Friday, July 25, 2014

Solving the Morning Work HEADACHE!

I have a love/hate relationship with morning work. I love that it is a routine, useful thing for students to do when they are unpacked but others are still coming in.  I love that it's independent and encourages my students to read and follow directions.  I love that it gets my kids settled and ready for the day.  I love that it reviews important concepts.

I hate finding it.

I hate that I am super well-planned and usually have all of my copying, etc., done for my lessons done with plenty of time to spare, but that there is no particular morning work that I use (other than random things that fit what I'm teaching), so I spend more time looking for and deciding on THAT than actual lessons.  I don't want to spend time on morning work.  I want to spend the 5 free minutes I have before the kids come connecting with my friends and colleagues since we don't have common lunches or prep times.  And because I like them.  And it relaxes me and makes me happy, and what better way to greet my kiddos?

Here is me thinking about morning work:
Ow.  My head.
Here's the thing.  I have lots of great review worksheets that I can use as morning work.  I can also whip up a mean set of morning work boxes in no time.  But WHY?

Of course each year is different, but I essentially teach the same concepts around the same time each year.  So WHY am I spending time choosing and re-choosing morning work every day of every year?  It makes no sense.  And so... 

It was a major goal of mine this summer to create morning work that I can use OVER AND OVER each year.  I wanted it to be relevant and cover a variety of topics so that I am not digging for morning work to review math one day, word study the next, and so on.  And heck, make it Common Core based, because I teach in a CC state.  And so it begins!  

Enter... Morning Stretch!

I'm super excited about it!  Here are a few sample pages:

You may notice that each page has a blank face that asks how students feel today.  That's because I want to know.  (My tagline is "Taking care of little minds and hearts").  There's a story behind this.  When I used to throw together morning work boxes, I'd sometimes throw that "How are you feeling?" space in there because it was easy.  (Yes, I said it.)  It was one less problem I had to make up or spelling feature to work out.  BUT... it often turned out to be the most informative piece of their morning work.  When a student is angry or sad when they walk in the door, we are sometimes too busy with kid stories and lunch money and library books and emails from parents and the office to notice right away (Again.. I said it.  Teacher truth.).  I quickly found that this little box of feelings gave me incredibly important insight into my kiddies' hearts.  And so.  It stays.

I am really happy Morning Stretch!  You can find it in my TpT store here - Morning Stretch September

Here's a sneak peek at October!

Do you have morning work headaches?

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  1. I am glad you solved the morning work headache! The new product looks great! I really like that you have the kids self-assess how well they think they know the material. That is very informative to you as a teacher.

    Eclectic Educating


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