If you were a fly on the wall in my classroom, you would see that I like routine and structure. This isn't to say that I don't do things on the fly (had to throw that in there! )....but there are very clear routines and structure to my day.
One of my favorite routines is starting the day with morning work. I get a lot of questions about how I do this. Specifically, how I mark it or take it up. The truth is, I don't really mark it. Read on to learn about how I use morning work to start our day off right!
I have always found mornings to be quite hectic. The kids are coming in, hanging their stuff up, someone needs help tying shoes, Susie is fighting with Ryan because he looked at her funny, 5 kids have notes from parents, 20 kids have money for a field trip they want to hand you, 3 have to go to the bathroom, 4 can't find pencils, someone accidentally spilled your coffee all over the floor (that someone might be me but this is fiction so I can blame it on a kid)....you get the point. There is a lot going on in the first 30 minutes of the day.
So I started creating morning work packs that would serve a dual purpose.
1. It keeps the kids busy while I sort out all of the problems, take attendance, read notes etc.
2. It is a diagnostic assessment that I use to help me determine where my students are at in a variety of areas. It also exposes them to topics in math prior to me teaching them.
There is also a third purpose behind my morning work. I don't know how it is where you are teaching, but where I teach there is not enough time in the day for printing practice or teaching cursive writing. These things had basically dropped out of my day because I couldn't fit it in. They don't need to spend a whole period on printing or cursive practice but a few minutes a day can go a long way. So I decided I wanted that to be a part of my morning routine. Parents have also really appreciated this.
So I set my morning work packs up to include both Math and ELA. For First grade I include word work practice but for second and third I have included a paragraph that students read and answer close reading type questions about.
1. What is the text about? Circle words you don't understand.
2. What questions do you have? "I wonder..."
3. Underline the key words in the text. Choose one word and tell why it is important.
4. Why did the author write the text?
5. Make a connection! Tell what the text reminds you of.
In first and second grade there is a printing practice section, while third grade is cursive.
Each grade has a sentence editing section where they have to fix up a sentence.
Then on the bottom of each page there are 2 math sections. Each day they work on a number sense topic as well as one other topic. Over the course of 5 days they will touch on number sense, measurement, data management or probability, patterning or algebra, and geometry.
Once I have finished solving the problems of the world (shoelaces, parents notes, bathroom breaks, etc.), then I walk around the room and check in with everyone to see how they are doing. If someone is stuck I give some support. I take anecdotal notes during this time as well.
I have loved this for the math portion because it introduces students to topics before I have taught them. This is why I don't mark it. BUT when it does come time teaching those topics, they have had exposure to them and it has made it easier for teaching them.
The best part of using the morning work is that my students LOVE it! They look forward to the new reading passage each week, they love printing and cursive practice (you would think it would be the opposite it but they really do love it, even the boys!).
You can check out my first grade, second grade, and third grade morning work packs by clicking here or any of the images in this blog post.