22 students file into the classroom, put everything away neatly, and quietly begin to work. I have time to go through folders, read important notes, and
drink my coffee take attendance. How is this possible? Because I intentionally created a kindergarten morning routine that was low maintenance, stress-free, and flexible.
I loved that my day started in a calm and organized way. My students loved the consistency and routine they came to do automatically. A smooth start to the day makes such a difference for everyone!
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While the schedule is the same every day, there are many ways to add variety to the activities to keep them fresh and engaging. Here are five simple steps to create a stress-free kindergarten morning routine:
1. Intentionally greet all of your students at the door.
Starting on day one, I high-five or shake hands with each student when they walk in my classroom. I want them to know they are welcome and important from the moment they step in. This easy first step helps create a positive classroom community. It also gives me a quick way to gauge students and see if anyone seems “off” that morning. You can teach students to pick from a:
- Fist bump
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Or you can go all out like this teacher and make up a custom handshake for each student. Find what you’re comfortable with, what your students are comfortable with, and start doing it.
2. Let students put their own belongings away.
Spend time showing students where to put things and how to do it. Think about backpacks, lunch boxes, folders, and jackets. Where does each item go? I even went as far as to teach my students to hang their jackets on the hook under their backpacks so they had easy access to their backpacks all day.
One tip a mentor teacher taught me was to have students put their folders in a bucket which I later moved to my table to stuff and write in at the end of each day. It was super helpful to have things all in one place! If I had a school wide note to send home, it went in the bucket.
I knew exactly what needed to go in them every day. This saved me from losing important papers, too!
It doesn’t matter where the rest of the items go, just that students know exactly what to do. Automaticity is key!
3. Provide meaningful morning work.
As soon as students have put everything away, they should know to begin their morning work. Morning work can be simple and meaningful. Check out this post HERE for some great ideas that are easy to implement.
Morning work can include:
- Games or exploration tubs
- Completing unfinished work from the previous day
- Grammar warm-ups to review
- Book boxes or book tubs for students to read
Make sure to explicitly model and provide opportunities to practice any activity students are expected to do independently. We want them to be successful during this time.
While students complete morning work, I had time to:
- go through folders
- check for parent notes or money
- take attendance
- turn in a lunch count
- give students extra TLC if it is needed
All without interruptions!
If on the rare occasion an urgent matter came up that I had to handle before the day started, the time was already built in for that. I didn’t have bored students sitting around and waiting for me. I loved that I could take care of matters without wasting time.
4. Conduct a purposeful morning meeting.
An intentional morning meaning can help students get to know each other, get students connected to each other, create a positive classroom environment, review, and informally assess what they know. This is one of my favorite parts of my kindergarten morning routine.
I usually follow these simple steps for my morning meetings:
A morning meeting usually starts with an opportunity for students to greet each other by name. It can be quick and fast or creative and fun. Learning to look someone in the eye and call them by name goes a long way outside of the classroom.
I also loved singing a fun greeting song!
Then, we spent a few minutes sharing. I often asked the class a question and had them turn knee-to-knee with their carpet buddy and answer the question. Next, I randomly called on a few students to share with the whole class and give the students a chance to ask questions. The sharing questions could be personal or academic. I prefer to do more personal questions so they can really get to know each other and make connections to each other.
Whole Group Activity
The activity varied each day, but it would include:
- Shared reading
- Playing a quick sight word game
- Role-playing situations to revisit classroom expectations
- Singing songs from science or social studies
The purpose of the whole group activity is to review something, get students interacting, and hopefully, let students move around some.
5. Work through a morning message.
Before students arrive in your classroom for the day, write a brief morning message. You can write about what students learned the day before, include a skill to practice, squeeze some sight word review in, or tell them something exciting for the day. Check out these helpful tips for morning messages.
Here is what a sample day might look like:
- 7:45 Pick up students and greet them at the door (5 minutes)
- 7:50 Students begin morning work (10 minutes)
- 8:00 Clean up morning work and move to the carpet for the morning meeting and morning message (10-15 minutes)
These five simple steps will set you up for a smooth, efficient kindergarten morning routine. When students know what to expect every single day, mornings become automatic. Keep the same schedule, and just change up what you do for each part. You can do it! Just start and be consistent.
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