As students arrive each morning I like to have an activity for them to work on until everyone arrives. This year presents two challenges. The first: our buses are arriving at school later than in the past so some children do not get to class until the last minute so I can't hold them accountable for the work they miss. The second: with a balanced literacy framework they have more time to read during class so giving them extra time in the morning isn't necessary. The new Common Core Standards helped me solve this dilemma about morning work.
Students created books titled Morning Discussions. Each morning I pose a question on the Smart Board. Students write and/or illustrate their responses in their Morning Discussions books. While they are working they share their responses with their neighbors. Students who come in late will often ask someone for the question and work on it later in the day. I truly feel this is CCSS for Speaking and Listening being put to use in an authentic way.
I get my questions from a set of conversation starters called Chat Pack for Kids. This is a wonderful product because each Chat Pack has been carefully packaged by special-needs adults who work for
Ability Building Services in Yankton, South Dakota.