Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Morning "Do Now" in a Workshop Classroom

Are you thinking about the first 5 minutes of your school day and wondering how you can get everyone in the room, unpacked, and started with academic work quickly?

Or are you wondering how you can fit all the academic work you want to into a school day?  Thinking through your morning "Do Now" routine may be helpful.

Of course many of us begin our day with attendance, collecting notes, and then sitting down for a morning meeting at the rug.  We can keep our kids working hard during these first 5-10 minutes before the morning meeting - and we can give them meaningful work to do.

I like to start the school day in Pre-k and K (and even first and second grade) with 5-10 minutes of an academic activity that gets kids talking, and capitalizes on their morning energy.  Here are some options you may want to try:

  • 4-6 Kids a day do their book shopping for reading workshop.
Remember to keep this schedule posted so students know their shopping days.  I like to invite the books shoppers to enter the classroom first, so they can unpack and get 5-10 minutes for book shopping in the classroom library.

  • Storytelling time with partners.  

Kids often come to school wanting to tell teachers stories and so giving them a few minutes in the morning to sit at the rug and tell stories is powerful - and it helps them plan stories for writing workshop. I have seen teachers teach kids to hold out their three fingers and tell stories across fingers (just like we do in writing workshop) each morning.  Kids sometimes retell old favorites - and even stories from the classroom.  Some teachers keep a box of field trip photos handy to help kids tell stories.  This picture shows a drawing from a story some kindergarten kids told about a fire drill.

  • Singing a song or reading a poem together at the rug.
Teachers can give students the job of pointing to the words of the song or poem on a chart/smart board. The guest pointer can start the music and use the pointer.  As kids come to the rug, they can join in the singing or chanting.

  • Word Study Sorts
Click here to see the posting on teaching word study sorts to help you get word study up and running.  Then, once it is running smoothly in your classroom, invite students to do their sorting first thing when they enter the room.

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