Getting Back into the Swing of Things!

I’m at the 3 week mark for “back to school”. 3 more weeks of preparing, prepping, and yes, relaxing. I’m currently on the Cape, feet up, books at my side getting ready to plan the first 2 days of school read alouds. But before I got to this point, I slept in until 11am, moved to the hammock where I spent an hour swaying and stretching, then spent 2 hours getting a nice work out in down on the beach while I watched the seals play! I went to the store and got groceries and finally got myself one of my first “adult crisis” purchase- anti-wrinkle eye cream. And now, here I am, waiting the return of my boyfriend who is working until 9pm, and getting just a couple hours of work in myself.

Along with planning my read alouds for the first few days, I’m also planning my morning routine. I found a fantastic idea called the “sign in book”, where each day the students “sign in” as a way to 1- let me know they are here and 2 (most importantly) to have them practice their name writing skills! The book has 6-8 spaces on a page, and a child’s name in each box. The child needs to find their name, and then in the space below, write their name, or “sign in”! I plan to use a highlighter for those kiddos who I see struggle until they can get it! I am really excited to create this book and implement it starting at Open House night! I plan to have the students that show up “sign in” with a special pencil! They will get to keep the pencil they choose! 🙂

Along with that, I am looking in to my Morning Choices. I have a BUNCH of ideas, and quite honestly, a bunch of the boxes already made up, but I’m trying to decide how many choices to have, and how many kiddos at each choice. For example, I have a Lego box, a stringing beads box, magnetic shapes box, play-doh with toothpicks, etc. Last year I only had 2 at each choice, but this year I’m wondering if 3 or 4 could work. I also want to create a choice for students who maybe come in one morning and wish to be on their own. Maybe a quiet reading box or a coloring box; I’ve learned that sometimes students just want to be alone, and I want that option to be available if they choose.

I’m also just super unsure if this should be an every day morning routine or if I should keep it switched up like I did last year. Monday was Choice Boxes, Tuesday was Morning Writing, Wednesday was a Worksheet of some kind, Thursday was a “Think Outside the Box” page, and Friday was “Free Choice”. I really like it this way, however, after reading this article, I’m having second thoughts!

http://mrdovico.blogspot.com/2017/02/rethinking-morning-work.html?m=1

I truly understand the power of letting students choose, and I love the idea of creating such a “fun” and engaging morning. So now I’m thinking more along the lines of Morning Choice Boxes each day- but giving the OPTION of doing another choice- so on Tuesday the “special choice” may be to write/draw to a writing prompt, on Wednesday the “special choice” would be a worksheet, and on Thursday the “special choice” will be a Think Outside the Box sheet. Any thoughts/ideas/opinions about this?! Would love to hear 🙂

I’m off to read a few fun books and plan the first 2 days of school!

4 thoughts on “Getting Back into the Swing of Things!

  1. Wondering and Wandering says:

    I find that kids are so excited to see their friends (and teachers) first thing. I’ve been teaching K for almost 20 years now, and I’ve always started with soft starts — choice at tables. Work can wait. On M/W/F each table has a different building material. On T/Th each table has a tub of books. It’s fun to watch students chat while working or sharing books together. Then they are settled and reading for the day. Have a great year!

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  2. Andrea Clark says:

    I don’t teach Kinder (but I am glad that thoughtful people like you want to do it!), so I don’t know how much help I can be with your morning routine choices. I enjoyed reading the blog you linked to about the choices that he gives his students. I hope you find something that you and your students like! Have a good school year!

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