Mornings can be hectic sometimes in the classroom. Students arriving late, you are trying to gather homework, making sure everyone is okay and has what they need for the day, taking attendance, and sometimes even finding breakfast for a sweet little one. Gosh, it can just be tough sometimes! BUT, even with all of that, morning message time in my classroom was always some of the BEST ten minutes of our day. I would find time to squeeze it in.
Sometimes I would get in a rut and find myself not making the most of my time. Because of that, I would always try to re-focus on making it meaningful.
I want to share with you 3 tips for making your morning message time meaningful.
1. Use morning message time to build classroom community.
Every minute you have in your classroom is precious. Most of the days fly by. Before you know it the end of the year is here and you feel like you didn’t have enough time. Use this time to build a classroom community–especially at the beginning of the year.
You are getting to know each little personality and they are getting to know not only you but one another, too. Use this time to ask some questions and play some quick games.
- Ask “Have you ever___?” “Find a friend who is like you and high-five them!”
- Make a human graph. “Let’s make a quick standing human graph. If you have siblings, stand here. If you don’t, stand here.” Then analyze the data. Have them look around and make observations. Ask them what they notice.
- Role-play situations that maybe need some extra attention. Ex: Oh no! Our work station was left a mess. How can we fix this? or Oh no! Sarah’s feelings were just hurt on the playground when she was left out of the game. What should she do?
- Have an appreciation chair. Each day choose a new student to sit in the chair and have the other students share 3 things they appreciate about that student.
2. Use the time to review skills.
I don’t know about you, but I could always use some extra time to review! If my students weren’t quite getting number combinations, I would write that into the morning message and we would work on it.
If I noticed a writing convention needed some extra attention, then I would make sure we worked on that skill as we read the morning message together. Usually, I made my morning messages the morning that we would use them before the students came in. This allowed me to quickly pull from the last few days of topics covered and squeeze something in if needed.
3. Use the time to informally assess students.
This was one of my favorite things to work into my morning message time-informal assessments. I always kept sticky notes and a pen near me so I would just jot down,
- Johnny- ABC order (+)
- Jane- ABC order (-)
- Sally- Capital letters (+)
If I knew that I needed to see how Johnny was doing on ABC order, then when that skill was covered on morning message time, I would be sure to call him to the chart paper and have him “help me”. Especially around report card time when I had SO many little things to assess for our kindergarten report card, I would do this. Super simple and made my life easier!
Here is an example of what a morning message would look like in our classroom!
Don’t have time in the morning? A good teaching friend of mine would always do Afternoon News and the students would share their favorite part of the day as they would have some interactive writing time together. She still was able to make the time meaningful and do the things mentioned above, and much more!