Sunday, September 4, 2016

My New Morning Routine

We are on day 13 of our new school year and I finally feel like I might be able to take a breath! You would think that after 20 back to school seasons, it would get easier, right?  Nope!  I seem to change, add or tweak something every year!  This year I changed my morning routine!

Why the change?  I wanted to allow my students some time each morning to greet friends, ease into the school day with routine,  start each day engaged in meaningful collaborative activities, and have a few minutes for those early morning tasks like taking attendance and spontaneous chats with parents!  Oh, and did I mention,  I needed this new routine to be something sustainable and easy to manage?  That is a must for me or it will fall apart!

So I did what any reasonable teacher would do...I went to Pinterest!  I searched morning routines and discovered a huge variety of ideas!  I liked some and knew I would never be able to keep up with others!  What I came up with was my own twist on Morning Tubs!  I introduced my students to the idea of  Morning Tubs on day 2!   They love it and I love it! WHY didn't I try this sooner!

Materials Needed: 
Once I decided I wanted to go this route, I went shopping for supplies!  First stop, Amazon!

I ordered 5 Sterlite tubs, one for each table group!  Next,  I needed some engaging activities for the tubs!  The first week I wanted to keep it simple so I simply put a different set of manipulatives in each tub: pattern blocks, linker cubes, scrabble tiles, wooden blocks, and dominoes!  Every morning I rotate the tubs so each group gets to experience a new tub!

Okay, now for the true test!  Remember when I mentioned, I needed this new routine to be something sustainable and easy to manage?  Week two arrived and, guess what!  It was EASY to change out the contents of the tub AND keep my students engaged!

I love walking around, listening in on and having conversations with my kiddos each morning!  I can help when needed if a child has difficulty with an activity.  I encourage my students to ask tablemates for help, but I'm also there for guidance!

Where do I get the activities?
I spent the week before school cleaning, purging and organizing my classroom cabinets, and I had uncovered some hidden gems! I'm sure you have lots of gems of your own!  This is another thing I love about Morning Tubs...I'm using resources that have just been collecting dust!  Now they are being used by little hands!  

I also visited the Dollar Store and found small 48 piece puzzles in metal tins!  These are PERFECT for collaborating as a team, working together and greeting friends in the morning!  I bought 15 different puzzles.  I've only used 2 each week!  

I added some puzzles from my Short A Word Family resource, Subitizing Matching Games and 120 puzzles! I found some addition and subtraction puzzles that I normally use in math tubs during Daily Math.  I went ahead and introduced them in a morning tub and my kids loved working together and completing these puzzles.  Now when they go into a math tub, they will be familiar and independent!  

In my short experience with Morning Tubs, I can tell you that I love this new addition to my routine!  My students enter the classroom and know exactly where to go and what to do!  They are visiting with friends and engaging in their day right away!  Their school day is starting off with intention and purpose...they are not waiting on me to take attendance or finish up a conversation with a parent.  They are engaged and completing a task!  

If you've been looking for a new morning routine for your kids or want to try something new this year, I highly recommend Morning Tubs!  

Some Resources I'm Using: