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Morning Tasks

What a day!
I had absolutely no breaks all day long.
The two prep periods I had were devoted to meetings - one with a parent and another one to discuss our next PYP unit - the Exhibition of Learning!
And, as if that weren't enough, I had recess and lunch supervision.
Finally, there was a leadership meeting after school.


Despite the fact that it was an action-packed day, with no breaks for me, I loved the energy that my students and I created throughout the day. We laughed and were serious. We were loud and quiet all at once. Each part of our day today could be a separate blog post. I'm going to write about the conversation we had about our morning routines. At a later time, I plan to write about other things we're doing in the classroom.

Every morning my students have 15 minutes for morning tasks which include checking email and Edmodo, as well as finishing assignments. They can also read, write, work on a project, or do a classroom job. It has been a constant struggle this year to get some students to realize the value of this time for getting organized and transitioning into the school day. So, today we had a conversation about how 15 minutes can add up to a significant amount of time over the course of a week (75 minutes), month (300 minutes or 5 hours), school year (45 hours) and adding up to about 8 school days or about 40% of the total allotment of absences permitted by the Ministry of Education before a student is in danger of repeating the year. 

I probably talked more than necessary, but I feel it was an eye-opener for some kids to put our "morning tasks" time into perspective. Nevertheless, there are a couple of kids that need a specific assignment because they are not ready to take on this challenge for themselves. I'm thinking that a combination of 10 minutes doing a teacher directed task and 5 minutes on their own might be a good place to start, decreasing the teacher assignment over time.  

I don't want to take away these 15 minutes altogether because most of my students do take advantage of this time and are busy from the minute they walk into the room until it's time to break for PYP or another lesson. We'll see how this goes over the next few days.

What does your morning routine look like for your students?  

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I share some questions I'm grappling with in my classroom. 

No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!