When students first step foot in your classroom, their day officially begins. How do you start the day off on a great note? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below. If you are looking for new ideas, try some of the suggestions here. They have been classroom tested with great results!
Ideas for the Beginning of the School Day
Journal Jump Start
A creative writing time is a great way to start the morning. Establish a routine where students know to get their journals after putting away bags and coats. On the board or overhead projector, write a creative writing prompt for students to journal about. Let them know that it is their time to get creative and that the journals will not be graded. It is more of an opportunity to get their brains going, as opposed to a time for formal assessment. For students who struggle with writing, a picture journal can also be used. Remember that it is not so much what they write, but the fact that they are actually on task and focused on the morning routine.
This idea comes from Mary, a 6th Grade Teacher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “In my class, students spend the first 15-20 minutes of each morning working on fun activities related to our curriculum,” she explains. “For example, they play games, complete puzzles, work on math riddles, etc. As my students settle in and begin working, I use the time to chat informally with them about some of their interests. While listening, I make mental notes so later I can incorporate some of their interests into the sentences I create for use in spelling lessons or language arts activities. These relaxed, early morning moments allow me to personalize my teaching to my students’ interests, and help set a positive tone for the daily challenges to come.”
Cooperative Group Work
If your classroom is filled with tables instead of individual desks, take advantage of the fact that students are near one another. A cooperative group project each morning can help build a sense of community in the class. Have students take turns interviewing one another about the previous night’s events or about a topic that you have selected. The person doing the reporting then tells the rest of the class something interesting that the other person has told them. This repeats until everyone in the class has given a tidbit of information about their partner. Another idea is to give each table a simple puzzle or word problem that they need to solve together. Each group who completes the activity earns points toward a group reward jar that can be redeemed once a month for small goodies or extra time for recess, no homework passes, or other fun incentives.
Sing a Song
Start the day off with some fun kids’ songs playing on the CD player. This is a great idea for younger grades, especially if the songs on the CDs reinforce basic skills like counting, days of the week and months of the year. By the end of the first month, students will be singing the songs by heart and learning valuable skills. You can also opt for singing to the students yourself if you have a good singing voice and a lot of early morning enthusiasm!