Morning Work that Works

Yes, as a first grade teacher for 14 years, I struggled with morning work. Finding something that not only reviewed standards, but also was more than a worksheet.  If anyone tells you that kids love to come into a worksheet in the morning, then they are lying to you!!!! There isn’t an elementary child around that comes running into your classroom to see what worksheet is sitting on their desk.  Me being the teacher I am, would greet my kids at the door. There would be a cute little song playing in the background. I would have a smile on my face, and then totally rain on their little parades with a worksheet awaiting them. 
I knew they were dreading that work and I was dreading grading it.  So I had to come up with a way to give my kids more choice in the mornings. I give them tasks that are great review and could be completed in a reasonable amount of time.  I also had to try to remedy the problem of those kids that came in 20 minutes before school started and those that came in 5 minutes before.  That’s when I created my Morning Menus.   
Then each table has a basket with 40+ tasks that cover everything from phonics and reading comprehension, to writing and fractions.  The tasks are completed in their morning notebooks. 
Some tasks require only their pencils or crayons and some have interactive sheets that can be glued into the notebook.  The prep is very minimal.  Other than making their notebooks to record in for two months, and the few interactive pieces I store in the folder of their basket, you don’t do anything for two months, except check on your kiddos and enjoy them as they preform the tasks they choose.  
Giving my kids choice and making the tasks varied, makes for a lot more excitement.  
Just like anything else, I try to make morning work enjoyable.  I believe giving my kids choice in their activities is important, but I also believe in spicing things up.  So some days they may come into their basket and breakfast. 
They may come in and find Play-Doh or Floam in their basket, and they can choose an activity or choose to make their sight words or spelling words in Play-Doh. 
They may even be met by their favorite cookie cereal one morning and some cookie story problems on the board.  Of course when they finish their problem solving in their notebook, they can have their treat. 
Or I might put these cute little gel sight word searches in their basket with a different activity some days.  
Or they may even just come into the basket full of books and some fun finger lights to read with to give a little variety. 
Spicing up morning work and giving kiddos choice in their tasks makes for much more enjoyable mornings for everyone.  
I currently have my Morning Menus for 1st and 2nd Grade. 
I am finishing up the final second grade unit and it should be completed very soon.  
What other teachers are saying about Morning Menu:

Kelli F. said:
I used this every day in my classroom! The kiddos were so excited for Morning Menu every day! What a wonderful resource!

Christina D. said:
I LOVE this! I have been struggling with not making too many copies and finding productive things for my kids to do in the mornings and this has worked out SO well! The kids enjoy it because it’s something different every day!

Jackie R. said:
My students absolutely LOVE this! They look forward to morning work each day and it allows them to practice a concept we have learned about in class. 


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Michelle Oakes

Wife, mom of 2 boys and a bulldog, reading specialist, Target frequenting lover of fashion, home decorating, Cincinnati girl.

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