Saturday, August 1, 2015

Establishing Your Morning Routine

Hi everyone! It's that time of year again. Summer is winding down and we are all starting to think about going back to school. Some of you are already there! Today I'm going to talk about setting up your morning routine so your kids know exactly what to do when they walk in the room. 

My first couple years, I really struggled with this. Most kids learned our routines and knew exactly what to do. Others knew what to do, but got side tracked. Still others weren't sure. I realized it wasn't them It was me. When our students are struggling in the classroom, we always need to look at what we are doing that isn't getting through to them. I realized that I taught routines and even modeled them, but some of my students still needed a visual reminder. Most days were the same, but Mondays and Fridays were different because Friday was turn in homework day and Monday they had to check their job chart. Some mornings I had morning work, but other mornings I wanted them to read a book. I wasn't being consistent. So I created these posters for my class:

Each morning, I chose the posters I wanted for that day and put them on my magnetic white board. They took up a lot of space, but I was able to remove them when the bell rang and our day began so it didn't matter. I kept them easily accessible so I could grab them each morning. The following year, I started out my year strong by introducing these posters on day one. I told my students that they could count on these visuals to be there each morning so they knew exactly what to do. I started with just one poster: Hang up your backpack. Then as I introduced more routines, I added that poster up the next morning. Here are some tips on using these posters:

1. Start on Day 1 with just one poster. Introduce the morning routine posters. 
2. Each day, add a poster as you introduce new routines. 
3. Model and practice as you introduce a new poster.
3. After the bell rings and everyone is seated, go over the posters that you have on the board. Check to make sure everyone has completed each routine before taking down that poster. Give them time to do it if they hadn't already. 
4. After all have been introduced, modeled, and practice, spend a few more days or a week (however long it takes) going over each poster to make sure everyone has done them. Do this after everyone is seated. Take down a poster and ask, "Did you hang up your backpack?" If everyone has done it, move on to the next one.
5. Spend time practicing your morning routine at the end of the day so checking these each day becomes a habit. Mix it up so they get used to the fact that sometimes certain posters will not be there. (For example, my homework poster was only there on Fridays.)
6. For those students who need a little extra help, give them a mini-version (pictured below) to keep laminated on their desk. They can check off as they go using a white board marker. If needed, provide a timer to show them how much time they have. 

One of my routines on Mondays is to check the job chart. I change out jobs each week. I don't need to keep a checklist of jobs because I just move the jobs one over each week. 

Here is the original post when I first blogged about this.  I have to show you a picture because it is so classic! Notice how I said at the bottom I would blogging soon about my jobs. HA! I wrote this post in 2013. Yep 2 years ago. I even got emails about my job chart and just couldn't get my act together to post about it. Well, here ya go! Finally! In this picture, I had my jobs on these pillars because I had a small room and was in need of more space! For this picture, I had the jobs on the outside of the pockets instead of the inside. 

(In the picture below, I only have one student picture shown. This is a mock-up because I can't show pictures of my actual students. For the real thing, you'd have photos and names on the front of each pocket.) 

Here's another version of the same chart. This is what I had originally in my classroom (with updated clip art.) You can glue the job pictures on the outside of the pockets then laminate the whole poster. (You will have to re-cut the slits at the top though.) Student names will go on the cards that go in the pockets. Each week, you would move the kids' name cards over one.

I hope you all have a great first week back. I usually want to pull my hair out that first week, but once those routines are set, life is much easier! Good luck everyone!


  1. love the morning routines posters - thank you :o)

  2. I love it! This is going to be my first year teaching, I am English Teacher in public Schools in Spain and I'm really nervious becouse I want to be well prepared. Thank you for your resources!