If I am perfectly honest, I never walk in the door and head immediately to my desk. The long walk down the hall has me stopping for tons of opportunities to chat and connect with my co-workers. It is a bright spot in my day and with every conversation, I am energized! By the time I reach my desk, I am ready to go and feel like I can take on anything!
For nearly 14 years, I realized that I wasn’t giving my students this opportunity. Instead, I was kicking off with morning work. They’d walk in the door and immediately get started. It was WAY TOO MUCH to manage…”Did you do your morning work? Are you finished? Do you need help?” On top of that, I found myself struggling to juggle the early finishers and the kids that barely made it in the door in time to sit down before the bell.
Some deep reflection had me thinking about the way I start my day and how it could benefit my students if I afforded them the same opportunity.
For the last two years, I have implemented student choice. It is the BEST part of my day!
I stand outside my classroom door, relaxed, can you imagine that?! I greet each kid as they enter the room and I am freed up to connect about last night’s baseball game and the upcoming volleyball tournament. It is glorious!!
The buzz coming from my room is a level 1 voice filled with smiles, giggles, and true enjoyment to be there. Nobody is stressing as they enter the door. It is amazing!
How does this work??
My students enter the room and find someone or a few people to engage with. They greet and then select an activity to do together. You can choose literally anything!! From flashcard review to math games to some of my favorite Amazon board games! Go ahead and get creative! The idea here is to let kids connect and ease into the morning so that by the time the bell rings, they have “gotten it all out” and are ready to head to their desks.
I promise you, this is a major game changer that will impact the culture of your classroom almost instantly!! So give it a try, what have you got to lose???
Before you go, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out my blog post on building a curriculum map for the year. It’s the perfect tool to have as you enter summer!