I haven't been up for blogging much this week since I've been fighting off stomach problems, but I'm finally feeling better. When my kinders came back to school after Christmas Break I started them with a new system for their supplies and morning work. It took a lot of set up work at first, but I am very happy with how it is going now. Maybe these suggestions will help another first year teacher.
When I first set up my classroom I had table baskets of supplies simply because that's what I saw most of the other teachers had. I also printed out morning work for my students to work on each day after they were dropped off. This resulted in a lot of fighting over supplies, a lot of time searching for work, and an overwhelming amount of morning work papers stuffed in seat pockets.
Now each student has their own supplies pouch and morning work journal.
Each supply pouch has crayons, a pencil, and an eraser. The students no longer fight over supplies and they have to take responsibility for their supplies. If they break their crayons or tear the eraser off their pencil then they are the ones that have to deal with it.
I don't have to take planning time to find morning work or sort through papers each day. Students automatically come in and get their morning work journal. They know that they have to write the date, draw a picture, and write about it. This makes the morning work differentiated to students' ability levels as well.
Before, my students would finish the morning work I had picked out in two minutes. Now they can work the entire time they are in the classroom before the bell rings. This is really important for our school because we have some students thirty minutes before the school day begins. If students do finish their work, they are allowed to read a book.
These simple strategies have worked really well for our class! A little change can make a big difference in your classroom's environment and productivity.