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Classroom Games, Other Creative Ways to Start the Day

Janelle Cox

As soon as students step foot into your classroom, you know if it will be a good day, or a bad day. Those first few minutes of the day will set the tone for the rest of the day. If the day starts off on the wrong foot, then it will most likely stay that way. To ensure that you (and your students) will have a fabulous productive school day, you must choose one way to get your students focused and ready to learn. One good way is through educational classroom games. Once you decide on how you will do that, then you must model it, and practice it every day until you feel your students can walk into the door and know what to do on their own.

Here are a few classroom games and other creative ways to start your school day off on the right foot.

Morning Message

This popular bellwork activity has been around for decades. Write a brief message to the students about what they will be doing throughout the day.  Make sure you fill it with spelling and grammar mistakes. The student’s job is to copy the morning message correctly into their journals. Then, as a class discuss the mistakes and talk about what you have planned for them for the day.

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Classroom Games: Quick Five

Each morning write five math problems, sentences students need to find errors in, writing prompt questions, or anything that you are currently working on. The student’s job is to answer the “quick five” in the notebooks each morning as soon as they arrive to class. Then, call on students to come to the board and answer the questions together as a class.

Morning Meeting

A great way to touch base with each student and build a classroom community is with a morning meeting. As soon the students put away their belongings have them sit on the carpet in a circle and get ready to discuss what they did last night, and what they will be doing today.

Question of the Day

A new take on the typical “question of the day” bellwork is to have students take turns thinking of a question. Each Friday afternoon before you are ready to pack up and go home, have students write down a question on a piece of paper. Then, have students fold up their questions and place them in a bowl. Randomly choose one question for each day of the following week.


D.E.A.R -- Drop Everything And Read. Start your morning off by having students read for 15-30 minutes as soon as they enter the classroom. This will help students focus and calm down the ones that like to chit chat in the morning.

Free Write

Have students free write in their journals while you take attendance, get activities ready, etc. Then, provide students with the opportunity to share what they have written with their peers.

Yoga in the Classroom

Yoga in the school setting is more than just a trend, it has become a lifestyle for many classrooms across the United States. Many administrators and teachers have found that the benefits of yoga have provided students with a way to manage stress, focus on their studies, and stay relaxed. Try starting your morning routine with a few yoga poses and you’ll find students more calm and ready to work.

Morning Packet

Create a morning review packet that has a variety of quick review activities students can complete. Include math, spelling, grammar, etc. Each morning when students arrive they will find a new morning packet on their desk and they must complete as much as they can until you say time is up. Then, as a class, go over the packet and the students that didn’t complete their pages must fill them in as you go over it.

Brain Gym

Brain gym exercises are fun, short activities that teachers do with their students to expend energy and enhance learning. Here are 10 free brain gym exercises that are prefect to start each morning.

Any daily starter activity that you choose make sure that you model it, then practice it. To keep mornings from getting too repetitive, try and choose a day to switch it up. For example, every Friday students get to listen to music as they complete their morning work. Be creative, and make mornings a fun way to stimulate their brains, and keep students upbeat.

What is your morning routine like? Do you have a creative activity that you do in the morning to keep students focused? Share with us in the comment section below.

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 a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for, as well as a contributing writer to and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators