GEMS Finds Creative Ways to Warm-Up Students’ Thinking

TARGET 1 – Student-Centered Learning: FWSU students will engage in personalize learning involving collaborative inquiry, problem solving and creative learning opportunities.

ACTION STEP  Highlight, create and model innovative learning opportunities that promote collaborative inquiry, problem solving and creativity for students and staff.

Each day, Georgia Elementary School teachers greet their young students to the classroom with familiar activities that make each child feel connected and welcomed. For teachers, so much is happening first thing in the morning. Usually, students hand in notes, provide lunch money, return signed field trip forms, and give their book orders. Then teachers hear exciting personal stories about a soccer game or how a student lost a tooth the night before. Often parents pop in for a conversations about a concern, or colleagues check in with quick questions.

The children begin their mornings in the classroom in similar ways. They have a lot going on too! They remember to pass in homework, hand in notes from their parents, follow the steps to the morning routine, eat their breakfast, and all the while wanting to chat with their friends.

Mornings set the tone for a whole day of learning in the classroom. After doing some research and reflection, Julie Stevenson (Second-Grade Teacher) decided to change things and begin the day in ways that better meet the needs of both her students and herself. She developed a morning warm-up schedule to allow the children flexibility, creativity, choice, and social interaction. She also gained needed time to chat with her students, organize papers, and send in attendance.

Each day, the classroom embraces a different theme. Although the pattern will remain constant throughout the year, the actual activities will vary from week to week. Students now look forward to Math Mondays, Talking Tuesdays, Word-Play Wednesdays, Think Out-Of-The-Box Thursdays, and Fidget Fridays.

Using this new approach to mornings, this class is more prepared for learning all day long!

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