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15 Ways to Start the School Day

Teachers share how they start off the day in the classroom to get kids going, from listening music to practicing yoga.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

  • Morning Mozart
    I play classical music as my students arrive. I like my third graders to start the day happy and relaxed. —Maureen H.
     
  • Hugs and High Fives
    Each day, I greet my students with a smile and a “Good morning,” and their choice of a hug, a handshake or a high-five. —Jessica E.
     
  • Just Do It
    We start with a five-minute “Do Now” exercise. I tell them, “Do it now ’cause it is due now!” Because I teach English, it is usually a quick creative writing exercise. —Jessica R.
     
  • A Good Run
    Each day we run in place for 12 minutes. It’s particularly great in winter, when the students need to get that energy out! —Kim G.
     
  • No Fun
    With standardized testing, a number-two pencil, and robot-like readings of testing instructions. Just kidding. —Mary D.
     
  • Look Back
    The very first thing I do is grab a cup of coffee for myself! Then, I gather my students to do a recap of the day before. —Deborah G.
     
  • Breathe Deep
    Yoga! I have students with multiple disabilities, and many of them have a long bus ride to get to my classroom. We do yoga to get our bodies moving but also to find our calm and focus for the day. —Sarah K.
     
  • Board Room
    We go directly to morning meeting so we can have a sharing time right away. It’s a nice way to get to know students and to let them talk before the teaching begins. —Valerie W.
     
  • Feel Them Out
    I do a temperature reading: I ask students how they feel today on a scale of 1 (lousy) to 10 (awesome). This gives me a sense of which students had a good night and which ones had a rough time and might need a little special attention. —Litty M.
     
  • Chat Room 
    A little free time talking. I allow the kids to sit together and talk quietly about anything they want in the hope they will get it all out before class starts! —Shannon L.
     
  • Target Practice
    We have a morning meeting where we greet each other, do a reading that relates to our character target for the week, introduce the learning targets for the day, and give announcements. —Emily H.
     
  • Reading Points
    We used to do daily oral language warm-ups, but research shows they don’t work very well. Instead, I’ll start each class with 15 minutes of heads-down reading. I’ll give a daily grade based on an independent reading rubric and my own observation of student engagement. —Meg N.
     
  • Love of Lit
    My favorite start to the day is a good read-aloud! —Danielle K.
     
  • Mind Games
    A big hello and a brainteaser to get the wheels turning! —Stacey S.
     
  • Meal Time
    Breakfast! This year we are starting a new program in which all students will receive breakfast in the classroom. —Dama M.

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