How to Manage A Morning Routine


Make a morning routine for your kindergarten class that sets the right tone for the entire day.

Here’s how I managed our morning routine in kindergarten. 

How to Manage An Easy Morning Routine - and what to do with talkers

This topic came from a reader:

I need help with my schedule- making it flow and starting the day off right. I have 25 kids and it’s my first year at this grade level. They all want my attention and I want to hear their stories but how and when?

The beginning of the day can often be hectic – which is the opposite of how any of us really want to start our day!

I totally recommend taking time as you can to hear their stories because investing that time can tell you a lot and of course – means a lot to them. In fact – it can be a miracle solution for some behavior issues.

Keep reading for when to hear those stories and what to say when you don’t quite have the time.

Let me first share how we had a routine to help keep things running smoothly and afforded me the time to connect with my kinders.

Our morning routine

I used icons and taught the routine:

  1. Check their daily folder for mail and put it away.
  2. Put backpack in the closet.
  3. Make lunch choice selection.
  4. Sharpen pencil if needed to start work. Start work.
How to Manage A Morning Routine

What was the work? Well, it was something that was routine-based that needed little to no instruction. This is key to be able to visit {aka hear those all-important stories} and get the attendance/lunch count done.

Let me break down some examples

I made it easy on myself. I’m not the kind of teacher that changes centers every two weeks, nor was I the kind of teacher who wanted to come up with morning work or work boxes just to keep my kinders occupied.

I picked the option and placed it into our daily agenda. That way they knew what option they should start with.

That final “work” part of the routine was usually one of 4 options:

  1. They would read from their leveled book bags (books they had read with me during guided reading groups) to themselves. This option was called “read to self.”
  2. They would read from their leveled book bags (books they had read with me during guided reading groups) with and to partner. This was called “buddy reading.”
  3. They would work on an unfinished piece of work from the afternoon before that we didn’t finish (allowing for little to no directions since they just had them yesterday). I called this “work time” and had their work out so it was easy to start on.
  4. They would do what I called “author writing.” This is what I called our writer’s workshop time – and this little morning time was usually a welcomed opportunity to work on their stories some more.
How to Manage A Morning Routine - build in open ended activities like writers workshop

Whatever I chose – it was generally open ended so that I could get everything done as needed before moving on with our day. I scheduled whichever one fit our classroom needs best for the day.

Side note: Once we grew to be able to complete the calendar/date page of our calendar binders on our own, they did this independently before moving onto the work listed in the daily agenda.

How and When To Hear Their Stories

Now… back to addressing the issue of the storytellers…

When you have the time

I generally spent time going around and visiting with those (who wanted to talk) who were on the “work” portion – to reward them for following through with their morning routine.

If I needed to prompt someone to move through the motions I would always state, “I can’t wait to hear about it – let’s talk as soon as you’re done with your morning routine.”

They were very responsive to this. I believe it is because:

  • They knew I had time for them (it was built into the open-ended nature of our morning)
  • They recognized they would get more individual attention (than in the middle of the throng that comes through the classroom door)
How to Manage A Morning Routine - how to handle the storytellers

When you just don’t have the time

If there just isn’t time first thing in the morning, pick 2-3 students to commit to memory… ones that wanted to tell you something.

The absolute next available transition or 2 seconds while waiting in line, say something like, “You wanted to tell me something this morning and we didn’t have time. I’d like to hear about it now if you still want to share!”

This will go a loooong way in continuing to build rapport with them and make them feel valued.

See a quick run down of a day in my life as a teacher. Get a little insight into how the morning routine flows into the rest of our schedule.

A Day in the Life of a Kindergarten Teacher

Want to hear the hilarious stuff kinders say during those random stories?? Ahhhh… only kindergarten.

Now – for the opposite of the spectrum – how about we talk about the end of the day routine?

How to Manage an End of Day Routine

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