Instead of having my students work on papers or worksheets when they come into our classroom each morning, I have them use STEM boxes. These boxes help my students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.
My students loved using these boxes so much that they would race down the hallway each morning to grab their favorite one! Read all about them here and get your own supplies to create some! 🙂
EDITED TO ADD: You can download the labels for these STEM Boxes here. 🙂
Setting up a classroom community is one of the SINGLE MOST important things you can do to ensure a smooth classroom year.
I spend the first 4-6 weeks getting those rules and procedures in place (before we get into the real meat of Kindergarten!), so that the rest of the year will be smooth sailing!
We love using simple getting to know you activities to make each of the children feel welcome and for them to have an easy way to share a little bit about themselves.
In addition, we have a special “Take a Break” space where students can go if they need to calm down, take a break, or reflect on a situation. You can read more about what I do to set these up here and get these ideas going in your own classroom!
Here are a few more of our “new” style Morning Messages…again, sometimes all you have to do is ask! I was running out of new ideas to introduce or practice (mainly because it’s the end of the school year) and so I asked the kids what they would like to practice…
Here is another of their creative requests! 🙂
I wanted to mention that one of the things we are doing is editing as we go along. If one of my students find something that they know is an error, they can erase it and fix-it-up instead of writing in a different answer. I usually have many more blank lines than I have children and I review each message and help to fill them in as a whole group. I want each child to have a chance to fill something in. It’s been interesting to see that some of my struggling students will stand at the board and wait until they find the answer to some of the more complex problems (as complex as they can be in Kindergarten!) and some of my higher students find a quick answer, fill it in, and move on.
They really have been looking forward to these new Morning Messages each day! 🙂