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Kindergarten Classroom Reveal-36
Breaking Down The Day (Part 1: The First 30 Minutes)
13 Jul, 2016. 7 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Autumn, Back to School, Kindergarten. Posted By: Kristen Smith

The first thirty minutes of the day are essential in my classroom because they set the tone for the rest of the day. During these first few minutes, I try to connect with every single child, make them feel welcome, and develop our classroom community. I’d love to walk you through what happens step by step.

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Here is the brief run down:

7:45 Pledges and prayer in the gym

7:55 I greet all of my students at the door

8:00 Students hang up their coats, turn in items, sign in

8:15 Morning Meeting

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Let me begin by saying, all of our students report to the gym when they get to school. They can arrive between 7:30 and 7:45. Once it is 7:45 the entire school says our pledges (US flag, Texas flag, Christian flag, Bible) together and we pray as a school. Then each teacher leads their class to their classroom. As my students are standing up, getting their coats and backpacks on, my line leader and door holder come to the front of the line, and we lead the class to our room.

Once we are at the classroom door, I stop the line and greet all of my students one at a time with either a handshake or hug. {I love these few minutes!} This is a great way for me to quickly tell how my students are doing. I can catch up on quick things like if they lost their wiggly tooth the night before or notice if their temperament is off. (lack of sleep, etc.)

After each student has been greeted, they make their way to their hook and hang up their backpacks. This is when my students turn things in. If we have library that day, they take out their library books and put them in the designated “library book spot.” If they are turning in their Thursday folders (parent communication), they place it where it needs to go.

Once everything is put up, they sign in for the day. To do this, at the beginning of the year, I write my student’s names on sentence strips in yellow marker. Then, I laminate the sentence strip. (This helps my students trace the letters correctly.) These are kept in their supply cabbies on their tables. Each morning, my students get their sentence strip, write their name in dry erase marker and then place their name under their answer to the question of the day. This is a great opportunity for us to discuss how we connect to one another. We do this all year. As the year progresses we use this to graph information, recall facts that we have learned, and to develop our classroom community.

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Finally, they sit at their carpet spot and we begin our morning meeting.

I used to use morning work and table activities but I found that this is a quick and easy way to start the day. You have to do what works for you! Our morning meeting (which you can read about in depth here), generally takes about 20-30 minutes.

It’s important to mention that I teach this procedure before my students do it independently. We are lucky that our students come to the classroom before school starts during our “Meet the Teacher” day. Our school sets it up so that each family and child gets 10-15 minutes of 1-1 time with the teacher that day. During this time, I show each child their cubby, how to hang up their backpack, and where their desk is. (This really helps calm the first day of school jitters!) On the first day of school, our students are allowed to come directly to the classroom. I have an activity waiting for them at their desks and remind them where their hooks are. This gives me the opportunity to help any students that need a little extra TLC that day.

The second day, students come in, hang up their backpacks and go right to the carpet. On this day, I teach a mini-lesson on how to sign in.

Then, on the 3rd day of school, we begin signing in and going right to the rug.

You might be wondering when I check attendance and/or check homework. Typically, I quickly put in the attendance while my students are signing in for the day (or our secretary e-mails me that I forgot to do it and I put it in while my students are at specials and apologize) and I actually do not assign homework in kindergarten. If I did, I would have them turn it in while they were unpacking and check it while my students were at specials.

I hope that this post gives you a glimpse as to how I begin my day, and maybe some inspiration on how you want to start your day!

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7 Comments
  1. Do you require your students to write their first and last name for sign in or just their first name?

    • At the beginning of the year we just work on our first names. During quarter 2, we start writing first name and last name!

  2. Hi!

    Do you find that in that 8:00-8:15 time when some students are on the carpet and some are still coming into the room and getting ready, that the kiddos start to get a little antsy on the carpet? I too have this odd 10ish minutes between when my students begin arriving and when announcements come on to officially begin our day. Right now I do morning work so students are at their desk but it’s not really enough time to do very much. I’ve considered having them just go to the carpet for announcements after getting unpacked but wonder what it would be like when 15-20 kids are down waiting for the others. Any suggestions? I’m excited for this series of posts to read more about your day!

    • Courtney, Honestly, I don’t have a problem with kids getting antsy! They are on the carpet for at most 5 minutes waiting. Normally, what they do during that time is read the morning message. (Which normally has a “task” on it!)

  3. Where did you find your color posters? I love that they are real pictures!
    Thanks for all the great tips!

  4. Can you give examples of some morning messages you may have? You mentioned that they have a “task” on it.

7 Comments

  • Do you require your students to write their first and last name for sign in or just their first name?

    • At the beginning of the year we just work on our first names. During quarter 2, we start writing first name and last name!

  • Hi!

    Do you find that in that 8:00-8:15 time when some students are on the carpet and some are still coming into the room and getting ready, that the kiddos start to get a little antsy on the carpet? I too have this odd 10ish minutes between when my students begin arriving and when announcements come on to officially begin our day. Right now I do morning work so students are at their desk but it’s not really enough time to do very much. I’ve considered having them just go to the carpet for announcements after getting unpacked but wonder what it would be like when 15-20 kids are down waiting for the others. Any suggestions? I’m excited for this series of posts to read more about your day!

    • Courtney, Honestly, I don’t have a problem with kids getting antsy! They are on the carpet for at most 5 minutes waiting. Normally, what they do during that time is read the morning message. (Which normally has a “task” on it!)

  • Where did you find your color posters? I love that they are real pictures!
    Thanks for all the great tips!

  • Can you give examples of some morning messages you may have? You mentioned that they have a “task” on it.

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