Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Schedule Spotlight Series- Morning Work

I am linking up with Kelli from Castles and Crayons for her Schedule Spotlight Series. I'm super excited about this becuase I love hearing how others organize and structure their classrooms! This week's topic is morning work.

Morning work is something we do but it moves quickly in my classroom! Students can start to enter the room at 8:20 when the first bell rings. Most of my kiddos come at this time becuase they are coming from breakfast. This helps us get a jump on our morning. When they come in, they put their items in their cubbies, turn in their folders for me to go through, make their lunch count, sharpen their pencils and make their Daily 5 choices for the day. I give them until the tardy bell rings at 8:30 to get this done. My pencil sharpener also 'closes' when the last bell rings. Even if they are in line or in the middle of sharpening, they need to stop and head back to their seats. We have televised announcements Tuesday-Friday which begin right at 8:30, so this eliminates the sound of the pencil sharpener and announcements trying to out-do each other.  During this time I take attendance, lunch counts and make sure all Daily 5 choices are ready for that afternoon. 

This past year was the first year our school went to block scheduling. In order to fit in my math block before we head to specials, we need to be completely done with morning work by 8:40. So....what do my kiddos actually do in the 10 minutes we have allotted for morning work (at the same time they are watching announcements)? Our Secret Number of the Week!

I bought this pack and it works perfectly in the time frame we have for morning work. What also works well is that the student recording sheet is broken into 'boxes'. Each day the kids have to complete a different box and they always complete the same box each day of the week. After the first week or so of school, I don't need to give directions in the morning! It works like this:

Monday- I post clues about our secret number and the kids have to figure out the secret number.
Tuesday- They have to show the secret number in as many ways as they can.
Wednesday- They have to come up with 3 addition and 3 subtraction problems that use the secret number. 
Thursday- They have to come up with as many ways as they can to show the secret number using dollars and/or cents.
Friday- They have to create their own story problem using the secret number. 

Honestly, this pack is fabulous! All the materials are included and it gives the students 'free reign' of their leaning. My struggling kiddos can come up with simple math problems while my higher kiddos try to think of the most outrageous ones. (By the end of the year they are trying to use multiple steps as ways to show the secret number.....they even learn how and when to use parentheses!)

When it is time to check over our work, I can do a quick walk through to make sure each child has completed the box for the day and then we go over example answers together. This goes quickly...usually 3-4 minutes.  And that's it! We make the most of the time we have and the consistency of the everyday routine helps to get things moving in the morning.

Be sure to head over and link up to share how you do morning work in your classroom!


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