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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Morning Work - make NO MORE copies!!

Oh, how good it feels to be back to blogging.  I realized a couple weeks ago that I hadn't blogged since mid-May because of all of the end-of-year craziness.  Now I'm about to back in the even crazier beginning of year craziness - AHHH!!

As you are beginning to think about the coming school year and how you want to structure your day, one of the best ways to start your kiddos' day is by setting up some structure and routine for them from the moment they walk in the door.

When my kiddo's come in the door they have a few tasks:
1. Unpack their backpack
2.  Put snack in snack basket and check to see if they need to heat-up their lunch
3.  Check the counter for any papers to put in their COLLEGE notebook
4.  Put COLLEGE notebook on bookshelf
5.  Put everything in their cubby
6.  Morning Work!

Each morning, my students' morning work is projected on my whiteboard for them.  They complete each day's tasks in a marble composition notebook.  We have a few of these notebooks on our supply list - so one of them is used for morning work.

Throughout the post, you may find Amazon Affiliate links, which means Amazon tosses a few nickels my way if you purchase something through that link, at no extra cost to you, that help keep my corner of cyber-space running!

I pre-write the date and how many days we have been in school using my Mimio Pen - just screen capture and write right over top of the PDF.  Don't have a Mimio or Smartboard type program and pen - just use an Expo marker!

Students will then write the sentences in Box #1 at the top of their page.  For Boxes #2-#5 - I just have students write their answers.  They do not have to write the directions for each box as well.

Teacher Reality - I do not go behind my kiddos and check their work.  We check the morning work quickly each morning - takes no more than 5 minutes most days and less as the year goes on - and they check their own work with marker/crayon.  So, as long as they understand where their answers are, I don't stress myself about how they have it organized.

Now, I will say at the beginning of the year, I do use a large wipe-on/off poster that looks like notebook paper to show my students how to set up their morning work.  I usually try to do this for the first week or so.  I tape it to the side of my whiteboard, so they have a visual of how to set it up in their notebook.  

The last box is a fun fact of the day (for 2nd grade).  I do not make my students write these in their notebooks.  Some do because they enjoy keeping up with them - but it is not required - but that is totally up to you if you want to require it or not.

The skills included in the morning work spiral about every 10 days - so about every two weeks your kids will be practicing the same skill.  As the year progresses, the skills gradually get more difficult - more so with math than language arts/grammar.    Some tasks are open-ended so students have the ability to be creative in their responses.

I have used this morning work in my classroom for 2 years and love it!  My kids know what they have to do each morning when they come in and that consistency and expectation is there and makes for smoother mornings.

Now, I will tell you - the first couple weeks of this morning work - just like with learning any new routine - may be a little difficult for your students.  I try to make sure that I don't have many tasks to do during our morning work time so that I am available to help students.  When students don't know what an answer is or how to tackle the problem - I tell them to do their best and give it a try.  Then, when we are going over our morning work, I take more time on those problems to help students understand the process and the answer.  Then, when we get to that topic - let's say arrays in math - my students have been practicing arrays all year and it makes a little easier for them because they've heard that word and know a little something about it.

This summer, I took on the HUGE task of making morning work for BOTH 1st and 3rd grades!!  The set-up is the same as the 2nd grade set.  The only major difference - besides the content and difficulty of content - is that instead of a Fun Fact of the Day, each day there is a Joke of the Day.  The jokes are the same for both 1st and 3rd grade.  Hopefully if you have teachers in your school that are using both grade levels of morning work, students will forget the jokes between 1st and 3rd grade!

Click on each image below to check out the skill set included, test drive the first 5 days, and get a preview of tasks for the entire year (in the downloadable preview).

Timing - my students can begin entering our school building at 7:45 AM and the tardy bell rings at 8:15 AM.  We stop about 8:20 AM to say the pledge, check morning work, and do our morning routine before beginning instruction.  Most of my students are able to complete their morning work - some with time left over!  Those stragglers that come in right at 8:15 do struggle to get morning work done most days.  Because this is a review of skills, I do not stress myself if they are not finished.  They do pay attention when we are going over morning work and try to get the answers written down - so they are processing the information - which is what I want!

When my kiddos finish their morning work, they have a few options of things to do:
1. Finish incomplete work
2.  Read
3.  Morning Choice - mini lego boxes, practice math facts, etc.

For my mini lego boxes, I use 5x7 photo boxes with these mini lego sets.  They are able to grab these boxes and use their imagination and fine motor skills to build whatever their imagination can come up with!  


What kinds of things are you planning for the new school year?!?!



  1. parents must follow this blog as it has full creative schedule for your child .children will find it fun.they will surely take interest in it as it also has some recreational activities

  2. Thank you, informative and well-spoken. Lots of value!!!

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