By Teachers, For Teachers
You’ve have probably heard that first few minutes when your students enter the classroom will determine the type of school day that you’ll have. So if your students are miserable, then you had better get ready for a long day. Many teachers start their day with classroom activities like having their students read silently or do morning work, so if some of their students are having a bad day, they’ll have a few minutes to gather their thoughts by themselves before it’s time to learn. While these are both great ways to start the day, teachers have found even better classroom activities to jumpstart the day so students will not only be happier but productive as well. Here are some first-thing classroom activities trending in today’s schools.
Are you ever tired of doing the same thing day in and day out? Your students may be too, that’s why some classroom teachers are now starting their day with the wake-up and-work circuit. The idea behind this activity is that each morning, students come school and start their day doing something different than the day before. For example, on Mondays, students have a morning meeting where they get to talk about what they did over the weekend. On Tuesdays when they arrive at school, they are ready to jumpstart the day by following along to a yoga sequence on the Smartboard. On Wednesdays, students are excited to come to school because they get to play a review game with the class next door. On Thursday, students arrive ready to learn a new song, and on Fridays students start their day with a fun review game. You can stick to the same circuit each week, or you can mix it up. The great thing about starting your day with the wake-up-and-work circuit is that the students really enjoy it, and many teachers are even finding that their attendance is going up.
Much like the work circuit, Give Me Five is designed to go from one thing to the next, but for this morning activity, students must complete five tasks at one time. The idea behind this is that students work alone to complete their five tasks, while their friends are entering the classroom and the teacher is greeting their students and getting ready for the day. Here’s an example: The teacher would write five questions, five math problems, or five writing prompts on the front board, and the students would complete the five tasks in their notebooks. Then once everyone is settled and the morning work is completed, the teacher can either go over it with the class, or look at it at a later time. It’s a popular morning activity to start the school day, because it’s quick and easy, and keeps the students busy.
The morning challenge is a trending way to start the day, because who doesn’t love a good challenge? This is especially popular with the older students. Each morning, the teacher writes a challenge for students on the front board, and the students’ job is to complete the challenge before a set time in the morning. A great example of this morning activity comes from a 5th grade classroom. Each day, the teacher would put a morning challenge on the front board for the students to complete. One day, she would put a brain teaser on the board for them to figure out, and another day she would post a photograph of something peculiar and ask students to describe what they see, then use that photograph as an intro to a writing lesson. One of her students’ favorite challenges was when she asked them to complete a body challenge. She would post a picture of someone rolling their tongue or trying doing a hard yoga pose. The morning challenge is a unique and fun way to jumpstart the day before diving into schoolwork.
Whether you approach the day by jumping right into work or if you ease into it, it’s important that you take the time to create a daily morning routine. When you have a routine that your students are used to doing, it will make for more productive day.
How do you start your school day? Do you start your mourning with any of these classroom activities? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we’d love to hear what you have to say on this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.