Mornings Made Easy!

Hello there! 

Mornings are not meant to be crazy. I like my mornings relaxing and calm, and that is exactly how they are in my classroom! "How?" Well, it all started with a little idea called the Morning Work Binder.

A little background on the Morning Work Binder: 

I created this Morning Work binder after the headache of "What do I do in the morning to keep my students busy without too many questions, so I can do the fifty million things I have to finish before 8:00?"

I had tried everything: whiteboards, reading at your seat, worksheets, sight word flashcards, etc. I was tired of making copies and trying to keep my early students occupied while I was helping the later students arrive and get settled. Worksheets didn't always work because I would have the earlier finishers, and the ones who were still working although I wanted to start our day. There wouldn't be time to finish later and half of the worksheets would be thrown away. What a waste of paper! The books, flashcards, whiteboards, etc became a headache with students becoming bored, drawing on the whiteboards, not having the right sight words, etc. I was sick and tired of the morning work dilemma.

After some research, I had found an idea on Pinterest, where the students used wipe off sheets that were laminated as an idea for a handwriting center. I tweaked the idea to do the same thing but during the morning work time and organize it in a binder. I have used this Morning Work Binder for the past 4 years as our morning work! 

To make the Morning Work Binder:

 I use 1/2 inch binders and sheet protectors, rather than laminating. I always ask the parents to donate sheet protectors and I had bought a class set of 1/2 inch binders for this purpose. A few sheet protectors may have to be replaced throughout the year, but there is minimal upkeep involved. I did not print out every single page, but rather focused on handwriting, writing their name, sight words, and numbers for the beginning of the year. Halfway through, I added the hundreds chart, calendar, word families, and phonics pages. I also have additional "worksheets" that I would pull on some Fridays, or if we had extra time that morning to work. 

If you have parent volunteers, this is a great job for them to do in the beginning of the year. 

Here is a student working in their Morning Work Binder. I also added a few of my Calendar Journal pages to the binder.
How to implement it in your classroom: 

First of all, strong classroom management and procedures go a LOOOOOOONG way when working through your day. In the beginning of the year, I have everything planned out to the minute and procedures to go along with every part of the day. So, when implementing your Morning Work Binder, you have to have a SOLID procedure. It will save a lot of time answering silly questions or students being off task. 

Here is my morning procedure with the morning work binder:
1. Students come in, greet the teacher, and unpack their backpack. 
2. Students take out their Morning Work Binder and look at the board to see which page they are working on. (I put it on the SMART Board, under the Doc Cam, or hang it on the whiteboard.) 
3. Students get a black expo marker and start working. Once they finish the page once, they erase it, and do it again.
4. When it it time to start the day, a 1 minute clean up timer will go off. They will erase their page, clean up their binders, put them back where they belong and make sure they close up the marker caps tightly. Last, they will go sit on the carpet. 

We also establish these expectations: 

•If they have questions about what to do, they "Ask 3, then me". There is always a student who can help them, before they ask me.
•If they finish, they either do the page again, for example the handwriting pages can be erased and worked on again. Or, they make work on a handwriting or numbers page. Sometimes I will write a "Must Do, Can Do" on the board. 

•Must Do: Sight Word of the Day- "the" 
•Can Do: Handwriting Pages Lower Case f-j 

How to teach your students to work on it independently: 
It's Kindergarten and it will take time and patience until the students are able to work on it independently. Be patient and be flexible. I didn't start using it until about a week into the school year. I wanted the students to be "pros" at their morning procedure. Adding the Morning Work Binder was easy once they had the routine down. 

The first day I showed them the binder and explained why they would be working on it everyday. They were SO excited to use Expo markers and to get their own binder. We flipped through the pages and talked about what to do on each page briefly. 

Every day, I would show them how to work on a new page during our Reading Whole Group time. We would work on it together a few times, answer any questions they had, and quickly go over the procedure. The next morning, they would do that same page from the day before. By this time, they were able to do it almost independently. This process took about 2 weeks, but after those two weeks, they were pros! 

And here is a page from the Morning Work Binder for FREE! Just click on the picture.

Comment below and let me know how you use it in your classroom!

1 comment

  1. This is interesting, thanks for sharing your ideas, you can also try these kindergarten math games :) xoxo