Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great Monday!  We had a magnificent day in Mustache Land!

One of the most common questions I get from readers, on Facebook and from other teachers is how I do classroom management and what my secret is to keeping my ‘staches so well managed!   Of course procedures, procedures, procedures and more procedures is a major factor, but I also want to share one of the biggest keys to successful classroom management in my classroom.  I honestly think this plays a significant role in my success with management.  What is my secret?  The answer is…..morning journals.  Here’s how we do it and what makes it such a vital piece of my management system.

My morning work is our morning journals.  Every day.  It’s the exact same activity and the exact same procedures and expectations.  And that is the  key.  When the ‘staches arrive, they know what to do, they know what to expect and they do it.  They aren’t struggling with some new worksheet or packet.  They don’t have to get up and ask questions or come to me for help.  They can arrive in a calm manner and be successful immediately.  They start off their day calm and successful and that sets the positive tone for the the day.  The consistency and successful start to each day.
When the ‘staches arrive, they place their folder in the box and put their backpack away.  Then they go to their seat and find their morning journal.  My morning work  is differentiated!  Here’s how!
For students who are still working on mastering writing their names, they have name writing practice to work on.  Some students are still just tracing their names and some are doing a combination of tracing and writing.  This differentiation allows scaffolding as the students move toward mastery.
As you can see, the student on the left is still tracing her name.  The student on the right is tracing her name twice and then writing her name 3 times.  Their morning work is meeting their individual needs and allowing them to be successful!  And it’s consistent.  They are working on their name every morning.  No surprises when they arrive!  
Once the ‘staches master their name writing, they earn their morning journal.  My mourning journals are just spiral notebooks  When they first earn their journal, they simply write their name and draw a picture.  Every morning.  Same expectation and procedure.  Success!
His illustrations are always this caliber!
After a week of name and picture, we add in the date.  For week two of journals, they write their name, trace the date and draw their picture.
After a week of name, date tracing and picture, I remove the tracing part and they write their name, date and draw a picture.   
When they are ready to be challenged (usually withing a couple of weeks, but it varies for each student), I ask them to label one or two things in their pictures with a word.  As they label more and more, they are required to start writing a sentence.  As the year progresses their sentences improve and turn into 2 or 3 sentences describing their pictures.
So, that is my secret.  The key to a successful day is a successful and peaceful start!  They do the same thing every morning.  They work quietly with our rockin’ music blasting.  Everyone is successful and our day starts out great.  The morning sets the tone for the day!
The bonus to this system is that it’s teacher friendly.  No copies, no packets to assemble or papers to grade!  
It’s Monday so that means SILLY HAT MONDAY!  Ya know, how much you love to see Mr. Greg in his silly hat!  
And today’s outfit!
Shirt and Pants-Gap
Yep, I wore white pants to kindergarten and survived!
Don’t forget that today is the last day of the HUGE Teachers Pay Teachers sale!  All of my Common Core Creations are 20% off!  Use the code BTS13 to get an extra 10% off from TPT!  

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  • Reply LeAnne Cooper August 20, 2013 at 12:11 am

    I L.O.V.E. this idea. What a simple but smart way to run your morning work…and makes it easier for the teacher to accomplish morning tasks too. I may just try this out this year! Thanks for the tip 🙂
    Hangin' with Mrs. Cooper

  • Reply Christy M August 20, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I love this idea too! How many notebooks does each student go through during the year? Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!!

  • Reply Carol Cobb August 20, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Great idea! I was just thinking today that I need to work in more time for my kindergarten kids to learn how to write their names! I will be searching for notebooks tomorrow! Thanks!!
    Mrs. Cobb's Kindersprouts

  • Reply Lauren Kuhn August 20, 2013 at 9:36 am

    This is a brilliant idea! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep!

  • Reply Steve Welch August 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Perfect! Do you have book baskets on the tables for early finishers?

  • Reply MrsS August 21, 2013 at 5:15 am

    I wore white pants to Kindergarten, too! Made it out unscathed!

  • Reply Ms.M August 21, 2013 at 5:30 am

    You looks so handsome. Love the daily outfit slips.

  • Reply Kristina August 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I'm going to have to try this out this year! What do the early finishers do?!

  • Reply Dawn Armstrong August 21, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    How much time do you allow each morning for morning work?? and what do you do for the time difference for those who are tracing their name compared to those who are drawing a picture, name and date?

  • Reply Mrs. Armstrong August 22, 2013 at 2:20 am

    First of all, thank you for taking the time to detail your journal routine. That was the best description of progressive journal writing I've read yet! I just started school today and I am going to try implementing your ideas starting with name practice tomorrow. I have one little honey who, despite tutoring, has never progressed past the first letter of her name. So interesting! Also, I've always done journals at the end of the day but I like your way as they are much fresher in the morning. Thanks again!

  • Reply Greg Smedley August 23, 2013 at 3:45 am

    Hi! I use the front and back of each page so they use 1 to 2 notebooks a year.


  • Reply Greg Smedley August 23, 2013 at 3:47 am

    Hi! We have about 20 minutes for morning work. When they finish they read quietly. They can read from the class library or their book bags!


  • Reply Greg Smedley August 23, 2013 at 3:49 am

    Yes! They have book bags to read from or they can choose to read from the class library!


  • Reply Christy July 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I know this is an older post, but I hope you'll still answer questions on it! Just wondering if/when you go in their journals ahead of time to write what each students' morning work is. Do you do it on a Friday for the following week in everyone's journals based on that student's needs? Do you make the same morning work for 5 pages for the whole week (i.e. student's name, date on 5 consecutive pages)? I love this idea for morning work.

  • Reply Mary Lambert July 13, 2016 at 12:37 am

    How long after school starts do you start the morning work?

  • Reply Frances Whetstone August 5, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Wow! This is a great idea. I have cut the spiral notebooks in half to get them to last longer. We are Bee's so I call them BUZZ Books.

  • Reply Kelly Conner August 6, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    In your post you mention your students earning their journal. What do they do to earn their journal and how soon in the school year do you introduce the journals? Thank you!

  • Reply Lauren March 1, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Kelly… He said once they can write their name independently they earn their journal. GREAT idea… love this post.

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