Mornings can sometimes be chaotic if you don’t have a systematic routine for students to follow. To have excellent classroom management in the morning, set a routine and model it. This helps students know what to expect when they come into the classroom and will help alleviate any off task behavior. Keep reading for tips to creating the perfect kindergarten morning routine.
Preparing for Your Daily Morning Activities
Before students come into the classroom, put their sign in sheets and a card on their table. (We will talk about sign in sheets and what cards you are putting on their tables in the next couple of paragraphs.) Also, know what you want to do for your morning meeting, like what question and/or discussion you want to have during the community building time. Having these things done before your students arrive will help you be prepared for the first part of your day.
When students come into the room, have them go straight to their table and sign in. Having them sign in is a great way to practice writing their names. Walk around, making sure they are practicing correct letter formation. You don’t have to get to everybody every day. Instead, label each seat assignment with a colored dot. Then check all the red dots on Monday, the green dots on Tuesday… and so on. This will allow you to check each sign in sheet once a week. As the year progresses, I add fun practice problems on the back of the sign in sheets. Teachers Pay Teachers offers a few free name tracing sheets. I like this one the best. It has five lines of name tracing. So I use one sheet for the whole week. Students trace their name once each day. If you decide to add practice problems on the back, add five lines of practice problems, just like the front of the sign in sheet, so they complete one line a day. Be sure to model this, as it can be confusing for kindergarteners.
Daily Activity: Card Matching
For an engaging morning activity, place a fun phonics matching card next to each students’ sign in sheet. I do this before they come into the classroom. After signing in, students bring their card to the learning carpet and find its match. Students then sit where the card was. At the beginning of the year, students might be matching letters, like capitals to lowercase. Later, matching letters to a picture that starts with the same sound. As the year goes on, add onset and rime, like c match to -at. I like to put the cards on the learning carpet in a circle close to the perimeter. I teach students to sit behind their matching cards so they are already on the perimeter and ready for morning circle time. Check out our matching cards as pictured below. They cover capital and lowercase letter matching, beginning sounds, rhyming, medial sounds, onset and rime, decoding, and digraphs.
Model, model, model – if you want your students to know your expectations of how to come into the classroom, show them how it’s done, and continue modeling throughout the year, especially if you change anything (like changing what kind of card is on their table, or adding their last name to the sign in sheet, or adding practice problems to the back of the sign in sheet.)
Morning Routine Song
I start playing a song around the time the first student finishes signing in and comes to the carpet. I usually play a good morning song to welcome my students. For a list of our favorite morning songs to play during our morning routine, see 11 Fantastic Good Morning Songs for Kids.
Morning meeting is such an important part of the day. This is the time to welcome your students. Let them know you are so glad they are at school. Have community building discussions. Talk about the schedule for the day. Maybe add a little movement and mindfulness to get the class ready for learning. If you need hints on how to run a successful morning meeting in your classroom, read The Perfect Morning Meeting for Kindergarten.
Morning message can be a great learning time. Write a few sentences to welcome your students and tell them something about the day. After reading and discussing the message, use it to teach them about words and sentences. Ask the students questions such as: Can you find the word ____? How many letters does that word have? How many sentences are in our message? What do the sentences start with? What do the sentences end with? Can you find a word that ends in -ing?
Kindergarten Calendar Time
Calendar time in kindergarten is very important and might be included in your morning routine, or you might do it right before your math block. There are lots of topics that can be included at calendar time, for example: the days of the week, what month it is, how many days we’ve been in school, the weather, and so on. Check out Miss Kindergarten’s blog for a great explanation of calendar time for kindergarten.
This wraps up the kindergarten morning routine. You can do all of these steps or pick which ones work best for you and your students. Let us know what morning routine pieces you like best in the comments below.