14 Morning Work Ideas for Upper Elementary Classrooms (2024)

14 Morning Work Ideas for Upper Elementary Classrooms (1)

14 Morning Work Ideas for Upper Elementary Classrooms (2)

There is no one right way to do morning work in your 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade classroom. There is a wrong way, however - to not have a plan at all. These 14 morning work ideas can help you come up with a plan that works for your classroom.

When coming up with morning work activities for your classroom, consider carefully how each options fits into your students' morning routine, as well as your own morning routine. How much time do you have to prep for morning work? How much time do your students need to do other tasks, like hang up backpacks and sharpen pencils?

Use the morning work ideas as inspiration as you consider the needs of your own upper elementary classroom!

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Morning Work Ideas and Activities

1. Journal / Writing Prompts

This is a popular morning work idea, probably because it is so low prep. All students need is a notebook and a pencil. You could have students free write whatever is on their mind, or you can use daily writing prompts to mix it up a little.

6th grade teacher Makayla Adkins uses this as a way to have conversations with her students and to get to know them better:

"Last year I began journaling back and forth with my students. I started off writing every student a letter and ended with a question. Students read and responded. We did this back and forth and it allowed me to get to know things about my students that I would have never been able to know!" I learned about students weaknesses, what they like that a teacher does and what they don't like, their favorite games to play, their family, and SO MUCH MORE!"

Writing back and forth with your students requires a lot more time on your part, but it also makes this a much more engaging activity with a huge potential for student growth.

14 Morning Work Ideas for Upper Elementary Classrooms (3)

2. Soft Start

Soft starts allow students to settle in before doing any academic tasks. It's the childhood equivalent to sipping a cup of coffee when you wake up - giving your brain a chance to prepare for the day.

Usually classrooms that utilize soft starts provide students with a variety of choices as they come in, like:

3. Social Emotional Learning Activities

SEL (social emotional learning) is quite the buzz phrase these days, and probably for good reason. Our students have been through a lot, and helping them navigate social and emotional issues is essential for success later on.

Using SEL activities as morning work is a great way to fit in time for this valuable skill. Check out this freebie to get started.

You could also use this quick mental health check in every morning as part of your morning routine.

4. Have Students Complete Morning Tasks

If you often find that there isn't enough time in the day for students to complete different tasks that need to be done, then have students complete these tasks as part of their morning work.

You could have students do things like:

  • complete their classroom jobs
  • take attendance
  • make their lunch choice
  • check out books from your classroom library
  • fill out agendas/planners
  • turn in homework
  • prepare materials for later in the day (cutting, coloring, etc.)
  • if you use a classroom economy for classroom management, have students check balances, buy rewards, etc.

5. Brain Teasers

If your students are up for a challenge, then a brain teaser might be a fun morning work option to start the day.

You could have students complete:

14 Morning Work Ideas for Upper Elementary Classrooms (5)

6. Review

Students will always benefit from a review of skills they have already learned, and mornings are a great time to do this. This requires more prep than a lot of other morning work options, since you will have to prepare some sort of review activity daily.

Some teachers use already made spiral review activities to minimize the prep work, but the chances of those activities aligning perfectly with your own curriculum are slim. Inevitably, students will be asked questions over topics you haven't covered yet, which can lead to frustration.

This 3rd grade daily math morning work avoids that problem by scaffolding the skills. Even if students come across a completely new skill, the questions are set up to help students be successful.

There are also a lot of resources out there for daily reading comprehension practice or daily grammar practice, both of which make great reviews!

7. Finish Work

Let students use this time to finish any work they still need to complete. This allows students to catch up without utilizing valuable class time. You will have to have a different morning work idea in place for those fast finishers that have already completed everything, however!

8. Math Fluency / Writing Fluency

If you don't have very much time in your school day for students to practice different math fluency skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc.), then mornings can be a great time to get that much needed practice in!

This also might be a good time to build number sense, and there are a lot of no prep number of the day activities out there (like this free one).

Or, use this time to build different writing fluency skills - practice skills that are often overlooked like cursive and typing, orconsider using this free, no prep morning work that helps build students' writing fluency.

9. Morning Work Choice Boards

Choice boards provide students with different options, and then students get to choose the tasks they want to complete. They are often used for early finisher activities, but can also be used for morning work.

If you're interested in using choice boards in your classroom, then this free example might help.

10. Morning Message

If you want to change it up every morning, then some sort of morning message might be a good option for you. Every morning, write (or type) a short message with morning work instructions for your students.

This allows for a lot of flexibility. Some days students could work on a review activity, other days they might play with Play-doh, sometimes you might want students to finish an assignment, etc. You could have students complete any task - or any of these morning work activities that work for you!

4th grade teacher Ashley Uy has a unique twist on this. In her classroom, each day of the week has a different theme with a different activity. For example,

  • Motivational Monday
  • Think it Through Tuesday
  • What Would You Do Wednesday
  • Think Outside the Box Thursday
  • Friendship Friday

In Ashley's classroom, a possible Motivational Monday activity might be having students plot themselves on a mood meter and then write down a few goals for the week.

11. Genius Hour / Passion Projects

With all of the state testing students are required to do, students need a little more time and space to work on things that they are passionate about.

Consider letting students work on passion projects as they enter the classroom in the mornings.

12. Computer Time

Because of COVID, many teachers now have more one-on-one tech options that they didn't have before. You can take advantage of this and make it a no prep morning work option. Utilize programs like:

Or, have students practice their typing skills!

13. Center Games / STEM Activities / Makerspace

Use this time for different math or reading centers. Set out games for students to play as they come in the classroom.

Or, give students freedom to tinker and create. Place a variety of materials in a tub and let students get creative with a classroom Makerspace or by completing STEM challenges.

14. Independent Reading

If you don't have a time in the school day dedicated to independent, silent reading in your classroom, then this might make a good morning work option for you!

Have students read a book at your desk from your classroom library. If your classroom library is a little skimpy, then these tips for stocking your classroom library for cheap might help.

If you're looking to add some quality literature to your classroom library, then check out these books that upper elementary students will love!

You might also like some of these other back to school ideas.

Never Stress Over Sub Plans Again!

14 Morning Work Ideas for Upper Elementary Classrooms (6)

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14 Morning Work Ideas for Upper Elementary Classrooms (2024)


What are morning work activities for the first week of school? ›

The first morning work option for the first day of school are school-themed crossword puzzles and/or word searches. These activities are a simple way to ease your students into being back in school without heavy academic work. And most students love word searches and crossword puzzles.

What can I do instead of morning work? ›

Morning Choices: Alternatives to Morning Work
  • Reading. If you have a classroom library or reading corner, this would be a great option for your children's morning choice. ...
  • Morning Tubs (also known as “Busy Boxes”) ...
  • Sketching. ...
  • Yoga. ...
  • Chat Space. ...
  • Computer Time. ...
  • Classroom Jobs. ...
  • Journal Writing.
Oct 11, 2021

How do you engage students in the morning? ›

They suggest a meeting that includes a greeting, sharing time, a group activity and a morning message. The greeting allows each student to be welcomed by their name, and the sharing allows students to express themselves and practice giving and receiving empathetic comments.

What is a good morning routine for school? ›

Follow a routine.

It can look something like this: Wake up, wash face, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, go over the day's schedule, leave for school. You can even use a picture schedule to help the day roll out easier. (These can be extra helpful for kids who struggle with reading.)

What is classroom morning routine? ›

Here's a sample classroom morning routine schedule: MONDAY: Agenda slides projected, with students copying their weekly agenda down. TUESDAY: Morning Workbook (math review) WEDNESDAY: Morning Workbook (writing prompts) THURSDAY: Students complete a discussion slide, which can be discussed during morning meeting.

What are 4 activities in the morning? ›

Here is a list of productive morning activities that you can choose from to kick-start your day.
  • Read a book first thing in the morning. © Thinkstock. ...
  • Make a to-do list. © Thinkstock. ...
  • Meditate. © Thinkstock. ...
  • Practice yoga. © Thinkstock. ...
  • Work out. © Thinkstock. ...
  • Go for a walk in the park. ...
  • Have a nice breakfast. ...
  • Take a long shower.
Feb 27, 2018

What are some common activities in the morning? ›

Here's what Goodwin and Goel say are some of the best things you can do to start your day right.
  • Plan ahead! ...
  • Resist the snooze. ...
  • Drink water. ...
  • Meditate. ...
  • Exercise. ...
  • Get outside in the sun. ...
  • Make coffee (at home) ...
  • Eat breakfast.
Jun 7, 2018

How can I make my morning routine fun for kids? ›

Make waking up more enjoyable by incorporating some small steps into your morning schedule. Some kids prefer to be snuggled while others like to listen to music. If your child has a hard time getting out of bed, give them something to look forward to by reminding them of a friend they'll see or an activity they'll do.

What is the strong start activity? ›

Strong Start is a set of rituals and routines that get students ready to learn by fostering a sense of safety, belonging, community, and self-efficacy. The routines begin as students enter the classroom and continue through a group meeting. This opens in a new window.

How do you start a class in the morning? ›

10 Classroom Morning Routine Ideas
  1. Greet Students at the Door. Whenever possible greet each student individually. ...
  2. Play a Morning Soundtrack. ...
  3. Have a Place for Everything. ...
  4. Take Attendance. ...
  5. Collect Homework and Notes. ...
  6. Update Dismissal Info. ...
  7. Take Student Lunch Counts. ...
  8. Start Each Day the Same Way.

What are morning bins? ›

Morning bins are organized activities that students can engage with independently at the beginning of the day. Morning bins usually contain creative, open-ended materials, or other types of hands-on activities like centers , board games, or art supplies.

What is an example of a daily routine in the classroom? ›

Examples of classroom routines when arriving at school for the morning routine in an elementary classroom are: teacher greeting at the start of the day. hanging up coat and backpack. putting away school materials in a folder, mailbox, or desk.

How do you keep elementary students engaged? ›

Promoting student engagement through active learning

Strategies include, but are not limited to, question-and-answer sessions, discussion, interactive lecture (in which students respond to or ask questions), quick writing assignments, hands-on activities, and experiential learning.

How do you motivate students in the morning? ›

Giving students a job opportunity is a great way to boost morning motivation because students like being helpful. No matter how “small” the job is, the student completing that task that day/week will feel like vital part of the classroom and therefore be more motivated to learn.

What is an example of a morning routine for kids? ›

Here's an example of what a school morning routine might look like:
  • 7.30 am: your child gets up.
  • 7.40 am: your child eats breakfast.
  • 8.00 am: your child washes their face, brushes their teeth, gets dressed and puts on shoes.
  • 8.20 am: your child puts lunch in their bag and looks at books while you get ready to go.
Sep 8, 2021

What are routine activities in the classroom? ›

A routine is simply a set of procedures for handling both daily occurrences (e.g., taking attendance, starting a class period, or turning in assignments), and minor interruptions of instruction, such as a student's broken pencil or the arrival of a note from the main office (Kosier, 1998; Savage, 1999).

What is the best classroom arrangement? ›

Students in the front rows have the highest rates of engagement while back rows tend to be less engaged. This style of seating can also be done on an angle, often called stadium seating. In this layout, the desks are in angled rows and may or may not touch.

What are five daily activities? ›

  • 4.1 Picking up.
  • 4.2 Taking Care of your Back.
  • 4.3 Carrying.
  • 4.4 Dressing.
  • 4.5 Washing and bathing.
  • 4.6 Cooking, cleaning and washing.

What are 3 daily activities? ›

The tasks of everyday life. These activities include eating, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, taking a bath or shower, and using the toilet.

What are the 6 good morning habits? ›

The Miracle Morning shows how a morning routine built around 6 key practices known as "Life S.A.V.E.R.S" - silence, affirmations, visualisation, exercise, reading and scribing - can help you get more done and live your best life.

What are some normal daily activities? ›

Common ADLs include feeding oneself, bathing, dressing, grooming, work, homemaking, cleaning oneself after urinating and defecating, and leisure. A number of national surveys have collected data on the ADL status of the U.S. population.

Which morning activity is for beginners? ›

Power push-up is one of the most simple morning exercises you can do at home. This exercise will help you lose weight, improve your metabolism, and strengthen your muscles. It uses nearly every muscle in your body and prevents injury. Push up your chest, arms, and legs to a notch to boost up your morning.

What are five routines you can follow to create a happier morning with children? ›

  • Get as much done the night before as you can. ...
  • Wake up before your kids. ...
  • Gently wake up your kids with a smile and maybe a snuggle. ...
  • Get enough sleep! ...
  • Keep the schedule simple and consistent. ...
  • Make breakfast simple, healthy and something you know your kids enjoy.
Sep 14, 2015

What are soft starts in the classroom? ›

Soft starts allow kids to work alone, join in deep partnerships, or involve the whole class, and can be implemented at any time during the school year.

Why use a starter activity? ›

The use of starter or warm-up activities are of vital importance in the language classroom and help you ensure that the lesson starts and proceeds on your terms rather than those of your students! Without a clear plan for the beginning of every lesson, classes can begin without any real sense of pace or purpose.

What does start activity for result do? ›

StartActivityForResult is a powerful method in Android that allows one activity to start another activity and receive a result back. This result can be used to perform an action in the original activity, such as updating its UI or making a network request.

What to do while students are working? ›

What To Do During Student Work Time
  1. Meet with groups on a rotating basis: ...
  2. Observe the groups regarding their collaboration. ...
  3. Participate in conversations. ...
  4. Provide optional workshops. ...
  5. Develop the Rubric with the students. ...
  6. In general…
Jan 31, 2017

What can I do when I'm done classroom? ›

"I'm Done, Now What?": A List of Things Students Can Do After Seat Work
  1. Check your work for errors. Can I make it better?
  2. Read a book.
  3. Write in your journal.
  4. Write a story.
  5. Help someone else.
  6. Tidy up your desk/table.
  7. Tidy up the class room.
  8. Catch up on some home work.

What is the most a student can work? ›

When assigning work hours, your employer or financial aid administrator will consider your class schedule and your academic progress. CSU campuses typically limit a student's work hours to a maximum of 20 hours per week when classes are in session.

How do you keep students busy in class? ›

Good activities for these students include:
  1. Brief lectures.
  2. Discussions.
  3. Stories.
  4. Word games.
  5. Reading aloud (especially if they're doing the reading)
  6. Group projects.
Jul 11, 2019

How do I start my morning classroom? ›

10 Classroom Morning Routine Ideas
  1. Greet Students at the Door. Whenever possible greet each student individually. ...
  2. Play a Morning Soundtrack. ...
  3. Have a Place for Everything. ...
  4. Take Attendance. ...
  5. Collect Homework and Notes. ...
  6. Update Dismissal Info. ...
  7. Take Student Lunch Counts. ...
  8. Start Each Day the Same Way.

What are some examples of classroom routines? ›

These routines can help you keep things running smoothly:
  • Bathroom breaks. Many teachers use a regular bathroom procedure that doesn't involve kids interrupting the entire class by raising their hands to ask permission to leave. ...
  • Walkabouts. ...
  • Accessing materials. ...
  • Handling late work.


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