Creating a Routine With Daily Starters
Each Grade 1–2 Daily Starter includes four categories of questions and trivia: Language Arts, Math, Fun Fact, and Teachable Moment. The Language Arts and Math questions repeat overarching themes week to week. The themes for both subjects are listed below with suggestions for discussing the answers. The Fun Facts and Teachable Moments, one of each for every weekday, are seasonal, and provide information about most major holidays throughout the school year.
Once you find a routine that works for you and your students, continue the routine established during Week 1 for each week of Daily Starters.
- Phonics: Students will name one or more pictures and identify the beginning or ending letters. After children name the letter that stands for the first sound in each picture, have them find something in the classroom that begins with the same sound.
- Sight and High Frequency Words: Students will read a sentence and recognize a sight or high-frequency word as it occurs in the sentence. High-frequency and/or sight words account for more than 50 percent of the words children will read and write. Have children raise their hands when they hear and see the target word. Challenge children to use the word three times in oral sentences of their own.
- Spelling: Students will use pictures to help them unscramble words. They may be asked to recognize details about the words, such as vowel sounds or rhyming words. If children need help unscrambling the letters to spell the CVC words, write each letter on an index card for them to rearrange. Challenge children to use the letters that spell the target word to spell another word.
- Grammar: Students will identify sentence fragments or parts of speech in a sentence. After children identify the sentence fragment, have them make it a new, complete sentence. You may want to have pairs or small groups of students write and illustrate a sentence for the fragment.
- Word Play: Students are presented with multiple words that are easily confused, such as homophones, homonyms, or words with multiple meanings. Talk about the multiple spellings, pronunciations, or meanings of the word. Point out the parts of speech the words can represent. Have students use the words in sentences of their own.
- Counting and Place Value: Students are presented with a sequence of numbers with one or more missing numbers. The sequence may not be consecutive numbers, in which case students will need to determine the pattern or rule, such as counting by 5s or 2s. After children identify the missing number(s), ask them to name the numbers that come before and after the sequence. Use the sequence to count on and count back from the missing number(s).
- Operations: Students are presented with one or more number facts or math problems. They may be asked to draw pictures to represent their work. You may want to introduce or review math vocabulary terms, such as sum, addends, and the commutative property. If there are multiple number facts, ask children to explain how the problems are alike.
- Measurement and Data: Students are presented with pictures of change or dollar bills and asked to count the number of coins and the monetary value. Encourage students to write math sentences to express the addition of the coins. You may want to show children real coins or dollar bills and let them examine the coins with a magnifying glass.
- Geometry: Students will identify the names and properties of shapes. You may want to discuss the differences between two- and three-dimensional shapes (like squares versus cubes), pointing out that two-dimensional, flat shapes have two dimensions, length and width, while three-dimensional shapes also have volume, the space inside the shape.
- Word Problems: Students are asked to solve word problems, which are sometimes accompanied by pictures. If children need help, give them objects they can use to act out the math. Break children into pairs and have them write their own word problems using the objects.
Read the Fun Fact or Teachable Moment aloud. Then have children read it aloud chorally. Look for the sight and/or high frequency word in the Fun Fact or Teachable Moment. Talk about the fact.
Encourage children to think of questions about the topic. Write their questions on a chart titled "Things We Want to Know." Find books in your school library on topics of interest. During free time, invite children to illustrate the fun fact to share with their families.
Extension and Enrichment Activities for Grades 1–2 Daily Starters
- Books. Have children make their own books for any or all of the Language Arts strands.
- 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 Play Word Wall. Display illustrated examples of multiple meaning words, idioms, and homophones for children to refer to when they are writing.
- Big Word Wall Read. Challenge children to read the Oral Vocabulary words. Have pairs of children pick a word, draw a picture and make up a sentence for the word.
- Did You Know? Make bulletin board display of Fun Facts and Teachable Moment tidbits. Challenge children to find another fact about the topic and write it on an index card or sticky note to attach to the Daily Starter Teachable Moment or Fun Fact. Collect them in a class book.
- Fun Fact and Teachable Moment Cloze. Expand Fun Facts or Teachable Moments to make cloze 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.
- All Sorts of Facts. Write Fun Facts and Teachable Moments on index cards. After a few weeks, have students sort the facts by topic.
- Fun Fact and Teachable Moment Games. Use the facts for Jeopardy, Concentration, or Charades.
- Math Facts Charades. Write math facts on index cards, mix them up, and distribute randomly to pairs of children. Provide the pairs with small classroom objects and have them act out the math fact for the rest of the groups to figure out.
- Measure Me. On individual cards, write the names of classroom objects and place them in a box or hat next to a box of measuring tools. Include a ruler, yardstick, tape measure, and scale in the box. During free time, or after children have finished an assignment ahead of others, have them select a card and then find the right measuring tool to measure the item.
Launch the day with Daily Starters! These fast, fun, and engaging language arts and math questions, plus fun facts and teachable moments, will spark student brains as they begin the school day.
PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8