Mornings in the classroom – calm, quiet, serene… until the bell rings. Then the chaos begins. Your morning routine looks like: talking, being silly, forgetting supplies in their lockers, not getting their bell-work done, telling stories, yelling across the room. Sound familiar?
Yup – I’ve been there. It is a stressful way to start the day. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE when kids are excited to get into the classroom but as teachers, our time is precious and we just can’t waste 25 minutes each morning getting the class to settle.
Students need a morning routine
I have a little morning ritual I follow every day. I wake up, I read a few pages of a book, write down a couple of notes in a gratitude journal, and start the getting ready process. This routine keeps me sane. If we as adults need our routines, the students in your class need them even more.
Your students should know exactly what to do the moment they walk through your classroom door. From where things go (e.g., agendas, homework), to what they need to do, to how much time they have to do it. It may sound excessive, but these kinds of routines completely changed mornings in my classroom.
Imagine having time in the morning to connect with students and get yourself organized
Picture this: Bell rings, students walk in, get their things, sit at their desk, and start working on bell-work/morning bins/morning tasks… whatever you choose. That frees you up to walk around your classroom and check-in with your students. Ask about their night, what they ate for breakfast, if they won their hockey game. These moments are incredible for relationship-building and classroom management. If your students feel acknowledged and cared about first thing in the morning, there is a good chance some behaviours will be avoided for the rest of the day. You can also take this time to pull students to your desk and ask them about missing assignments or homework.
At this point, you are probably wondering “how?”
It’s as simple as a Morning Slide.
Morning Slides are a tool you can use through Google or PowerPoint. The purpose of the slide is to give students an overview of the period coming up and a list of tasks to complete. The slides I use have timers on them so that students also know when these tasks are supposed to be done by. That is the piece that many teachers are missing – accountability. Without timelines, many of our students will procrastinate and then end up saying “woops, I didn’t have time to finish that”, when they in fact walked in at the same time as everyone else.
The slides I use have multiple different timers to suit a variety of activities in your class. This system and approach works flawlessly if you can also incorporate it into your classroom rewards or behaviour management system. Last year, I used the house system in my classroom (shoutout Hello Mrs. Harwick) and teams would earn points if their entire group completed the tasks on the board before the timer went off. This allowed students to be working towards a common goal which meant that THEY were holding each other accountable. I rarely had to step in and redirect a student because their teammates would do that before I got a chance.
Now, this can work with ANY system you have. Whole-class, groups, individual… it all fits. Just make sure your students understand the morning slides, the timers, the incentive, and the goal of it all.
Peaceful mornings in your classroom are possible and they do NOT need to be difficult to implement. Start small. Teach your students the systems of your classroom first – where the agendas go, where the bellwork will be. Then, have them practice checking the whiteboard/projector the moment they walk in. In about a week, you’ll have a flawless morning routine that your students will love.
Want to start a morning routine?
The morning slides I use everyday are here. I SWEAR by these slides and my students absolutely love when they switch out as the seasons/holidays go by. These slides will provide you with all of the timer options (5, 10, 15, 20, & 30) and all of the themes. Click here or the image below to check it out!
What 1000+ other teachers are saying…
“I use these EVERY morning as my opening for my morning meeting Zooms. My parents love the organization of them and the routine of seeing them each day to get a feel for our learning that day. Thank you!”
“I have these all set up for our morning routine and I think they will help a lot with having a smooth transition into the classroom to start our day. Also gives myself a chance to get organized while they are working with the morning slide.”
“OMG, such a deal I’m telling you! I used to type the kids a message each morning using the stickies application and display that on the promethean. No longer- So now how cute that I can use these, they have so many different ones and for all year long so you can change them to spice things up! I LOVE the different timer choices right on there-genius (again, I would have to pull up a timer on Google and use that each time.) These are right there for you! AWESOME IDEA!!!”
Want to try before you buy? Check out my morning slides FREEBIE here. This is a fall-themed slide you can use with the 5 & 10 minute timers as a little tester before you buy the full set.
Check out these related blog posts and products:
Class Slides Bundle for Total Classroom Management
Digital Learning: Keeping Students Engaged