Elementary Mornings

I HATE busy work! I am done with the ridiculous morning routine of giving the kids something to do – usually a worksheet – while I take attendance, check in on certain kids, and take lunch count.

So many of us give our students a ‘spiral review’ sheet to work on. Which we then have to check. Which sucks up more precious time during our day. And since we assigned it, we want the kids to at least pretend to take it as serious as we do and actually complete it. Which leaves me being the drill sergeant getting after the ‘usual suspects’. You know, those same students that talk and never complete the assigned morning work.

Yeah, I’m done! My mornings are so much nicer and more relaxed. Over the summer, a colleague and I were talking about things we were going to change in our classroom. She relayed an idea she had read in a blog post. Have the kids do low risk, NO paperwork, play type activities.

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So now my students come in and play games: Uno, Connect 4, Snap Circuits, checkers, or geometric shapes. I will switch out certain items throughout the year, but for now, everyone seems happy. And most importantly, I don’t have to get after anyone for not completing a paper that no one really cares about.

As I said, my colleague gave me the idea. She is using this in her 1st-grade classroom. She allows her students, by table, to choose their daily activity. By contrast, I set out an activity for my students. They have the same activity for a week. This allows them to dig in or really learn strategies of a game. Many of them are learning to play checkers or Uno properly for the first time.

This is a great way to start the day!

NOTE: I would like to give credit to the teacher who originally wrote the blog post, but I don’t know who it was.

UPDATE: Credit goes to Brown Bag Teacher (@brownbagteacher) for the idea and conversation starter.

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