But, we really cannot predict what the transition from home to school has in store for us until each and every last foot has crossed through our classroom door, all chairs are down, kids accounted for, and the teachers can commence breathing...
We find having a morning routine is incredibly important
We have a Person of the Day in our class. We print each student's name on a sentence strip to model appropriate printing of their names. This person is our line leader, paper passer outer, and Teacher's
It is also a great lesson in patience. They have to wait another 20 plus days for their next turn. :)
Depending upon the number of students and school days, each person gets about one turn each month. To keep track of each person's turn, we tally on the back. We've only had to do this as we've gotten older.
Each morning, we ask our friends to read the name and whisper to the person next to them who it might be. We then ask the Person of the Day to please stand up. This is a great time to see who is listening and paying attention. Once revealed, we read their name, chant their name, snap and clap their name, sky write their name...do anything and everything to share and learn their name, especially at the beginning of the school year!
After a few regular rounds of our "POTD" routine, we like to switch it up on them...
We print their names on the back of the same sentence strip, but with mixed up letters and no capitals.
Tricky-but they LOVE this!!
The kids put their heads together to figure out who it could be. Again, we have them whisper to their neighbor if they know who the mystery friend is. Once revealed, they whisper cheer...Imagine a lot of arms flailing through the air, mouths wide open in pantomime screaming, no sound coming out. ;)
We have also discovered a new trick. The POTD from the day before ends up being our "back of the line leader." Not sure about your class, but our friends are constantly
fighting, pulling ha ir, jocking for position on who gets to be at the back of the line. Yes, the BACK of the line...Apparently this is a HUGE deal in the Land of the Littles, which sort of makes it a HUGE problem for us teachers...Sooo...The POTD from the day before our End of the Line Leader. Problem solved.
It's time for our Morning Meeting...
We use stuffed animals to teach them who is speaking and who is listening in large group discussions. It's hard for them to focus on one person and not want to turn to their neighbor and chat about the hot game of kickball that awaits in T-Minus 56 minutes! We get it.
We're always changing up our stuffed animals, but these are some of our regulars...Ya know, goes with our class ocean theme and all...
But, in October we pass around a lil' pumpkin and in January a snowman...Really whatever we've got and our own kids won't notice what Mommy has swiped from their toy boxes at home. Kidding...Sort of...
It definitely keeps it fresh, new and fun for them. We like to keep them guessing...
Here's the Deal...
1. We announce a Question of the Day which will be our speaking topic for the Morning Meeting.
2. We say "Good Morning Room 1." and the kids say back, "Good Morning." back. It's a bit robotic, but it models good communication when someone is being polite to you.
3. Tallest person shares first...That's us! Again,
cutting in line modeling. :)
Then, most kids are dying to share, so we start the fuzzy friend around the circle. We encourage them all to share, but we do offer a "pass" option for any who are not quite ready to share. We do ask they at least say, "Good Morning" though. Most usually come around after a few passes. Some just like to see if they can get away with saying "pass", then the novelty wears off and they all share. We are glad.
We teach them how to pass the stuffed animal. Yes, they need to be taught how to pass the stuffed animal. We know, tricky!
But, manners are part of our Morning Meeting too. AND, we have been known to have a few "throwers" over the years...it happens.
When we're done with our Morning Meeting, our Question of the Day becomes our journal writing topic. We are constantly telling them, "If you can say it, you can write it.", "Writing is just a way of speaking with your pencil.", "PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE WRITE!!!" ...Okay, we added that last one...
After a week of topic writing, we all look forward to "Free Choice Friday!" where we share and write about anything we want. They actually cheered last week...It was weird...
Our Person of the Day routine and Morning Meeting time help us start our mornings off on the right foot!
How do you start your mornings off right?