It’s crunch time!! I have 13 days of school to go and a list sooooo long I wonder how it will get done?!!
Reading Together Partner Plays!
This guy was patient while his buddies outlined his body!
I love that these girls are playing with “Matchbox” cars!
Part of the problem was the timing of kids filtering into the classroom, and the other problem was my students didn’t have a chance to “catch up” with each other from the day before.
I’m not sure if your school is like mine but my kids “filter in” to the classroom in the morning as they arrive. They are allowed to be dropped off by bus or carpool up to 30 minutes before school starts each morning!
This is much different than what happened when I taught in California. In every school I worked at previously, students met at the playground and “socialized” before the bell rang and they lined up to walk to the classroom and start their day.
When I started teaching in North Carolina, I was stumped. I asked so many teachers, “What do you have your kids do before school starts?” Most of them responded to some variation of morning work. So I tried it.
Every morning I put our some Printing Practice morning work for my students to work on as they “filtered in.”
Download Handwriting Practice worksheets here
And EVERY MORNING I said, “Get to work, stop talking, if you are finished do a quiet activity, find a book to read”….blah blah blah. #FRUSTRATION The kids who arrived early were finishing quickly and had nothing to do while waiting for school to start.
The kids on the late bus were barely making it into the classroom before the bell. It would be unfair of me to hold them accountable for more extensive morning work.
They just wanted to talk about their soccer games or a movie they saw the night before.
Then it hit me!
As adults, we need time to socialize before the start of our day, meetings, bible study etc. We never get right to work!
It is so common that we start meetings with chit chat, or sip our coffee and catch up at the copy machine.
So I started “Social Time” in my classroom. I pretty much allow my students to choose any activity they’d like to do.
Students play, talk, write, and read together. I just have one rule: BE SAFE!
I LOVE listening in on their conversations.
I LOVE seeing their collaboration efforts.
I LOVE that they are happier and having the time to share the things that are most important with their peers.
I also LOVE that I don’t have to spend my morning redirecting behaviors so we have a good start to the day. #WINNING
Two unexpected benefits of Social Time:
Those students who have difficulty sticking to their task, now have more motivation to complete their work. They know if their assignments are not completed the day before they will have to do the work during the next morning’s Social Time.
In addition, after monitoring my students for a short time at the beginning of the year and seeing that they are adhering to the expectations, I am free to call individual or small groups of students to work with me on interventions, absent work, reteaching…all those things that I need more minutes in the day to catch up on!
Now when social time is over, my kids get right to work on a short morning review until the morning announcements are over and we start our morning meeting together!
Thanks for reading….I’d love for you to leave a comment below…How do you start your day? Do you have any ideas I could add to my social time?
resources mentioned in this post
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