Saturday, September 24, 2016
The Morning Cart!
I noticed that mornings in my room were a tad bit chaotic and, well, loud! Mornings can be a stressful time. Some kids arrive at school after staying up late due to dance class. Some kids come to school hungry and from an unhappy household. Some kids are just not morning people! I want morning to be calm and peaceful in my room.
Previously, kids would come into the classroom in the morning after I greeted them. It was up to them to pick up homework for the night, file the previous day's homework in number order, then write in their agenda. There is a whole lot to get done and organized in the morning. Part of the loudness came from a large group of kids congregating near the homework turn-in and pick-up.
My previous morning to-do list:
1. Unpack & unstack
2. Take out homework folder from backpack. Put homework into folder, take out previous night's homework.
3. Go to homework turn-in box. Highlight name & number. File in number order.
4. Sit down and write in morning agenda.
5. Put away agenda & homework folder
6. Read quietly.
WHEW. That is a lot going on, and a lot of unnecessary movement in the classroom that can easily turn into too much noise and potential rowdiness.
Introducing... the morning cart!
I wheel this cart outside my door every morning. It is from Amazon, take a peek at it here! It is called the Indoor or Outdoor Folding, Metal, Rolling Serving Cart. It's a steal at $54. This thing is super durable and lightweight. There are cheaper ones on the market, HOWEVER, most of those you need to assemble. This baby pops out of the box all folded up... just open up, quickly screw the wheels on with your hands, and you are ready for action!
What I include on my morning cart:
- Inbox - This is where students drop notes from parents, lunch money, office forms, permission slips, etc. Anything important is put in here!
- Tribe Pick-Up - I put the homework for the night here.
- Homework - Kids place their homework from the previous night here. I used to have them file it in number order to make sure that everyone brought it in. BUT because I stand near the door to greet each child, I know exactly who doesn't have it, no time spent filing necessary!
- Copies - I put the copies for my copy parent here. This cuts down on parents coming in and class time taken up. The parents know right where it is, can grab it, make copies, and leave it there!
- Wednesday folders - Our school sends home important papers and grading in the Wednesday folders. I have a classroom parent file these. The parent knows right where it is, so it's quite efficient! No coming into the classroom and searching for the file box.
What's nice about the morning cart is that it keeps the hustle-bustle OUTSIDE the classroom. It cuts down on kids waiting for a while to file their homework, or madly scrambling inside their backpack for a note from mom. After the initial work outside the classroom, they enter a peaceful and serene setting. I set the chill mood with classical music and all the lights off. No harsh, fluorescent lighting is needed in the morning!
I started the morning cart this year. I already have seen a world of difference since last year! Kids come into the classroom relaxed, hang up their bookbag, write in their agenda, and then relax/read/eat breakfast. Life is stressful enough, mornings in the classroom should not have to be!
How do you keep your mornings relaxed?