Morning Work

Good morning! I had a couple of emails asking me about my morning work yesterday. I have a very cute section of my whiteboard with "Morning Work" and the days of the week with letters made from my Cricut. And I have a picture....on my camera....but I don't know where it is. I put it in a "safe place" when I was panicking and cleaning my house before the maid came so that she would not think we're hoarders or really messy people. The problem with the "safe place" is that I can never remember where it is! Ha!

I started this system the first week of school and it did take some time for the kids to really get in to the routine and stay focused. After a couple of weeks my students started to get into the routine. I like having some kind of morning work because it helps my kiddos get focused for the day. My morning work is also something that every student can be successful with.

Monday: Alphabetizing. At the beginning of the year I have words on index cards in my cute apple pocket chart. I start with just four words that are all three letter words. Students write the words in alphabetical order in their journals. I did a full week where that was their morning work every day. Then we walk through how to alphabetize EVERY day that week. And students check their answers. I do alphabetizing for two reasons 1) it's something that I have to teach them and I want them to have it mastered when they get to second grade (2) it's good practice for copying something from the board onto paper. That's a skill that's tough for a lot of first graders. At this point in the year I'm doing eight words. My kids were so excited that they now have eight words. I made a big deal, "Well y'all are just SO SMART I knew you could do eight words!"
Tuesday: Math Journal prompts. I usually have them do two journal prompts. I make mine numbered so on my white board it may say "Math Journal #12 and #13" They are simple and they review previous skills. I use the names of my teammates in the prompts too and they just love that. Our badges have our first names so all of our students know our first names and our last names. Ex: Amy had four apples. Jennifer ate one apple. How many apples does Amy have left? My students know I want them to write the number sentence and draw a picture because "that is a very good strategy." (I hear them say that! Have I scarred them?)
Wednesday: Cut and color. This year my group as a whole has terrible fine motor skills. TERRIBLE. We've been doing this all year so now they are all experts at cutting curved objects and they are great at coloring in the lines. Now they all show off their creativity. The pictures I use are from some kind of coloring or doodle book from, no joke, like 30 years ago. A teammate had them and she uses them for fine motor skills too.
Thursday: Math Journal Prompts again.
Friday: Word search. As I mentioned last week on Fridays we have ridiculous amazing and totally-not-a-waste-of-time-at-all morning assemblies. By the time we get back to the classroom the kids are all wound up and need to focus. It's Friday and I work my kids pretty hard all week so they deserve a little fun. I try to make themed word searches. Sometimes they have science terms or focus on something we've learned about like Martin Luther King Jr. (Click here for the link to that wordsearch) Sometimes I just don't have the energy to make one so I find them on the good ol' internet. And sometimes fellow bloggers have word searches. (*I don't know about y'all but whenever I have a game that I have bought or downloaded from TPT or Teachers Notebook or I found on a blog I tell my kiddos that my friend made it. They think I have the coolest friends. And they aren't wrong!)

I'm working on putting together my math journal prompts. I'll tell you it's hard because you have to make sure your low readers can read the words too. Now, my group is actually very good at math so when we are struggling with a concept in ELA I sometimes change my Tuesday, Thursday work to something that focuses on those skills. Does that make sense?

Hope everyone has a great weekend. I can't wait to go to the Everything's Kindergarten blog expo this morning. Also, I'm so ready to eat chips and salsa and watch the Winter X Games! Woohoo! I leave you with this video of Colten Moore....he went on to WIN THE GOLD!


  1. Jennifer, I just found your blog, and you have so many g ood ideas! I just made a first-grade heart sight word board game and thought you might be interested in entering the contest to win it. Come over to my blog and check it out!

    Sharon Dudley, NBCT

  2. I love the morning work routine. We do one, too. I love the idea of a routine because the kids know exactly what is expected of them on any morning. I have one little kindergartner who always reports to me our morning work... as if I didn't remember! :)

    Colleen Patton
    Mrs. Patton’s Patch

  3. What great ideas for morning work! I love how you have a specific schedule for what you do throughout the week. I usually choose my morning worked based on what they are currently working on as a review, but I really like this idea! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy the Expo!

    Lisa :)
    Made In The Shade In Second Grade

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your morning work routine! Love seeing how other teachers "handle" the morning! I'm new to blogging and really enjoy your blog! Thanks again!

    Peace, Love and First Grade

  5. Jennifer, thanks for coming over to my blog! I'm your newest follower now. :)

    Sharon Dudley, NBCT

  6. Jennifer,
    I love this morning work and idea. I am going to take some of these ideas and re-vamp my morning work routine. I will tell the kids that my friend helped me! They will love it. Thanks you. I would love to see some pictures if you find them.

    Randi @ Teach It With Class
    My TPT Store
    My Facebook Page

  7. I love to hear what other teachers are doing for morning work! Great ideas :)

    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  8. Totally understand cleaning before the housecleaner comes. But now I don't remember what that feels like because when we got our 5% paycut, we had to let the housecleaner go. Now I AM the housecleaner and no one cleans the house before I do.
    Love the word problems with the friends' names!
    And you crack me up about the X games! Enjoy the chips and salsa!
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  9. I've never done the morning work thing but I really like how you've got yours organized. I might have to try it:) thanks!

    Grade ONEderful

  10. I like your routine for morning work. That would be so easy to keep me on track. I try to incorporate a poem one morning a week. But there is no "routine" to what might appear. My kids need math journal work so bad!!! Can I say l.a.z.y?

    Where do you go to make your word searches?

  11. I love to hear how other teachers do things...thanks for sharing!
    First Grade Blue SKies

  12. I really liked reading what you do for morning work. I am definitely doing some kind of math journal next year.

    Here's my morning (at least for right now!): 15 minutes into the day (so basically right after the time the kids freeze and line up after the bell, I give quick announcements, and give them a hug on the way in the door), we have a reading group that leaves the room. So I can't teach anything new during the first 45 min. of the day. Right now, I have the kids write in their journals (basically a free write) on Mondays and on Fridays it's 'Catch Up' day. But, I just started something one of the other 1st grade teachers does in the mornings on the other days. I hand out a short little poem to the class and they have to be word detectives. They color the capitals at the beginning of sentences green, red for end marks, and yellow for commas. Then they look for sight words and draw eyes on top, and heart our know spelling by heart words. Then they start looking for spelling patterns and blends. At the end of the time, we read it all together. Actually they read it to me because they're "super fantastic" readers.
    It's been amazing! They are seeing those things now in their writing and in other places too. They get so excited when they see it elsewhere or when they write it themselves! Wow, that was a long comment, but I just had to share! Thanks if you read all that! ; ) ~Heidi V.

  13. Tag your it! Come visit me to see your tag! :)
    Crayons and Curls

  14. Thank you for sharing your mornings with us! If it was my room, we would have to add Breakfast in the Classroom first....FUN TIMES!!!!

    Heather's Heart