Morning Choice in my 5th Grade Classroom: OBSESSED!

Friday, January 3, 2020
Alright guys - I've gotten lots of questions about morning choice since I started this year. I learned about the idea of morning choice from Adam Dovico at GYTO two summers ago, but I have to be honest, I was too scared to try it last year. I am a fan of structure, and the thought of kids coming in and making a mess kind of stressed me out a bit. My coworker Jessica isn't scared of anything, so she did it last year and it was a huge success in her room. Her success and positive words about morning choice gave me the PUSH I needed to try it in my own room during the 2019-2020 school year. Well, here we are - halfway through the year - and I'm here to give you an update.

The update? I'M OBSESSED. Morning choice has CHANGED our classroom mornings for the BETTER.
In order to learn about morning choice, you'll need to head over to Adam's blog. He has three great blog posts on morning choice, but I would start with this one. Since the idea of morning choice was Adam's, I'm not going to talk about what it is - I'm simply going to fill you in on how it's going in my classroom.
Alright - Let's go back to the summer and discuss my FEARS and HESITATIONS.   
I had two major concerns when it came to morning choice.
1) Would the lack of structure and morning mess impact our day?
2) Would I have to constantly buy new activities so kids don't get bored?

I was SO concerned about the lack of structure, but there really hasn't been a lack of structure at all. During the first week of school we went over expectations, and because students love morning choice so much, they follow those expectations every single day. 

What are our expectations for morning choice?
When students enter our classroom, they must unpack, write down any announcements in their assignment pad, put up their backpack, and make sure they are completely ready for our day. Only once they are completely ready for the day they may play morning choice. This means that the quicker they come in and get ready, the longer they have to play. Another expectation is that whatever morning choice activity the student picks, they must stay with that activity for the entire duration of morning choice. No jumping from activity to activity. This means students must choose wisely. At the beginning of the year, I created signs for each morning choice activity that stated how many students are allowed to be at that particular activity. Those really helped as we began morning choice so that I wasn't answering lots of questions. When morning choice is over, I set a timer for two minutes. Students understand that by the time the timer goes off, morning choice should be completely cleaned up and students should be at their seats with their reading out ready to go. If students aren't ready, morning choice will be shortened to allow for additional clean up time the next day. These expectations have worked SO WELL for us! I highly recommend grabbing a GIANT timer for your classroom. If you are just starting out with morning choice, I also suggest making directions for each station. You can grab the ones I made HERE. They are editable and you can make them for any activity.
How often are new activities needed for morning choice?
Another MAJOR worry for me is that I would be constantly having to switch out or buy new games and activities to keep my students engaged and interested. Well, I'm here to report that halfway through the year, my students are still in LOVE with the original morning choice activities I stuck out and I haven't felt the need to buy new stuff at all. My kiddos have brought in some of their own activities based on their own interests, but I haven't bought anything new! 
Favorite Morning Choice Activities:
Now that we've discussed by fears and hesitation, let's discuss what morning choice activities my students LOVE. Don't spend lots of money on morning choice items. I asked friends and family for games. Everyone has a game closet with tons of games that they never use! Ha! Don't be afraid to ask! I also went to garage sales and thrift stores to grab some activities! Lastly, there are some pretty cheap items at Target and Amazon that can get you started! Instead of just listing favorite games and activities, I am going to post Amazon pictures. I highly suggest you try your local stores for the best deals before ordering on Amazon! = ) 

 
  
If you are looking for board games, I have found that Walmart and Target have the best deals. Click HERE to check out Walmart's selection! If you are more found of shopping at Target, click here for board games and click here for some great card game options!

New Ideas I plan on Implementing this Spring: 
These ideas were given to me on Instagram and I am excited to try them out this spring!
 

Alright - any questions you still have for me? Any awesome morning choice games I'm missing out on? If so- leave me a comment and let me know! Happy Morning Choice-ing! = ) 

2 comments

  1. I am so so very excited to start implementing this soon! :) Thanks for the post!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, a bit late to this, but doing some planning for next year (as I can't be in my classroom now!) What choices do you have, and how many? Do they stick with that choice for a whole week, or just a day? Sorry to pester you!

    ReplyDelete