#SOL18 What Does Morning Work Look Like?

Teachers, talk to me about your morning work. I have varied what I've done and am still trying to figure out the best way to start our day. Sometimes I have a math exit ticket as a morning assignment. It includes only 2 problems to do and it is based on our lesson from the day before. When students finish it, they are free to read, draw, write, or use a chrome book to create a Buncee presentation, blog, add to their digital reading wall, etc. Some mornings I ask students to write on their blog. Some mornings I ask students to update their digital reading wall. Some mornings we make a birthday card for a classmate. The work is no longer than 30 minutes at the max and students come in on a staggered schedule so 30 minutes would really just be for the student who first walks in the door. 

There is a little boy I know and love who goes to school a few towns over from where I teach and he is a third grader, too. His morning work lasts 40 minutes to an hour. It includes at least four assignments which might be reading a magazine like Science Spin independently and answering the questions, Daily Oral Language (correcting mistakes on a worksheet- ugh!), math worksheet, reading comprehension passages and questions. He is having a hard time completing all this work independently. He is extremely bright, curious, and creative, yet is being made to feel like he is not living up to expectations. 

Am I wrong to think that morning work like that is unreasonable for third grade? 

Teachers, help me understand. What do you think is appropriate for 8-9 year olds to work on independently at the start of the day? And how do you approach "morning work" in your classroom? 


  1. Though I am no longer in the classroom, I'm a fan of "soft openings" for the day--more like your schedule. Think about educators--how often do we arrive at work and immediately jump into a huge, time-intensive project? Most I know get a cup of coffee, putz around the classroom, write assignments on the agenda, make copies...I think we owe our students the same gentle good mornings.

  2. All our kids come at the same time, so we do not have morning work, we start with Morning Meeting as soon as they are in the door. Given your situation I would definitely do a quiet choice time where they have some variety (maybe some fact practice games, cursive practice, reading, writing, drawing, making).

  3. I eliminated morning work three years ago and have loved it ever since. Morning work was more work for me... and I adopted the 'work smarter, not harder' mentality. It gave me more planning, more managing, more correcting... with very little reward. SO now the children come in and socialize and I hang out with them socializing and chatting about our day/night. They come in slowly... hang out with their friends... talk to each other (something we don't have enough time for IMO), and just slowly start their day. At morning announcements, they are expected to be in their seats ready for the day. It has been a game changer!

  4. I am not in the classroom either, but I work with and support teachers who are, along with being a mom of three who hears of the dreaded 'morning work'! I would love to see a soft start as well: a choice of reading, writing, making or simply getting ready for the day rather than an isolated task to complete. What about visiting Wonderopolis's Wonder of the Day? Or taking a look at the Wordless Picture of the Day and reflecting? Starting by noting a goal for the day? Or a question to answer? All would help promote authentic learning and a bit of enthusiasm as well!

  5. This is the first year that I've virtually done away with the morning "worksheets" for morning work in our 4th grade classroom. After reading Harvey Daniels' Curious Classroom, I committed to beginning days with "soft starts." Kids can write, collaboratively or alone, read, create (I put out a card making station around the holidays), yoga, draw...Aliza Werner has some great ideas on Twitter, too - she calls her morning "Sparkle and Shine." The wonderful thing about starting this way, is kids are allowed to interact, and there is a buzz in the classroom that gets some of the energy out and flowing in a positive way. We go right into morning meeting about 15 minutes later, so after half and hour of being in classroom, Ss are ready to start the more structured academic portion of the day. You could make each day a different soft start, too, but I've kept it open. The only thing I need to monitor is that the volume stay healthy and that Ss don't think it's indoor recess! They each need to be engaged in something of their choice! Good luck!


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