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A Classroom Morning Routine Made Easy

Janelle Cox

What happens in your classroom when students arrive? Is it utter chaos or do students know exactly what is expected of them? What happens in the first few minutes of the school day can set the tone for the rest of the day. Here are a few tips and ideas to make your classroom morning routine a little easier.

Arrival Routine

When students enter the classroom greet them with a warm smile and a hello, then send them on their way. Make sure they know what is expected of them and put it in writing, so if they forget they can easily be reminded. Here is an example of a typical classroom morning routine.

  • Students arrive and unpack their book bag and hang up their jacket.
  • They indicate their lunch choice and attendance for the day.
  • They identify their weekly job or do their job.
  • They make sure they have sharpened pencils and their homework is handed in.
  • They complete their morning workbook and wait patiently for the morning meeting to begin.

This procedure should be rehearsed each day and will eventually become routine for students. A well-crafted classroom morning routine will set the tone and pace for the rest of the day. What you choose for students to do during arrival time will have a great impact on how the rest of the day will go. If it is too fast-paced, some students may feel overwhelmed, and this could lead to an unpleasant day. Make sure you structure the morning so it is calm and students feel excited for what the day will bring. 

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Morning Meetings

A morning meeting is a great way to start the day. It actively engages students, builds a sense of community, improves academic and social skills, as well as helps students calmly settle in for the day. In addition to all of that, it promotes student responsibility and helps students reflect on their actions. This powerful teaching tool makes the morning routine so much easier. Here are a few steps to help you get started.

  • Start the morning meeting about 15 to 30 minutes after students arrive.
  • Each morning at the meeting have students sit next to someone new.
  • Students should take turns greeting one another by name with hospitality.
  • At the meeting, students can take turns sharing information from their lives while the listeners can ask questions and offer comments.
  • After students are done sharing, you can use this time to talk about any news, events or problems that are happening in school, then you can have students participate in a brief group activity (sing, dance, play a game).
  • End the meeting with a morning message on the board. This message should be read together as a class. In the message you can include the date, what you did yesterday, what you will be doing today, and what you want the students to do now. You can even make spelling and punctuation errors for students to pick out and fix. If you are going to have students pick out the grammar mistakes, be sure to put the number of mistakes in the top corner so students know how many to look for.

To execute your morning routine, I suggest posting a visual cue of your expectations somewhere in the classroom where all students have access to it. Once you figure out what you want students to do as they arrive, rehearse and practice each day until it becomes a routine.

What does your morning routine look like? Do you do a morning meeting? Do you have a specific morning routine you do that you would like to share? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who draws on her 15 years of professional experience in the education system. 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 About.com, where she provides educational information and lesson plans for teachers around the globe.