Why not try Good Morning Baskets instead of Morning Work!


How do you start the day in your classroom?  How you start the day often sets the tone for the rest of your day.  I have changed my thinking in recent years and have started to embrace a more relaxed start to the day.  This method has been called a few different things, a soft start or free flow.  Read on to find out what the beginning of the day looks like with my first graders.

Try out a soft start in your Primary classroom with Good Morning Baskets.

In my classroom, we are now starting most days with Good Morning Baskets.  I have Good Morning Baskets filled with either Literacy or Math related activities.  Many of these activities are totally open-ended while some have specific tasks to complete.  I found my students were coming in with lots of energy and wanted to talk, talk, talk.  My morning work and journal time weren't working because my students just wanted to be social.  I had read about this way of starting the school day and I admit I was skeptical.  I figured that it would lead to more unsettled kids by I was totally surprised when the opposite happened.  They were excited to find out who their partner was and to get to work on an activity.  There was still a buzz throughout the room but most of my students were focused and chatting and working and playing with their partner.  I was sold.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so instead of writing, I will share pictures of some of the things I have included in these baskets.  At the end, I will share more about how the routine works in my room.  

Try out a soft start in your Primary classroom with Good Morning Baskets filled with literacy and math activities.

Use pattern blocks for a variety of things.  I have these cards from a set purchased ages ago but your students will love building their own designs too.  Using plastic tweezers to pick up pom poms to cover letters is great fine motor practice and good for letter recognition and counting too.

Try out a soft start in your Primary classroom with Good Morning Baskets filled with literacy and math activities.

Building letters of the alphabet with snap cubes and pattern blocks.  This helps with manual dexterity and for copying a model.  Using the pattern blocks just as they are modeled is good for developing spatial awareness too.
Try out a soft start in your Primary classroom with Good Morning Baskets filled with literacy and math activities.

Playing with lego is fun so adding letters to the blocks adds an educational twist.  I have lots of stamp sets but do not like stamp pads at all (too messy!).  I started having students stamp in play-doh.  We usually use a placemat to work on so it doesn't stick to the table.

Try out a soft start in your Primary classroom with Good Morning Baskets filled with literacy and math activities.  Use these free patterning cards and your students can make patterns with any material.

My students love to pattern with everything.  I added these simple pattern cards to a few bins of materials and they do the rest.  Would you like a set for your own Good Morning Baskets or Math bins?  Just drop your name and email below.


Try out a soft start in your Primary classroom with Good Morning Baskets filled with literacy and math activities.

We start our year with a patterning unit so adding things to make patterns with to the Good Morning Baskets is always a big hit.

Try out a soft start in your Primary classroom with Good Morning Baskets filled with literacy and math activities. Try out a soft start in your Primary classroom with Good Morning Baskets filled with literacy and math activities.

Building pictures with Cuisinaire blocks and patterning with play-doh are super simple activities to add to your Good Morning baskets.

Try out a soft start in your Primary classroom with Good Morning Baskets filled with literacy and math activities.

I wrote the numbers to 100 on a set of plastic tiles that I had.  By happenstance, they fit perfectly on this set of 100 charts I already had. Instant morning center.  They love matching up the numbers.

Grab these free basket labels and word building case labels to use for your own Good Morning Baskets and centers.

These word building kits are a hit with my girls especially.  I hot glued the magnet strip into the case and added a sticker to the bottom (it is barely visible in the picture) so I knew what letters were supposed to be in the case.  Sometimes they grab some paper from the writing center and make a list of the words they built.

You can get both the labels I use and the label for the Word Building cases by dropping your name and email below.


My students are responsible for completing our morning routine before going to a Good Morning Basket.  Students work with partners and I did want to have a bit of control over this.  I also wanted to make sure that students were playing with lots of classmates and getting to know everyone.  I created a random group chooser file within my Smart Notebook software for my Smartboard.  Students check the smartboard and choose a basket and get to work.

Our Good Morning basket time lasts about 20 - 25 minutes.  It gives my stragglers time to get organized for the day.  Often those students end of missing out on this time but it is better this than my literacy lessons.

I use this time to quickly look through agendas and then I usually circulate and chat with kids as they are working and gauge the mood of some of my students who sometimes have a difficult start to the day.  This time is so valuable.

Pin this image so you can return to this post when you need inspiration.


I have included resources I have found on other sites.  Check out my Pinterest board to find those links.

Until next time,

3 comments

  1. You have such great ideas to hold the interest of your students while providing alternate ways of reinforcing skills/ concepts! Great job, thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love all of your good morning baskets! Such a great variety of skills can be covered using these! Thanks for sharing!

    Karyn
    Kideducator@comcast.net

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