Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Morning Tubs

Today I am blogging about my favorite change to my classroom this year, morning tubs!
Before I get into how I am using morning tubs, let me quickly explain how the mornings go at our school.

The kids arrive anywhere between 7:45 and 8:20 and can get breakfast in the cafeteria or wait in holding areas (usually in the hallway outside the classroom). Teachers aren't required to bring the kids into the classroom until 8:20, which is when the morning news starts.

In the past, mornings has always felt rushed. The kids come in and are trying to get unpacked and ready for the day all while the news is playing. There was never any time for morning work as our math block starts immediately after the news.

This year, I decided to try something different. I wanted something that would get my students engaged first thing in the morning, so I decided on morning tubs.

 I got four of these plastic tubs from Wal-Mart.

 I got the 7.2 quart size, which allows for plenty of space for materials, without taking up too much space when we aren't using them.

 labeled them 1-4 with a flamingo that coordinates with a table color. We rotate bins each morning, so having the numbers and color code helps me to remember which bin goes where.

For example:

Green table always starts with bin #1 on Mondays.

On Tuesday, all bins rotate one place, so green table will have bin #2. This continues through Thursday.

On Friday mornings, we are shopping at our classroom store as we come in, so the kids who are done may be reading or taking a test on reading counts.

I wanted to make sure that my students didn't lose interest in morning tubs, so I switch out the materials weekly. 

A lot of the materials that I use are things that I already had around the classroom:

I have also been keeping my eye out for deals! I managed to snag a few things from the dollar spot at Target (lacing cards, alphabet and number puzzles, lego-type blocks) and the Dollar Tree (dominoes and lacing cards).

Here are a few other things we have been enjoying-

*the kids LOVE bunchems, but make sure to stress that they are to stay away from hair... I would say more, but I am still too put out after spending ages picking one out of a little girl's hair!

I also made up some step by step drawing cards from tutorials I found online. I laminated them and put them in the box with some drawing paper.

I have a wish list going (what teacher doesn't?!) of some different things I would like to add as the year goes on. I am pretty fascinated by these plus-plus pieces. Has anyone ever used them?

I am always a little nervous when trying out new routines in the classroom. I usually have this idea of how I want it to work, but it doesn't always pan out!

In this instance though, I am honestly so glad that I decided to go for it! My mornings always used to feel so hectic and rushed with no real transition from arriving at school to learning. Now, we have a quiet time to explore classroom materials and be creative!

My kids are collaborating on bigger projects-

this massive wall was built by two boys out of plastic bathroom cups! (I was expecting a big crash when they started to clean up, but they meticulously took it down, cup by cup! Such a quiet clean-up!)

They are socializing in a positive way- trading ideas, sharing materials, complimenting each other's designs, working together on their plans. 

Yes, I have given up some of my time alone in the mornings, but I couldn't be happier with the choice!

Do you use morning tubs in your classroom? I'd love to hear about it!

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