At this point in the year, your students have surely moved past any initial shyness or trepidation that comes with the back to school season, and are now showing you their true colors. While this level of comfort is key to a positive classroom community, it can also be a breeding ground for morning chaos if you don’t have the right routines in place. You probably know the feeling all too well—before you’ve been able to finish your first cup of coffee, somebody’s already lost their pencil or is pushing their neighbor out of the way to stow their belongings.
To help calm the morning chaos and get students ready to learn, it’s critical to have a set of routines and procedures in place that students can follow independently. According to Doug Lemov in his book Teach like a Champion, “The first routine that affects classroom culture is the one for how students enter. Like all others, this is a routine whether your realize it (and shape it intentionally) or not.”
So, ensure the habits your students form at the beginning of the day are both effective and efficient! After all, they have the ability to transform your students’ attitudes and behaviors toward school in general. EducationCity is one rich instructional resource developed with the classroom teacher in mind. Purposely built to support K-6 teaching and learning across six elementary subjects, EducationCity includes online (and offline) tools that are perfect for helping your students start their day off on the right foot. Here are a few of our favorites:
A digital version of a traditional “do now” activity, ThinkIts are critical thinking tasks that provide perfect prompts for a journaling exercise or class discussion. As a teacher, you have the ability to quickly project them on an interactive whiteboard for students to respond to independently as they enter the classroom. Each ThinkIt includes friendly characters and inviting colors that displays the problem or question in an engaging manor. When you’re ready to move on, you can then click to the answer, which includes an explanation of the solution as well as offering a follow-up question for peer-to-peer or class discussion.
Sometimes independent seat work isn’t enough to really wake students up and get them focused on learning. In those cases, you can turn to EducationCity songs to mix things up. For example, check out this song that reviews the 8x table. For math skills such as multiplication tables, repetition is the key to make learning click for your students, but who said that it has to be boring? All of EducationCity’s songs include colorful animation and friendly characters that dance and sing along to the topic. Intentional skill repetition is spiraled in to help reinforce learning. Start a song as students come into the class, and encourage them to congregate in a specific area to join in on the group activity.
3. Topic Tools
Also known as open-ended interactive whiteboard tools, Topic Tools are a great way to get brains buzzing while allowing students to explore and deepen learning. Use these as a whole-class activity to reinforce concepts before diving into a new topic at the beginning of the day. Launch a Topic Tool on your interactive whiteboard and invite different students up to build a circuit, construct a bar graph, or reconstruct sentences. The best part about Topic Tools is the ability to create a unique experience every time—let your students guide how you approach instruction, without the limitations of only one right answer. As a Friday reward, many Topic Tools even allow competitive game play. Turn word building into a class challenge and watch your students light up with excitement.
4. Activity Sheets
You and your students don’t always have access to technology—and every once in a while, it’s just nice to get a break from a computer screen. This is where EducationCity’s printable Activity Sheets are just the ticket. These worksheets are designed to be printed in black and white and include an answer sheet for teacher grading (if necessary). Each Activity Sheet is aligned to a specific skill or standard. Simply search for the topic you are ready for students to practice independently within EducationCity, and print out a class set of your selected resource. Either instruct students to grab one as they head to their seat, or have them already in place at student’s desks as they enter, so learners never miss a beat.
Want to find out more about how EducationCity can be incorporated in your morning classroom routine? Check out this 6-minute recorded workshop, and see all of the resources detailed here in action!