Thursday, September 26, 2013

Classroom Tour: Morning Group

Continuing on my classroom I will show you my new, and improved, morning group!  I received A LOT of new students this year (and I got to keep some of my oldies as well!!).  I also have my largest class size year (13 STudENTS!!).  Most of my new students need a very structured morning group and I need to cover a lot of the basics with them.  So, this year, instead of having my entire class participate in morning group together, I split them into 2 groups.

During my beginner group, I have a structured group which goes over social skills, calendar, weather, as well as some academic and functional skills.  Here is a picture of our morning group schedule.  As I complete each item, I make a check mark beside it on the dry-erase board.  We go over all of the items on the schedule first. Then, when we are finished, students complete their individualized binders which cover the same material.  In years past, I have allowed students complete their binders during the group time to keep their hands busy and occupied.  My group this year can sit and wait pretty nicely, so I like it if they actually participate in the group work and then do the independent work after.

Just like last year, we start with greetings.  For now, I am working on having students respond (either a wave or saying "hi" after I say hi to them.  Next up, we will work on saying hi to one another...and eventually, we will talk about things like "what did you do this weekend?" "what did you have for dinner last night?" etc. (I CAN'T WAIT!  Saying "hi" every day is getting a bit boring!  However, we went from no one responding to everyone responding within a progress is progress!)  Next, we do attendance where the kids practice raising their hands and/or saying "here" when their name is called.  I think is important for our kids to work on, because it involves learning how to respond to your own name.

Next up, is social time.  We have a question of the week (this week is "What's your favorite food?").  Each student takes a turn coming up to the board and putting their name under their choice.  Right now, we are just working on identifying our favorites.  Eventually, kids will interact with one another during this activity to make it more social.

Next up is calendar and weather.  Here are before and after pictures of what they look like.
Calendar "BEFORE"                                         Calendar "AFTER"

Weather "BEFORE"                                          Weather "AFTER"

My calendar and weather visuals are available on TPT here. 

Next, we have "Practice."  This is something new this year.  I noticed that a lot of my students are struggling with identifying numbers and letters, so we are doing daily practice.  My students all have to follow along with their fingers and say (or just point for my non-verbal learners) to the name of the numbers/letters.  I am hoping that this daily exposure will help get my students more familiar with letter and number names.  

Then, we have "Binders."  This is where students practice the same skills from morning group on their own.  I also include some additional work on skills based on IEP goals.  I have posted most of these picture before in other posts, so I will include them at the end of this post.  I did revise some of the sheets to more closely align to what is on the board.

Once this work is finished, I have the kids sit and wait (see the visual cue below) before we start our journals.  For now, I have moved away from our traditional journals of writing sentences and/or paragraphs about a topic.  

With this year's group, we are really focusing on numbers and letters.  So, I have them complete a number and letter journal page each day.  Here is a sample of a number journal page.

And here is a sample of a letter journal page.  

This whole morning group process takes about 30 minutes to complete.  When we are done, my kids check their schedules and move onto a set of rotations through stations in groups of 2 kids.

Meanwhile, I run on over to my second morning group!  This morning group is made up of some of my veteran students and more advanced students.  We use this time to work on guided reading.  When we are finished with guided reading, my students independently complete their more advanced binder pages on calendar/weather related skills.  I will be posting more on what we are doing in this group later this year!

As promised, here are the samples of my binder pages.  I did re-arrange some of them so that they more closely mirror what is on the board to aid in my students completing them independently.  I have also create a variety of levels of each sheet.  Each student has a binder tailored to their individual needs and level.  I do have a little girl who is visually impaired this year...she is unable to complete these type of binder pages with such small pictures, so I am working on putting together a larger version for her!  Stay tuned for more on that!

Easy Calendar Page                                          Hard Calendar Page

 Easy Weather Page (Velcro)                         Easy Weather Page (circle)

Hard Weather Page

Circle the emotion you are feeling each day.

Dressing the boy (I also have a girl) for "winter" vs "summer."  The following 3 activities are included in my "HW Binder" on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Identifying the colors of your clothes.

Identifying coins names and values.

Phew...that was another long post!  More classroom tour posts to come!


  1. I love your ideas! Morning group is one of my least favorite activities of the day, but with some of these activities, I may be able to approve it! Thanks so much!

  2. Hi Hailey. . . I am trying to re-vamp my schedules. I feel like we are stuck in a rut and I want out!
    I need to separate my kiddos into 2 morning groups as my current large group is not working! I am struggling with what the kiddos that are NOT in group do. What do your kiddos do? Do they get a break, do independent work, etc? Just curious. Thanks!