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December 2, 2015 Daily Starters to the Rescue! By Genia Connell
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Those first few minutes of the school day can be hectic. Students are getting unpacked and settled into their seats. I’m taking attendance, making sure everyone has signed up for lunch, and checking in the previous night’s homework, collecting notes, and helping with everything from stuck coat zippers to forgotten lunch money. While I’m busy taking care of these daily logistics before instruction begins, I want my students working on something meaningful and engaging — enter Daily Starters. 

    Daily Starters are questions or prompts from four categories, Language ArtsMathFun Fact, and Teachable Moment that cover strands taken from national standards. The questions are differentiated for four different grade bands, preK–K, grades 1–2, 3–5, and 6–8, and they’re designed to easily display on an interactive whiteboard so there is nothing for me to copy or prepare ahead of time. Truly the perfect solution to help make my hectic mornings easier! 

     

    Morning Routine With Daily Starters

    Using Daily Starters as part of your morning routine is ridiculously easy. Simply display them on an interactive whiteboard and you're all set. Daily Starters can also be printed out or viewed by students on an iPad or computer. One of my favorite things to do in the morning or as a writing warm-up is turn the Fun Facts and Teachable Moments into writing prompts by posing a related question for students to respond to in their writing journals. 

    Every few weeks I have students select one of their Daily Starter written responses to revisit. I encourage them to revise one using techniques we have learned in writing class since they initially wrote the entry. I'll often challenge them to add something we have practiced, like similes or transition words.

    They're Not Just for Morning Anymore!

    While Daily Starters have made the first part of my day easier, over time I’ve realized that they’re too valuable a tool to limit to one part of the day. Thanks to Scholastic's Daily Starter Teacher Guides (broken out into grade levels PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, and 6–8), I've found ways to sprinkle the starters throughout my day. Below are a few of the ways Daily Starters can be used in your classroom. Many of these ideas come from the 35 Guide:

    • Best of Word of the Day: Encourage students to share their sentences for Word of the Day. Have the class vote on the ones they like best.

    • Idiom Illustrations: Invite students to create two-panel cartoons illustrating the literal and figurative meaning of favorite idioms.

    • Phonics Card Games: Write phonic elements on individual index cards. Have children illustrate the sound on a second set of cards. Mix up the cards to play Concentration. Use multiple sets of cards for Go Fish. For a PE activity, randomly distribute phonics and picture cards, and time how long it takes children to find the classmate who has the phonics to match their picture or vice versa.

    • Word Study Word Wall: Have students illustrate homophones and words which are easily confused with one another. Display them on a bulletin board for students to refer to when they are writing. The cards below were made with Word Workshop.

    • Writing Prompts: Turn the daily Fun Fact or Teachable Moment into a writing prompt. Post the question, then add a question that students need to respond to in their journals. Practice narrative and persuasive writing this way.

    • Fun Fact and Teachable Moment Cloze Reading: Expand Fun Facts or Teachable Moments to make close reading comprehension activities. Leave the first sentence intact, then replace each fifth or seventh word with a write-on line. Have students work in pairs or groups of three to fill in the missing words.

    • Did You Know? Make a bulletin board display of Fun Fact and Teachable Moment tidbits. Have students find additional facts/details and write them on sticky notes to attach to the Daily Starter Fun Facts and Teachable Moments bulletin board. Collect them in a class book.

    • Sort and Research. Write Fun Fact and Teachable Moment ideas on index cards. After a few weeks, have students organize the facts by topic and choose one to research further. Research can be done independently or with a partner. 

    • Fun Fact and Teachable Moment Games. Use the facts for Jeopardy, Concentration, or Charades.

     

     

    Topics Covered by Daily Starters

    (The below schedule is subject to change.)

     

     

     

    Once I started using Daily Starters, I realized they were much more than a morning time filler. I'd love to hear how you use Daily Starters in our classroom! 

    Other Resources for Daily Practice in Your Classroom


     

    And for your holiday shopping pleasure, I invite friends, family, and readers of the Top Teaching blog, to accept this 25 percent off coupon from The Scholastic Store!

    Those first few minutes of the school day can be hectic. Students are getting unpacked and settled into their seats. I’m taking attendance, making sure everyone has signed up for lunch, and checking in the previous night’s homework, collecting notes, and helping with everything from stuck coat zippers to forgotten lunch money. While I’m busy taking care of these daily logistics before instruction begins, I want my students working on something meaningful and engaging — enter Daily Starters. 

    Daily Starters are questions or prompts from four categories, Language ArtsMathFun Fact, and Teachable Moment that cover strands taken from national standards. The questions are differentiated for four different grade bands, preK–K, grades 1–2, 3–5, and 6–8, and they’re designed to easily display on an interactive whiteboard so there is nothing for me to copy or prepare ahead of time. Truly the perfect solution to help make my hectic mornings easier! 

     

    Morning Routine With Daily Starters

    Using Daily Starters as part of your morning routine is ridiculously easy. Simply display them on an interactive whiteboard and you're all set. Daily Starters can also be printed out or viewed by students on an iPad or computer. One of my favorite things to do in the morning or as a writing warm-up is turn the Fun Facts and Teachable Moments into writing prompts by posing a related question for students to respond to in their writing journals. 

    Every few weeks I have students select one of their Daily Starter written responses to revisit. I encourage them to revise one using techniques we have learned in writing class since they initially wrote the entry. I'll often challenge them to add something we have practiced, like similes or transition words.

    They're Not Just for Morning Anymore!

    While Daily Starters have made the first part of my day easier, over time I’ve realized that they’re too valuable a tool to limit to one part of the day. Thanks to Scholastic's Daily Starter Teacher Guides (broken out into grade levels PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, and 6–8), I've found ways to sprinkle the starters throughout my day. Below are a few of the ways Daily Starters can be used in your classroom. Many of these ideas come from the 35 Guide:

    • Best of Word of the Day: Encourage students to share their sentences for Word of the Day. Have the class vote on the ones they like best.

    • Idiom Illustrations: Invite students to create two-panel cartoons illustrating the literal and figurative meaning of favorite idioms.

    • Phonics Card Games: Write phonic elements on individual index cards. Have children illustrate the sound on a second set of cards. Mix up the cards to play Concentration. Use multiple sets of cards for Go Fish. For a PE activity, randomly distribute phonics and picture cards, and time how long it takes children to find the classmate who has the phonics to match their picture or vice versa.

    • Word Study Word Wall: Have students illustrate homophones and words which are easily confused with one another. Display them on a bulletin board for students to refer to when they are writing. The cards below were made with Word Workshop.

    • Writing Prompts: Turn the daily Fun Fact or Teachable Moment into a writing prompt. Post the question, then add a question that students need to respond to in their journals. Practice narrative and persuasive writing this way.

    • Fun Fact and Teachable Moment Cloze Reading: Expand Fun Facts or Teachable Moments to make close reading comprehension activities. Leave the first sentence intact, then replace each fifth or seventh word with a write-on line. Have students work in pairs or groups of three to fill in the missing words.

    • Did You Know? Make a bulletin board display of Fun Fact and Teachable Moment tidbits. Have students find additional facts/details and write them on sticky notes to attach to the Daily Starter Fun Facts and Teachable Moments bulletin board. Collect them in a class book.

    • Sort and Research. Write Fun Fact and Teachable Moment ideas on index cards. After a few weeks, have students organize the facts by topic and choose one to research further. Research can be done independently or with a partner. 

    • Fun Fact and Teachable Moment Games. Use the facts for Jeopardy, Concentration, or Charades.

     

     

    Topics Covered by Daily Starters

    (The below schedule is subject to change.)

     

     

     

    Once I started using Daily Starters, I realized they were much more than a morning time filler. I'd love to hear how you use Daily Starters in our classroom! 

    Other Resources for Daily Practice in Your Classroom


     

    And for your holiday shopping pleasure, I invite friends, family, and readers of the Top Teaching blog, to accept this 25 percent off coupon from The Scholastic Store!

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