For years, I printed pages and pages of sheets to use for morning work. The thought of wasting so many pages every single day finally got to me the year when my students trickled in the classroom for a twenty minute time period. Every day, sheets that I had copied weren’t being used. The pages started piling up and I knew I needed a better plan for morning work that included low prep ideas or no prep ideas for my classroom.
To be honest, I don’t remember how the thought popped into my head, but I wanted my students to be able to review skills that I’ve taught, but where I wouldn’t be needed. Each morning there is always something to do where I can’t be occupied. Attendance has to be taken. A kid usually has an issue. Parents like to pop in the room and talk for “a little while.” At my current school, I have to take lunch count and take account of who eats breakfast in our classroom. There are so many small tasks that take up the morning arrival time.
I also wanted to use our 1:1 classroom iPads. The thought came to me. I could allow my kiddos to use the writing app Doodle Buddy to practice the previous skill that I’d introduced the week before. It would be an easy review of something that they’re familiar with. The app would take the place of all of the paper that I was using.
Reviewing skills hidden as a fun game
Interactive PowerPoints were my answer. As my students trickled in the classroom, they were able to quickly get unpacked and grab their device. They would be able to start in the middle of the PowerPoint without it being an issue. What kind of PowerPoints? All kinds…
Silent e week was perfect because my students were able to say each of the words, write it on their iPads and the PowerPoint showed the correct answers. My students were able to immediately see if they had written the word correctly or not. I was able to take attendance, take up and receipt money, check binders for notes and all the other morning duties.
Engagement was at an all-time high. My students were working the entire time. Want to know what else happened? My students started begging their parents to get them to school on time. They did not like to miss our See it Write it time. It’s what I named it. Shocked is an understatement. I could not believe that my kids were so engaged in reviewing skills that I’ve taught all because of a PowerPoint. A POWERPOINT!
Morning work skills galore
Because of that, I began creating more skills and introducing them to my class. They ATE up each and every one of them. Then, I moved schools. It was a school that did not have 1:1 technology. How would I get back to being free of so many copies? Would I keep my students engaged during the arrival part of our day? How could I keep using my See it Write its that had helped so many of my students in such a short time span?
Dry erase boards were the answer. Of course, they aren’t as cost effective as iPads. I do have to invest in dry erase markers even more, but it’s definitely worth it. When I looked for class sets of boards, I went straight to Amazon. Amazon is the perfect place for dry erase markers, too.
The See it Write it sets are PERFECT for just about any skill. I have you covered if you’re teaching short vowels, long vowels, digraphs, word families or more.
I love using these especially with number sense, addition and counting sets. It’s the perfect self-checking tool that I don’t have to prep. I just write down which skills I want to practice each day, download them on my school computer and my kids are ready to practice. The flexibility in them also allows for teaching time in between each of them to discuss how and why about the answers if we need to discuss.
Make mornings even more engaging
If your kids are competitive like my class this year, we do a girls vs. boys to see who can either get the right answer first or which group got the most right. For the latter, I wait until everyone has answered. This gives the unsure kiddos time to write their answer, even if they’ve snuck a peek at their neighbor’s answer.
This year, my schedule changed a lot and I started using this during my intervention time. My class is on the rug as I teach reading intervention first thing in the morning. This helps a lot because I’ve split my intervention group into two. They still get a chance to review/practice every day, but just not as long as everyone else. We usually do a quick ela and math one every day so they are reviewing more than one skill. If you’re in need of some resources for your intervention or reading small group, get out my Reading Small Groups Warm Up post or Making the Most of Small Group Instruction series. If you’re interested in the See it. Write it. sets, I have a Kindergarten bundle, First Grade bundle, and my growing bundle contains ALL of the SIWI sets I’ve ever created plus you’ll receive any future sets that will be created.