Chaotic. Frenzied. Loud. Yep, my mornings used to start out like that too. As it turns out, that's not a great way to start the day in elementary school classroom! I was frantically trying to get attendance and lunch count done (please don't call my room again - I'm sorry I forgot to send it!). Meanwhile, my students are trying to tell me their fish died...they saw a cool bug...their grandmother is picking them up...and everything in between. It. Was. Not. Working. We needed routine STAT!
Next, we needed a system. A place to turn in notes. A place to choose their lunch. A place to put their completed homework. All labeled and easy to see. Again, visuals are helpful. Click here to grab the bin labels for free!
And now, we practice. And then practice some more. And then practice even more after that! I realized the more we went over the routine in September, the smoother the rest of the year went. We revisit the routine about once a month (especially after vacations) or whenever I start to see my kids fall out of sync.
In addition to the Morning Routine posters, I also have the daily schedule posted. This allows students to know what to expect for the rest of the day. I have found that this cuts down quite a bit on questions, as well.
I always have something for my students to work on when they get to their seats. I use morning journals. I put one together for each student at the beginning of the month and the students keep them in their work folder in their desks. It simplifies my life, since I don't need to worry about morning work every day. It's a great way for them to get extra creative writing practice as well.
Once we get our routine down, our mornings run SO much smoother. It's a wonderful way to ease into the day and get started on the right foot.