Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Morning Routine Directions

When a brand new group of kids walk into your classroom on that first day of school, they need to know what to do.  Explicit instructions will help them feel secure.  You'll see fewer nervous children who are afraid of disappointing adults and therefore clam up or cry, and you'll see fewer boisterous children, who in the absence of rules, do whatever comes natural (and a ten year old's idea of natural behavior is probably not your idea for the classroom!

On the first day of school, we meet the children in the cafeteria.  We hold signs with our name, grade and room number so that any students who are new to the school have a better chance of finding the right adult to go to.  We introduce ourselves to each child, and then bring the whole class upstairs together. 

But along with greetings and introductions, going over routines is also important!  That's why before we enter the classroom, I always pause at the door, and tell them what to do when they enter the classroom.  I let them know that those directions are written on the board in case they forgot any.  Then I let them enter 4 at a time, to stagger the wandering/desk finding.

Having a repeat of those directions written on the board is useful.  Highlight key information, for those fourth graders who aren't proficient in reading and following multi-step directions. 

Reading a lot of text off the board early in the year can be tricky, which is why I tell them verbally first.  Watch for who is helping their peers, and who are looking lost.  Just keep in mind that not all shell shocked fourth graders stay that way year round.  Some have more difficulty with a new context.

I think the process of putting away things into desks BEFORE going to the closet help kids get established, makes them less likely to drop things or make repeat trips to the closet, and helps stagger how many kids are in the closet at once.  Also, I always have Morning Work for them to help them get settled, and give me time to do attendance and lunch count.

I give parents a copy of my expectations and behavior policies as well.  

What does your first day morning routine look like?


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