Sunday, January 27, 2013

Good mornin'...good mornin'...we've talked the whole night through...

I know I know, it isn't morning (well it might be for some people reading this but it is late night posting it). BUT that is the song that is stuck in my head right now as I get ready to share with you my new, amazing, out of this world morning work routine. And I have a lot of other bloggers to thank for this routine.

What happened was this... About a month into the school year, my support schedule changed and I was now scheduled to have Chinese every morning at 8:45. That is first thing in the morning and left (so I thought) no time for morning work. My kids were just straggling in by 8:30 and have to eat breakfast in the classroom. It got to the point where I was getting frustrated even assigning work because most of them weren't even finishing it.

Then... I got even more mad that I wasn't doing things that really helped my kids last year. And so with the help of Ashleigh, Nicole, and Denise, I now have the most amazing morning work routine ever.

I decided over winter break that this was it. I was going to enforce this routine and I didn't care how slow my kids were at first, they were going to get this all done. And I am proud to say that after less than a month of this, they (for the most part) get all of the following done, every. single. morning.

For starters, when we get ready to dismiss, the students put their homework folders on their desks. You would be surprised how much time that one simple step saves for the next morning. Students don't have to fumble around trying to find their folder and they also know to start it right away because it is right there in front of them.

They come in and start with Ashleigh's weekly word problems. I have loved these since last year and they REALLY helped my kids understand clue words for word problems. By the end of the year my kids were working through them really fast.

The next step is 4 boxes of the weekly word wizard from Denise. This is made for 2nd grade but I find that it serves as a GREAT review for my kids on skills that we might not otherwise review. Plus, to make it more challenging, when we go over them, I make the students justify their answer.

The third thing is also from Ashleigh. We do her number of the day. However, I have turned it into the number of the week. When I first introduced this activity, we took a blank copy (with no number, but it had hints on it- this is included in the pack) and color coded the boxes for each day. Some days there are 3 boxes, some days 4, and on Thursday and Friday just 2 and 1. I was REALLY worried about them doing this one for two reasons: 1- some of the stuff we haven't even learned yet and 2- some of it is actually a little challenging for my kids. BUT again my kids have amazed me and they are doing great with this!

The final step is to complete Nicole's Daily Fix It Up sentences. These are another thing I have loved since last year! My kids have a half composition notebook (which makes it even more fun because of how cute the notebook size is) and they copy the sentences inside and correct the mistakes. I project this on the smartboard (the rest isn't projected, obviously since we only have one board, until we go over it together). The kids LOVE these and LOVE to find the mistakes. This is also another thing whre I make them justify their answer.

Yes it seems like a lot...especially because they get only 30 minutes IF they get there right at 8:15 (but don't have to be in until 8:30) but they do it. And it keeps them busy and quiet. And yes, it takes time to go over it each and every day (because we do, unless something comes up-typically broken technology), but I really am finding that it is worth it because of how much we can pack in in those morning work minutes.

If you are in need of some morning work ideas I HIGHLY suggest looking at any or all of the products above. They could obviously be used for things other than morning work (homework, morning meeting, centers, etc) but this is the best way for us.

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