Morning Activities Can Be Impactful
Starting each day can be daunting, especially at the beginning of school. Kids enter the room and scatter like flies! Some totally forget why they are at school, some grab toys neverminding what they are supposed to do…it can be crazy! Having great, meaningful exploration type activities can strengthen skills and enhance focus!
When kids enter the room, they need to move their name from the choice board to an I’m at Breakfast spot, I’m At STEM, I’m at Engineering and Building, etc. As the teacher, you need to monitor that choice board to know where students are. I love a good choice board!!!
Grab this FREE file if you need a choice board. EDITABLE after download in Adobe Reader! Be sure to give friends the link to my blog if you want to share!
You must have STEM Activities!
Kids are inquisitive, creative, and innovative when allowed to experiment with STEM Activities. Put a variety of them in your STEM area for quick access. PRO TIP: Allow only 2 students to a tub/center/STEM Activity. 3 is a crowd is really true in this situation!
Here is my LIST for STEM Activities:
- Stacking Cups
- Tub with rice and measuring cups of all sizes. Recipe cards to pretend-bake. (ask kids to put 1/2 c., 1/4 c., 1 c., etc to create pretend recipes)
- Linking tubes (Oriental Trading has them really cheap)
- Building Logs
- Play-doh and toothpicks (homemade dough in zipper seal bags work) Construct bridges, houses, shapes, etc.
- Magnetic blocks (there are many types–look for inexpensive ones at http://orientaltrading.com)
- Bug or animal matching cards and a tub of sand to hide the mates in. Plastic tweezers from Dollar Tree.
- Spring Seed Planting Tub (include sunflower seeds, bag of soil, cups to plant them in, and squirt bottle with water) Be sure they have instructions for clean up)
- Try this cute Coding Activity!
Phonics and Letter Tubs are MUST Have Activities
During the beginning of the year, students need lots of practice with the letters in their names. They also need to have extra practice working with sounds. Here are some ideas for choice tubs that address phonics and letter skills:
- Match upper/lowercase letters. You can have 5 or 6 of these in different forms. My students love matching ducks, frogs, and other animals with letters on the cards. I call them mamas and babies because the lowercase letter is a smaller object matching its “mama”.
- Water Writing Tub This can be as simple as tiny sponge squares on pencils (hot glue or wire them to the pencil), and include a small container for water. Students can use chalkboard lap squares to write on.
- Play-Doh Letters Students roll play-doh snakes then shape letters to form their names.
- Rope Letters Put 1-2 foot long cords in a tub with magnetic letters. Students make the letter shape with the cord, then stick the magnet on a magnetic board after they have made it. The last activity is the put the letters in order on the magnetic board.
- Name Kit Each student should have a zipper seal bag with the letters that make his/her name, a name puzzle, and a dry-erase marker and eraser to practice writing the name on the bag. These bags are slick and erase easily. See this link for a free name puzzle: http://teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Maggies-Kinder
- Alphabet Puzzles
- Letter and Beginning Sound Match Cards or Seesaw Activity (if you have tech, use it!)
There are many, many alphabet and phonics related activities in my store, or on the web!
Math Tub Activities are Essential!
Students need many opportunities to use everyday math, and morning activities are a great way to start! My students love these ideas:
- Cup with name sticks. Students count how many are in class, divide them into groups of dark hair, light hair, those who are wearing red, orange, yellow, green, blue, black, purple, etc. This tub also needs crayons and paper to tally and report findings.
- Tub with Numbers and popsicle sticks. Students count out and match sticks to number cards until all cards have been counted (had sticks matched to cards)
- Number Writing Practice (templates in shiny page protectors and dry-erase markers)
- Number Making Doh Students make play-doh snakes and form them into number shapes.
- Roll and Write Students roll dice and write the number on one side of the die. Use white boards or paper, their choice.
- Shape Forming Tub Students use popsicle sticks and 1 foot length of cords to form shapes.
There are many number activities in my store and on the web!
Pocket Chart Activities are FUN!
Each month, I have a pocket chart poetry matching area for students to match words to words in the chart already. Print two sets of cards, add a full page with the poem, and let students practice making, then chanting the poem.
Here is a very simple one to get started with:
Reading Buddies are the BEST!
Keeping the only 2 to a book idea, students choose books to “interpret their own way” with another student. This is a way for kids to know they are readers when they are just looking at the pictures. As they learn sounds and begin to read, real reading with take the place of storytelling. I love circulating and listening to those little stories.
If it is an especially rambunctious day, have students to read to their own little stuffed animal or buddy. We keep these in a reading tub. Kids learn that reading is fun any way you do it! The cute little stuffies are less than $30.00 for 25!
Let Your Imagination Help with Activities!
I try to put at least six choice tubs for each choice category. Chances are, you already have items to load those tubs with! Once you teach the process of moving the name to a daily choice, limit the tubs to 2 individuals each, and practice a few times, that’s it! Easy-peasy!
Let me know what you think of these ideas. I would love to hear from you.
Comment below, and I’ll try to answer your questions. If I don’t know, I know where to direct you to.