because it will help you to build a rapport with your students quickly. It also earns bonus points as a way to engage children who may be a little more introverted and not like to share with teachers or classmates as much.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Activities
Social emotional learning and it’s support has come to the forefront of education with both parents and teachers. The Covid pandemic has created a generation of students who have stresses and anxieties that no other group before them has had to deal with. SEL lessons can help educators check in with their students in a number of ways including:
- Emotion or Mental Health Checks
- Positive coping methods
- Sharing circles
- Mindful minutes
Warm Up Time
Children, just like adults, enjoy quiet time to themselves at the start of the work day to drink their morning coffee or energy drink. Now I’m not saying to let a group of kids crack a soda or energy drink before class starts, I’m sure we all know that’s a bad idea. Instead give them activities that will let them ease into the day and warm up their bodies and minds for the learning ahead. These activities include classics such as:
- Guided drawings
- Guided sculptures with clay or playdough
- Building with Legos
- Yoga or stretching
Teachers that like to have a well regimented classroom often find ways to help students feel like they are young adults and contributing to the classroom. These teachers can often be found implementing “classroom jobs” that students do in the morning. When put on a rotating schedule this can not only keep your classroom organized but teach teamwork and responsibility. Tasks included can be:
- Attendance check offs
- Taking lunch orders
- Picking up homework
- Returning or delivering books from the classroom library
- Checking cubbies or backpack spaces
- Organizing and delivering supplies for the day
Next Steps for Morning Work Ideas
Chances are that the above ideas inspired you to start thinking about a way to include morning work into your classroom routine. The great thing about morning work is the ability for it to be adapted to every classroom and every teaching style. If you aren’t sure where to start though try checking out some morning work for third graders that has already been created. As teachers the easiest thing to do is use resources that are already created by someone else and then over time tweak them to your style!