June 26, 2016

The FIRST Day: Morning Work Ideas

I just completed my eighth year of teaching 2nd graders, but I can remember my very first day like it was, well, yesterday! There is something exhilarating and frightening about that moment when the bell rings and your students start entering your classroom on the first day. There is so much to be accomplished in the first hour of a new year, and yet, we haven't trained our students on the routines and expectations of our classrooms. For that reason, it can be very tricky to find something for our new kiddos to "Do" during that time. 

Don't stress! I have 3 super simple and classroom tested suggestions:

1. Play Doh. This is all about using resources you already have. Since I have a Play Doh center for indoor recess, I simply took that Play Doh and distributed it out evenly among the desks. As the kiddos entered my classroom, I told them they could create anything they wanted with it. This started our day on a calm, social, and fun note. You could, of course, challenge your students to create their family, something that represents their favorite summer activity, etc. if you want. Play Doh is pretty affordable at Wal Mart and the Dollar Tree, and click here for a recipe I found on Pinterest!

2. Name Word Search. I think that one of my fellow teammates gave me this idea during my first year of teaching. The kids love it, and most 2nd graders find word searches challenging enough (of the horizonal, vertical, and diagonal kind) that you may be able to have them work on completing it during free time throughout the first week. I like to use Super Teacher Worksheets' word search creator, however, it is not free. Here is a free Word Search generator. I include everyone's first name and my own as well. Be sure to double check that you have everyone's names included before you print it off! I'm paranoid enough to triple check so that no one feels left out. Could you imagine if your name was missing out of the Class Word Search on the first day of school? Yikes!

3. Come To The Carpet. It is what it sounds like. You don't HAVE To have something ready to entertain your students at their desks right away, especially if you have a short arrival time. At my old school, my students could arrive within the span of 30 minutes, so I would have never done this. But, at my current school, they arrive within 10 minutes, so this is a perfect morning activity. As your students enter, you could simply invite them to hang up their backpacks and join you in a circle on the carpet. Begin giving words of welcome or affirmation, asking questions, making introductions, and sharing. Easy Peasy!

I hope that you have found some ideas to help you through your first days of school this year!


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