Adding Quality to Morning Work

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Morning work is a cornerstone of the education world. It allows for both teachers and students to start their day off on the right foot and it provides students with much needed consistency. While there are countless reasons to include morning work into your routine and many benefits to both teachers and students, what is often overlooked is whether or not the morning work is quality. 

Quality Work vs. Busy Work

When talking to students a large handful of children dislike morning work because they often see it as busy work. A task to fill their time and energy that has no purpose other than to keep them occupied. While oftentimes this can just be students grumbling over the task of completing morning work there are classrooms where the complaint may be justified. 

Morning work and busy work are mutually exclusive. If morning work doesn’t seem to work for your classroom or if you haven’t been impressed by the way it was used on you, or in other classrooms ask yourself this question, “Was it quality?” Chances are the answer is no, below are the ways in which you can make sure to bring the quality. 

Creating an Anchor 

Morning work needs to be consistent and routine. In order to make morning work effective it needs to be implemented with consistency and care. In no time students will know what to do and a regular morning could look like this:

  • Students enter the classroom
  • Unpack their backpacks at their desk and put them away
  • Turn their homework into the basket
  • Grab their morning work sheet and begin work

Making morning work turn into a quality process means being deliberate and consistent with decisions made. It may take a little while for the routine to set in so make sure to stick with one set of ideas and give it time to sink in before making changes. 

High Standards

To make sure that your morning work is quality there needs to be two focuses that are front and center. The first is making sure that your morning work is standards focused and the second is making sure that it focuses on physical/social skills. Keeping things standards based is important because of the following reasons:

  • Standards help to keep learning meaningful
  • Focusing on standards helps to keep things focused on appropriate learning goals for each subject
  • Standards can also guide variety in your morning work routine
    • Monday and Wednesday could be writing focused
    • Tuesday and Thursday could be math focused 
    • Friday could be reading focused

While academic skills are important there are social skills and physical skills that can be supported with morning work as well. Below are the other educational benefits from morning work:

  • Motor skills
    • Tracing shapes, letters and numbers
    • Completing mazes
    • Holding and manipulating objects
      • Pens
      • Pencils
      • Markers
    • Spatial recognition
  • Social Skills
    • Sharing of ideas
    • Explaining answers to teachers and other classmates
    • Pair sharing

Quality Morning Work Ideas

The best way to understand and implement morning work is getting inspired by educators that have already implemented high quality morning work into their classrooms. For a perfect example of morning work check out this resource for morning work for 4th graders. When you are teaching don’t be afraid to use resources from someone who has already perfected the process!

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