Morning Routines and Building Mastery
I’m linking up with Jen over at Teacher by the Beach again for Monday Motivation and Morning Routines.
For me, morning routines and building mastery go hand in hand with Morning Wake Up and our correcting routine.
CHANTS AND SIGHT WORDS
My kiddos arrive in the morning and head over to our “dots“.
One of my three classroom jobs is class messenger. S/he is charge of a few things, including leading the kiddos in the pledge and phonics chants first thing in the morning. Reviewing the phonic sounds every day is a HUGE help to my strugglers and the ones who “have it” enjoy the fun of it all.
Likewise, the sight word review that follows the chants supports all learners.
While the kiddos are doing this, I complete attendance and have several sips of coffee. Eventually, I will wake up. #notamorningperson
On a side and not so morning-friendly note, I own this mug and COMPLETELY agree with Tink. Mornings aren’t magical. I’m a major night owl. You can grab this on Amazon if you’re feeling the same way. (image source & affiliate link)
MORNING WAKE UP FABULOUSNESS!
In all, the chants and sight words take no more than 10 minutes. After that, the kiddos head over to their desks and take out their Morning Wake Up. In order to keep things quick and easy, K-2 teachers have ours bound into student books.
We begin Morning Wake Up on the 2nd day of school. I do it with them, step-by-step, the first few times. They quickly begin doing it on their own.
Morning Wake Up is an IDEAL resource for this because, while it grows in-depth and complexity, the routine is consistent and familiar. Each time a new concept is introduced I take a moment to explain it, and then send them on their way.
I must tell you, kiddos LOVE Morning Wake Up. It really gets their brains moving!
It’s good to start the day with something that provides a slight challenge, but is “doable”. Starting the day off with success is great for everyone!
Here’s a little glimpse of the type of work the kiddos do each day.
For the most part, the kids complete this page in far less than 15 minutes. If they finish before time is up, they read their library book that is in their desks. After they’ve had 15 minutes to work on it, we “go over it”.
The correcting process is a KEY part of morning wake up. For the most part, it is key to a lot of what we do in class.
THE “CORRECTING” PROCESS
We correct a lot of our papers together in my classroom. We just call it “going over it”. This process comes with 5 rules. These same rules apply to ANYTHING in class we “go over” together.
- You must use a red pen. This is the ONLY time you can use a red pen.
- You cannot go ahead. If we haven’t discussed an answer yet, it can’t be corrected or marked correct. If you do, your paper is thrown away. You’ve wasted your time and will have to do it again for homework. (Ok… so this is SUPER hard for me, but important. I usually have to make one, and only one, example of this each school year to drive the importance of this point home.)
- You can make a “happy mark” of your choice on each answer you get correct. However, this mark must be made very quickly. No fancy drawings. (Happy marks are happy faces, stars, hearts… anything that makes them happy and are easy and quick to draw.)
- If you get it wrong, you must fix it WITH YOUR RED PEN. If you take out a pencil to fix it, the paper is thrown away, you’ve wasted your time, and you will do it again for homework. (See #2)
- Learn from your mistake. Not sure WHY you got it wrong? Ask.
So like I said, we use this process on a lot of things in class. I have reasons.
First of all, and a minor reason, I hate grading papers.
Second, and more important, little is gained by the student if I mark up their paper but nothing is discussed.
Third, and essential, I want them to trust that I am OK with mistakes and encourage them to learn from them. I walk around and make sure we are all on the same page, thank them for correcting errors, and tell them to put it in their cubbies when we’re done. Easy. Effective.
DEVELOPING OWNERSHIP, DETERMINATION AND PRIDE
The truth is, they gain a lot from “grading” their own papers. It reinforces “it’s ok not to know, but it’s not ok not to try”. Right from the beginning I let the kids know we learn from mistakes, trial and error, falling down and getting back up. I make mistakes daily and point them out. I want them to embrace the learning they gain from their mistakes instead of trying to cover them up. Additionally, I want them to understand perfection is NOT our goal, but learning is.
And they do!!! They LOVE asking questions about problems they got wrong because sometimes they can make a legitimate argument for the possibility of a different answer! I encourage that, so they remain focused. They are intent on getting those “happy marks” while exploring other ways to address problems. Additionally, they know that it is ok if they absolutely do not have a clue how to answer a problem, they can leave that question blank and fill it in with their red pen when we go over it. However, they MUST pay attention and ask questions to get clarity so they can do it properly the next day.
I refer to these posters often – to help build their sense of ownership, independence and confidence. Enter your email below to have them delivered to your inbox!
DIGGING DEEP – DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE & HIGHER-LEVEL THINKING
Throughout the “going over it” process I am asking, “why?”.
did you pick this over that?”
isn’t the answer B?
can’t I spell a word that way?
doesn’t that make sense?
Posing questions on assignments in this way encourages active engagement and ownership of the concepts.
This, my friends, is level-four thinking. If you can teach it, explain it, and make connections to it – you own it! Asking them WHY all day long is such an easy way to do a formative quick assessment, encourage involvement, and allow them to feel pride in all that they know!
SIMPLE, YET EFFECTIVE, MORNING ROUTINE
So, that’s my morning. In all, Morning Wake Up takes around 25 minutes. I’m ok with that. It really wakes up their brains and provides TONS of review and practice on both ELA and Math concepts.