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How Do You Start The Day?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by studentcrisis, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. studentcrisis

    studentcrisis New commenter


    What it says on the tin really... in your classroom how do you start your day?

    My teacher (I’m training!) always starts with morning work or silent reading but I personally don’t think this is great for the pupils we have. We’re in quite a deprived area and a lot of kids come in stressed/hungry/being shouted at/after caring for younger siblings (and I’m in a mixed year 1/2 class!) and I feel like they need more time to transition in calmly to start the day. For five and six year olds coming in like this and straight away having to read instructions from the board, get their things together, negotiate around other arriving children... it seems like a lot to do. I mean I always go to get a coffee and take a minute before I start preparing once I get into school but we don’t give the kids this luxury.

    My teacher is great but he’s quite “my way or the highway” so I’m not sure how to discuss this with him. Maybe when I start to take the class more and more it can be something I implement? I was thinking about an ongoing mindfulness activity on the carpet which kids can join as they arrive (something like quiet calm music playing, sit on the carpet and listen with your eyes closed, hands still, deep breaths) to give them a moment away from whatever else has happened already.

    What morning routines work for you?
    install likes this.
  2. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Ok so honesty, I’ve had students and if I had a student (particularly on their first placement) come in and change the morning routine as priority number one I’d be a bit irked. Particularly if I had planned something educational which settled the children and the student wanted to do something radically different, which in my opinion holds no educational value and whilst lovely for some, others will use as an excuse to mess around (sorry, Just my opinion). Children like the ones you discuss need routine as many probably don’t have routine and boundaries at home. This teacher has got them in to a routine, I’d suggest leaving it alone. Focus on teaching really good lessons first. You’ll see other teachers and get ideas from them. Once you’ve got your own class, morning routine is up to you, but whilst you’re one place to I’d leave it alone and focus on other things.
    vannie, sbkrobson, Marshall and 4 others like this.
  3. studentcrisis

    studentcrisis New commenter

    I’m sorry if I’ve given you the impression that this is “priority number one” - it is not. Priority number one is learning how to teach and manage a classroom in the way that best facilitates learning for my pupils - hence exploring ways to settle them in the morning and get them into a mindset where they are ready to learn in the morning.

    I have said maybe this is something I can implement but as my teacher is resistant to change in a lot of ways (sorry, just my opinion) that’s the reason I’m discussing it here before I then decide how best I can raise it with him. I’m not sure how canvassing for opinion from experienced teachers to see if it’s an idea worth having has irked you but I’m sorry it has.

    My thread here isn’t because I want to change something that’s working, it’s because I think it maybe isn’t working, or isn’t the best way for the class I’m in to start their day. I know I’m inexperienced which is precisely why I’m asking these questions. Often the morning work time is rowdy, the teacher is having to speak with parents and juggle bookbags and water bottles - it isn’t currently a routine which settles them because the ones who will mess around tend to rove the classroom faffing about and avoiding work, causing noise and confusion wherever they go. About a quarter of the class will just get on with it but then there’s the bustle of thirty children having to get books and pencils out for five minutes of work before having to put them all away again and it’s a bit chaotic. Sorry if I didn’t make this aspect clear in my first post.
    install likes this.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I agree as you're a student leave any routine well alone. Keeping consistency and routine is really important for such children.

    However for the future, or possibly as a point for discussion?, in the past we always started Reception and Yr 1 children off with 'early learning work'. That usually meant doing jigsaw puzzles, handwriting, reading etc and we encouraged parents to stay a couple of minutes and do these with the children. made it easier to talk to parents and they helped 'monitor' with their presence.;)
  5. Josh7

    Josh7 Occasional commenter

    Currently teaching Yr3. We start the day with a whiteboard activity - how many words (& longest word) can you make from 9 letters, a thinking activity such as what uses can you think of for a shoebox, piece of string..., make a list of sounds you haven't heard, things you wouldn't find on a beach..., what might the question have been if the answer is red, plate, hat... or 'beat the computer' - sums generated by a computer programme.

    When teaching Yr 2 it was more likely to have included spot the difference pictures, dot to dot puzzles, copying a picture accurately (picture with a grid drawn over it copied onto a blank grid).
    Marshall, install, digoryvenn and 2 others like this.
  6. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Your post hasn’t irked me - you’re not my student!

    Reading back my post does sounds a bit irritated, sorry, early morning. Also, if I’m honest, any mention of ‘mindfulness’ does bring this reaction out in me. In my experience, children will mess around more if the expectation is to sit in silence with their eyes closed listening to music for 10 minutes (particularly if, as you say, the teacher is busy talking to parents and answering questions from students so they’re basically left to their own devices) than if they have an activity to focus on.

    With regards to the hassle of the getting books out for 5 minutes and so on - it’s early days in the year. It’s only been 6 weeks, and children progress fast at this age. If the routine continues, it’s likely the children will get faster. My suggestion for what to tweak would be to praise children (loudly and publicly) who have come in quickly and settled, and reward them (house points, stickers, whatever). Others will notice and copy them in the hope they too will be noticed, particularly with little children. Any adults in the room can be directed to quietly direct children not on task to do the right thing. A quiet word at the start of the next activity or playtime will usually help persistent offenders.
    vannie, Marshall, install and 5 others like this.
  7. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Our Year 6 come in to an early work task already on their tables - usually grammar or maths (practising something recently taught) or occasionally responding to marking. They are expected to come in quietly and get started straight away. Parents don't come in, but this quiet and settled start enables the teacher and TA to answer any child's questions and sort out any start of day issues, eg forgotten PE kits or homework. Once the register is done, we then talk about what's happening that day. It works pretty well.
  8. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I used to let EYFS just come in and sit down on the carpet once they'd organised themselves (takes a while!) I would give Year 1 upwards (I'm currently in KS2 but lots of experience with younger pupils) an age appropriate activity on the IWB to get on with.
    In my experience, children like the routine.
  9. lardylady

    lardylady Star commenter

    I always have the same routine, which is basically come in, sit down, get reading book out, and read silently for 10 minutes. This worked for me in Y2 through to Y5.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Sounds like your teacher has it sorted to me.
    Coming in and getting straight down to work is a clear way of showing 'this is now school, there are rules and routines, get started'. Children have to switch of from home hassles and switch on to school.

    Faffing about for 10-15 mins as 'transition to the day' or whatever will cause huge problems as the children have plenty of time to think about the frustrations of home and take it out on their classmates.

    The start of the day will always be a bit of a faff, especially at this point in the year. Prolonging the time for roving about and causing merry hell won't make it better.
  11. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    Mine come in and choose a book to read to read on the carpet. I don’t mind at all if they share a book with a friend and chat in quiet voices. At their age (5) I like to see them talking about their books, especially as I have so many EAL pupils. Plus if you let them have a little chat and socialise first thing it gets it out of the way before you start teaching. Any sort of mindfulness would not work for mine first thing. They are too happy to see their friends (and me) and be in a safe and secure environment.
  12. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Perhaps you could use your idea for one of your course assignments.

    Training to be a teacher is a steep learning curve.
    To be honest, I don't think you have enough experience yet to 'criticise' the class teacher. It would not help you to approach the class teacher in the way you suggest. Perhaps you could discuss it as an idea for an assignment or your end of course dissertation.
  13. onmyknees

    onmyknees Established commenter

    I can't bear seeing the kids coming into school and have to get straight on with silent reading. As adults, we don't come into work and get on straight away without chatting to colleagues first.
    install and (deleted member) like this.
  14. nical73

    nical73 Occasional commenter

    I agree that you don't have enough experience yet to criticise a qualified teacher. Is this the school policy that children come straight into some task/work from the board (it is in mine). If so, then you will be expected to follow school policy. It could also cause offence to your class teacher if you start questioning their methods or routines
    vannie, Marshall, install and 2 others like this.
  15. lardylady

    lardylady Star commenter

    I may be unusual in this, but I'm happy to say a quick hello to any colleague I see on the way to the classroom, then prefer to get stuck in to setting up for the day with no interruptions. I shut my door and admit to feeling irritated if someone comes in to chat! I'd rather just get on and get sorted out.
  16. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I was like that too. There was always more time for a proper chat at break or lunch.
    Roisinburns, digoryvenn and lardylady like this.
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I do and probably about half the staff in my school do. The other half spend the first hour or or so of the day complaining about how much work they have to do, the second half hour complaining that they come in so very early every day and still can't get everything done. Everyone else has done an hour of work by then!

    Children generally chat to friends on the playground or some such before they come in to the classroom anyway.
  18. studentcrisis

    studentcrisis New commenter

    Thanks for the input everyone. I agree I don’t have the experience which is why I was asking - thank you.
  19. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    I don’t like to chat in the mornings, preferring to get on, and certainly in KS2 I think the children should get on with something in silence. But where I have so many little ones with no English, pointing to pictures and discussing stories with other English-speaking children is no bad thing (in my opinion).
  20. badgerwood

    badgerwood New commenter

    We run the daily mile!! It’s a great way of starting the day in the fresh air! ☀️

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