Establishing a morning work routine in your classroom is critically important the first few weeks of school. Setting routine and having time for students to review learning during morning work can help you and your students start off your day on a positive and calm note. Whether this is your first or 20th year teaching, it’s never too late to incorporate a morning routine into your day. I am really excited to share some morning routine tips and tricks with you to help your year run smoothly.

decide what your mornings should look like

Before the first day of school ever arrives you need to think about your classroom procedures. Close your eyes and envision what you want your classroom to look like and feel like. This is important for the morning arrival time just like other times in the classroom. Once you have an idea of what you want your students to do, create a plan. I think working backwards really helps. Start with the end in mind and then list out all the things your students need to know and do to get there.

But don’t dump all of that on your students the first day or week of school! Planning a detailed or complicated morning routine the first week of school is a recipe for disaster. It be difficult for your students to remember a long routine, which leads to confusion, frustration and classroom chaos.

I will tell you from years of experience that setting up a morning routine early on made the rest of my year run smoothly. Once my students were comfortable with the routine, our days started in a calm way for ALL of us.

slowly teach the morning routine

Establishing a routine for the beginning of the day will help you and your students start off the day on the right foot. Introducing your students to this routine as early in the year as possible is the key to success.

When I would introduce my morning routine to my students, I would start small and work our way towards our complete morning routine within the first few weeks of school. Beginning on day one, students are introduced to the arrival procedures. In my classroom this included unpacking the communication folder and lunch box and hanging up the backpack. Then students would go to their desk for an independent activity like play dough or a coloring sheet. As students learned one step, I slowly introduced additional steps into the morning routine. Eventually our morning routine would include:

  • Unpacking
  • Hanging up back pack and personal items
  • Making Lunch Choice
  • Turning in Homework, Notes, Picture Money, etc.
  • Finding morning work activity in a designated space or on the desk
  • Writing name on paper
  • Completing work independently

set them up for success

One thing I found very helpful was to have a morning routine visual posted in classroom for the first few weeks. This might be an anchor chart that we added to as each new step was introduced, or simply some visual reminders projected onto the front board. This really helped students develop that independence and kept them from asking “what do I do now?”

Routine and consistency are key

After a few days of practice, I introduced the next step in our morning routine. Remember to do this is baby steps. That’s an important key to the process. When the morning routine feels chaotic or crazy it was a signal to me that I gave the class more than they were ready for. My motto at the beginning of the year was always “baby steps now for giant steps later.” It was something I reminded myself of everyday for the first few weeks of school.

Arrival time might look completely different in your classroom. That is actually to be expected. The important part is setting a procedure that works for you and your classroom, then teaching it slowly and staying consistent. If you do these things, even the youngest of students can learn what to do and do it on their own.

Having a morning routine that students can do independently is important because the mornings can get so, so busy! As teachers we are often pulled in many different directions and have a variety of administrative tasks to care of. If you take the time and start small in the beginning to develop a solid morning routine, I promise it will pay off for the remainder of the year. Being able to talk to parents who pop in, take attendance or other similar activities will be effortless when your students know just what to do.

morning work – a key component

Building a strong morning routine should include a morning work activity

1. Make morning work part of the routine

Building morning work into your morning routine is really important. It is this part of the procedure that really gives you the time to take care of the things you need to do. I also suggest building into your routine a second activity for early finishers. This might include drawing on the back of their paper, reading a book, or grabbing an early finisher activity.

2. choose activities that support student learning

My absolute favorite morning work is a spiral review activity that includes both math and language arts skills. The spiral review keeps skills fresh all year long. It also provides students with the opportunity to practice the skill multiple times.

Instead of grabbing a random worksheet, having an intentionally designed review is really important. Not only does it provide the review of skills at the right time in the year, but it is designed to help students find success and build confidence.

My favorite morning work

Over the years I tried lots of different morning work options, but none provided everything I wanted for my students. So I decided to create my own so that I could be confident that my students were getting just what they needed on the road to mastering first grade skills. Now I have a full year of morning work activities in both printable and digital formats. Whether you are teaching in the classroom, online or in a 1:1 school you can have skills based morning work for your students.

digital morning work is a great way to engage students with a smooth morning routine

I actually put together two versions of the morning work. One version is based on the seasons and holidays, and the other is more theme based with no holidays included. The seasonal option with holidays is designed for each month of the year. The themed option is simply listed as Month 1, Month 2, etc. Since some schools do not allow the celebrating of holidays, or some students need an option that does include holidays, you can choose the resource that works best for you.

While you can start using these activities at any time or jump around, please know that the activities do build on the skills from the previous sets. They also follow a typical first grade scope and sequence. So the first months will be a review of kindergarten skills and it builds from there.

first grade spiral review morning work helps lead students to mastery of skills

Whether you want to print the worksheets or use the digital morning work, your students will look forward to morning work!

Try A Month For free!

I love this morning work so much I want you to try it out in your classroom for an entire month. This is a wonderful way to start the school year and build that morning routine. This first month of morning work also gives you great insight into the current levels and skills of your new students. Be sure to grab your FREE MONTH OF MORNING WORK! This free download will show you the format and questions. You can also see the difference between the monthly version and the themed version as well as the printable and digital options.

Morning work for the entire year!

If you are ready to get your morning work for the entire year, then visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store for everything you need.

seasonal morning work for first grade
themed morning work for first grade
digital morning work for first grade seasonal
themed digital morning work for first grade

Save these setting routine and student review with morning work ideas

Don’t waste your precious teacher time searching the internet for morning work ideas! Pin this page to your favorite classroom Pinterest board. Then you can come back when you are ready for more morning work and first grade teaching ideas.


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