I remember back to my first year of teaching. I had completed my student teaching and had a few years of subbing under my belt. I felt fairly confident about teaching in general.
Creating a morning routine has made a huge difference in our entire school day. It really helps to get the day started off on the right foot! I start working on our morning routine on Day #1. We practice it over and over for the first few weeks of school, until it becomes second nature to my students. You can read more about how I run our morning routine here.
Part of our morning routine is to write in our morning journals. To say I love these things, would be an understatement. It’s a great activity for my students to work on while I collect notes, take attendance and do lunch count. It also allows for my students to have a little extra writing time in their day.
This is my favorite part of the day! I write a morning message to my students each day, previewing what we will be doing and any changes to our normal schedule (assemblies, etc). We read the message together, do calendar time and exchange a morning greeting. It’s such a positive way to start our day!
As much as we practice our morning routine, we practice dismissal as well. We have a system for how we get packed up at the end of the day. I call students one by one to hand back their take-home folders, they then go to their mailboxes to collect their mail. They return to their seat to put their mail IN their folders and then go to their cubby for their backpack and jacket. We use these posters to keep track of how students are going home on a particular day. Underneath I hang each students’ name and they can be moved around easily if someone is going home a different way on a particular day.