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‘How To’ Introducing Morning Work Stations and a Free Resource for the Beginning of the Year

It’s crazy to think that I’ll hardly know my students’ names, and I’ll be starting Morning Work Stations, but I do!  Day Two is when I break them out and get them started.  I kind of feel like the sooner we start, the sooner we will be proficient and find success.

The one thing I’m always asked is, ‘how do you introduce new activities.’  It would seem that by changing out stations every month, it would be quite a bit of work to have to introduce all new activities, but really it isn’t that big of an ordeal.  You see, these first stations are going to be setting the tone for the rest of the year.  These are the stations where you will introduce the tools, materials and the procedures.  Once they have the first set down, all the other months seem to go like clockwork.  So in these first stations, it’s more about ‘getting to know Morning Work’  so that they can be successful in the future.  Don’t get worked up if the activity isn’t performed perfectly . . . practice the routines, familiarize your students with the materials, talk about what went right and what went wrong and help them feel successful.  This front-loading will ensure you have success with all your future months of morning work.

So how do I introduce these first activities then?  Well, remember, even though I have 12 stations set up in my class, I only have 20 students so only 10 stations will really be in use.  What I do then, is during that first week of stations (and yes I start morning work on day two of school), each day at the end of the day, I gather my students around the station drawers, I specify who will be attending each station (“Julie and Jack, you are at station 2, pay close attention so you will know what to do tomorrow . . .”), and then I introduce the activity.  Then in the mornings of that first week of school, I stand at the drawers and help them, if they need me, to figure out which drawer is theirs, find the drawer, pull it out, and I give them a quick reminder of the activity.  Then, I send them on their way and that’s it.

By the end of that first week, they have seen all of the stations introduced several times and are very familiar with them.  Since all the future months’ activities build on these first ones, it is a natural progression of more skills and difficulty with future stations, but the activities are still familiar.

And of course, there are always, ‘I Can’ sheets for each activity that they can refer to as a visual cue.

Doing this and just allowing your students the time they need to feel confident and successful will set the foundation to assure your morning work will continue to run smoothly for the rest of the year.  If you’d like to check out Getting Started With Morning Stations, just click HERE or on the picture below.

And speaking of starting Morning Stations before knowing all your student’s names.

I thought I would share my name tag file with you all. I am getting my first day of school items together and always use Astrobrights cardstock and this template to have some easy name tags on hand.

These little icons in the corner help students who are not familiar with their name, identify a picture so they can grab their tag and go even if they haven’t mastered name recognition yet.  It’s not my original idea.  I actually think Fran from Kindergarten Crayons is the first time I saw something like this used.  I just happen to use colored cardstock and a black and white template to make it printer friendly.   If you’d like a colored option, definitely follow the link to Fran’s blog. If you’d like a black/white option, just click enter your email below.  A note will be sent to your email address and when you click the button in your email, the document will automatically be downloaded to your computer’s ‘download’ file.

It’s a Powerpoint document, so you can simply add your choice of font and size.

Enjoy!

 
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Marsha Moffit McGuire

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