10 Tips For A Successful Morning Routine To Reduce Chaos In the Elementary Classroom
Do you find mornings in your classroom to be full of chaos and disorganization? Does it feel like once the first student walks through the door you are being pulled in a thousand different directions? You need to implement a consistent morning routine in your classroom!
A morning routine will make all the difference! Read on to learn 10 tips for setting up a successful morning routine so you can calm that chaos and make mornings the best part of your day!
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO HAVE A CONSISTENT MORNING ROUTINE IN YOUR CLASSROOM?
Children respond best to structure.
Creating a consistent morning routine allows your students to feel safe and comfortable from the first moment they step into your classroom each day.
Providing a predictable classroom morning routine will allow your students to ease into each school day knowing what to expect, not only for the morning but for how the rest of the school day will play out as well.
WHAT IS A GOOD CLASSROOM MORNING ROUTINE TO FOLLOW?
PROVEN Top 10 Morning Routine Components:
- Greet them at the door
- Get your message across
- Set the tone with music
- Have a system in place
- Let them check in
- Use morning tubs for a soft landing
- Take attendance
- Morning meeting to get the conversation flowing
- Get focused
- Preview the plan for the day
1. GREET THEM AT THE DOOR
Nothing says “You Belong” more than having your teacher waiting outside the classroom door every morning to greet you.
A smile and a “Good Morning” from you go a long way to calm the nerves of those who are anxious and put into place a positive mindset for those who have maybe not heard “Good Morning” from anyone yet today.
2. GET YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS
Have a message on the board or chart for students to read when they come in.
This engages them right from the start and is a great way to incorporate skill practice and review.
It could be a summary of the plan for the day, a question for them to answer, or even an additional morning direction for them to follow.
PRO TIP: Purposely make mistakes from time to time. Your students will love to use their early morning detective skills to warm up their brains and find all the “silly” errors you left for them!
3. SET THE TONE WITH MUSIC
Music is such a fun addition in the morning.
Take the cue from your students to help you decide what kind of music to play as they enter the classroom and settle in.
Do your students come in overly excited and worked up in the mornings? Start the day with calming music or nature sounds.
Do you have sleepy, groggy, slow-moving students in the morning? Try some Kidz Bop or Disney/Pixar tunes.
4. HAVE A SYSTEM IN PLACE
I am here to tell you…systems curb chaos like nobody’s business!
Teach your students how to be organized and how to keep the classroom organized:
- Where and how do you want students to put their supplies away when they come in each morning?
- Designate a place where students will put their homework when they come in
- Designate a place where students will put notes to the teacher or notes for the office
5. LET THEM CHECK IN
Morning check-ins are an important way to give students responsibility and accountability while at the same time, alleviating some of the many tasks on your “to-do list” each day.
The lunch and the dismissal check-ins are also great visuals for the students throughout the day if they need to be reminded of their plan for lunch or how they are getting home.
6. USE MORNING TUBS FOR A SOFT LANDING
Not every kid can come in and get started on paper-and-pencil work first thing in the morning. For these kids, a soft landing in the morning is just what they need!
Setting up morning tubs for the kids to work out of each morning is the perfect way to ease them into the day, while still allowing them to stimulate their brains and get their juices flowing.
Some of the most popular morning tubs in my first-grade classroom included:
- magnetic tiles
- brain flakes
- foam puzzle cubes
- snap cubes
- pattern blocks
7. DON’T FORGET TO TAKE ATTENDANCE
Easier said than done right!!??
Get a copy of this attendance reminder and put it right on the corner of your computer screen each morning so you don’t forget!
When you do remember to take attendance, use that time to connect with your students. Make eye contact with every child and give them a “good morning” or a compliment.
Morning time is a great time to assess where students are emotionally too. Does anyone look unwell? unhappy? out of sorts? Now is a great time to take note of any “red-flag” behaviors and address them privately or take note of them to keep a watchful eye on as the day progresses.
8. MORNING MEETING TO GET THE CONVERSATION FLOWING
Another important part of a good morning routine is to gather together for Morning Meeting.
Morning Meeting is a great way to build community while ensuring that each student feels heard, valued, and respected. Speaking and listening skills are learned, practiced, and strengthened while students learn from each other and about each other in a safe and inviting way.
Encourage rich and exciting conversations about:
- Word of the Day– Students love learning a new “grown up” word each day, and then trying to incorporate it into their conversations!
- Joke of the Day– It is so refreshing and anxiety-reducing to start each morning with giggles and laughs.
- Question of the Day– Having a question of the day was a great way to work on speaking and listening skills, and we often would add in a journal writing component to this as well. So many skills addressed all at once!
- Fun Fact of the Day -The crazier the better with these fun-facts! Your kids won’t be able wait to share the fact of the day with every visitor that enters the room!
- Logic Puzzle of the Day– These “brain burners” encourage students to work together to come up with solutions– such a great community-building activity!
- Advice of the Day– Advice for kids, written in kid-language, produces so much rich conversation. This truly was a great way to get to know my students better.
In Morning Meeting, there’s truly something for everyone– language arts, math, jokes, science, problem-solving, and random questions. Everyone can find something in the mix that was exciting and interesting to them.
9. GET FOCUSED
Once morning meeting is done, focus on the social-emotional goals for the day.
Feelings Circle is a great way to do this! Then move on to the Pledge to the Flag and your Classroom Promise. Focusing a great deal of time and attention on unity, kindness, and respect will pay off for your students and help build a positive classroom environment.
Finally, review any social skills or character traits that needed to be addressed or introduced with your kids.
10. PREVIEW THE PLAN FOR THE DAY
End your morning routine with a preview of the plan for the day.
Using visuals like these daily schedule cards is helpful for young kiddos to make a connection to the day’s plan!
You know your students best! Decide what works for your students, what components they need the most, and what will work for you.
Some years you will be able to do them ALL, and some years you may only be able to do a few of them.
If you try some of these out and they aren’t working, take a break and try them again in a few weeks. Remember it’s all about being consistent and having structure.
What are your favorite morning routine components? Leave a comment below and share your routine!
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Thank you for being here! I love sharing ideas with other teachers! If you are looking to enhance your teaching and build a positive classroom community, you have come to the right place!