Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday ~ Classroom Morning Routines

About this time last summer something devastating happened...Somehow, someway we managed to delete every single photo from this entire blog of ours. 

Gone...
Fluttered away...
Vanished into Cyberspace with no return ticket. 
It was the saddest day of our blogging lives! 
Ask Tammy's husband...
Picture a grown woman curled up in the fetal position in full blown "ugly cry" mode on the family couch. Yep, it wasn't pretty.

It's taken us almost a year to repair many of our posts, and we're still fixing...So, joining Second Grade Shenanigans for Throwback Thursday is perfect for us because a few of our posts now have pics which means they are technically brand new to many of you and us too. Enjoy! :)
Originally Posted 10/21/12

Starting our school day off on the right foot is important to us. It sets the tone for the entire day. Or, so it feels...


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 to our sanity in class. It helps set each day off right and gives our kiddos a sense of success each morning. They know what to expect. It's predictable. Like coffee...It will happen each and every morning. Without fail...
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 Pet Helper for the day. They love it and look forward to their turn!
 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 hair, 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.

Circle UP! 
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?



7 comments:

  1. I like the idea of the person of the day...and my smarties would love to figure our the the jumbled name!! Im going to put my thinking cap on try to incorporate it into my program! (I have 35!!) And we have had issues the last few years with kids not knowing how to stand and walk in line!! Thanks for your post. Glad you were able to save some of your work! Happy summer!

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  2. Hi! I love the circle idea with the morning greeting and question of the day! When you started the year off, did you give the kids a prompt to write or just let them come up with things on their own? For example, if the question of day was "what do you love about summer," would you write "I like summer because..." on the board or just let them get started. I want to use this idea for my classroom next year! :)

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  3. I love your classroom morning routine and want to use it in my classroom next year. I was wondering what kind of question of the day did you ask the kids? Did it go along with your themes or concepts you were learning at the time? Thanks so much :)

    Lori
    wrlean@aol.com

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  4. Morning routines set the day-so pertinent. Your classroom looks so fun and organized. Smiles and stop by anytime.

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  5. What a well run classroom, I would love to be on your team girls. :o)
    xoxo
    Vicky
    Teaching and Much Moore

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  6. I really like how organized everything is! And I always have a student of the week, but after that is finished, a student of the day might be really fun! :) I'll have to try that next year. Thanks for your ideas!

    Sarah
    teachingiscolorful.blogspot.com

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  7. I love the POTD thing! I teach Kindergarten and I think they would love that! My only issue is that it might be a little tough for them at the beginning of the year! I am thinking of something that goes along with matching a name with a picture (using 3 different pictures) to help them get to know their friends in class!
    I also love the connection of your morning question and passing the stuffy around with the writing prompt! Brilliant!

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