I am so excited to share my freshest resource with you! This product has been a long time coming. But first, just a little background.
Every resource has a story. I create each and every resource in my store because of a need I have or had in my classroom. I can be opinionated, argumentative, and to put it nicely- passionate. But it all comes for a good reason, I want what's best for my students. So, in the heart of storytelling— I'd like to share with you how the morning work came to be.
MATH MORNING WORK
A few years ago (my first year teaching 4th grade), I began to really dig deep into my math instruction and curriculum. Math has always been a subject that came easy to me and I didn't really need to think too hard about. But, that was the problem. I didn't have to THINK about it. So, to teach it was a whole other beast! The Math Coach that year was my previous team member from when I taught 5th grade a few years prior. She pushed me really hard to grow myself as a Math teacher. So I did. Honestly, it wasn't fun. It was frustrating. Until I pushed past that frustration and made it fun. So yes, literacy is my thing; but teaching is my thinger. (I know that's not a word, but Dr. Seuss does it. *shoulder shrug*) I began to create resources that made teaching math fun for me, which of course made it fun for my kids. I got out of that overwhelming, convoluted textbook (I will not point fingers) and I taught. I taught my kids how to think about Math. More importantly, I learned how to think about Math. Therefore, I became a better Math teacher. Where am I going with this? I'll get there.
So, I'm working really hard on being a better Math teacher, right? I'm sticking with trying to keep up with the strict district pacing guide, yet also be sure my students understand the concepts. Let's not talk about the depth in which they need to understand them in the short amount of time. And don't get me started on teaching #allthethings to 4th graders. I so desired to be departmentalized, but I wasn't and I'm not and I love it. Now.
Our Math block was in the morning, so this meant my kids walk in the door at 8:35 and I needed to start teaching by 8:40. I can hear you laughing right now. I am laughing right now. It's comical, really. We all know that mornings consist of paperwork, getting kids started, reminding what they should do (every. single. morning.), taking attendance, morning announcements, class meeting if you're lucky, and trying to keep it all together. I needed their morning work to not just be a worksheet out of their textbook or to simply read a book. I wish that would work, but it doesn't for all students. They need something to do. My classroom population has always been a blend of students who are ESE, ESOL, Gifted, ADD/ADHD, and regular ed. I live in Florida- we are the melting pot of the world, so I need to be able to cater to all of these needs.
I needed a morning work that would…
1.Engage my students.
2.Focus on critical content, so that it wasn't just “busy work,” but it kept them busy while I handled the housekeeping each morning. They were still focusing on the standards and it was great review before we got into the meat of the day.
3.Enhance structure and routine. I've got all kinds of needs in my classroom. We need structure and routine. I am always working on that personally, so I need it to help my students perfect that art as well.
4.Review the big math standards that were critical for grades 3-5. Multidigit multiplication & Division, Place Value, Fractions, and Adding + Subtracting.
So I created Good Morning, Sunshine! My teaching partner and closest friend Erin, who also creates a great portion of our curriculum, always said this to her students. She was my mentor when I first began teaching and is often still my mentor in life. J
It was such a positive thing to say and I wanted our mornings to be positive. I wanted to set a good tone for our day. I didn't want morning work to be monotonous and drab. I don't want to teach that way & learning shouldn't feel that way.
Each day is focused on a big standard or big idea that I think is crucial for 4th graders to understand. Not only are they crucial, but they need to constantly be revisited. The thing about Math in 4th grade (and any grade, truly) is that the concepts build upon each other. We start with place value. Next stop is multiplication & division, you need to understand place value to understand multiplication & division. When we cover factors and multiples…there's multiplication and division again. But wait, fractions are coming so we need to understand factors and multiples to get anywhere with that. And after fractions, we are heading straight into decimals, which of course are fractions. It is all connected. While Geometry thinks it may stand alone, it does not. The other concepts are absolutely there. Don't get me started on fractions and degrees of a circle. This is how I have come to enjoy math so much more. I have noticed all of the connections. As a natural reader and writer, I LOVE IT.
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ELA Morning Work for 4th Grade
This year you may have noticed (or not at all because you assumed this website died due to lack of life…i.e. posts) I moved to a new district and school. Things are different. A lot, but also not much. Epitodme of an oxymoron.
My ELA block is in the morning, which I love. It is so much easier to get students focused first thing in the morning. Since Reading and Writing are so important in 4th Grade, it makes since they are first thing in the morning. Math and Science tend to be more interactive so it is easier to have after recess, special, lunch, etc.
So this year my morning work didn't really work for me. I loved it, but I needed my kids to work on Language Arts in the morning, not Math. Of course they so needed the Math, but it could not cut into our ELA time. Especially when Writing does not get the time that it needs. I won't go down that rabbit hole. (right now)
The year was busy. New school. New district. New city. New house. Did I mention I broke my foot this year? Needless to say, it was crazy. I didn't have this ELA morning work quite worked out in my brain. Math had come so much easier…which is quite interesting…J
It came to me during our test prep season, when I began to see the concepts and skills my kiddos were STILL struggling with. OR the things I never got around to teaching because of #allthethings. For example, certain grammar skills, language skills, and vocabulary, etc.
I NEEDED an ELA morning work that would help me cover these skills. And review them consistently. Like, text structure. I LOVE teaching it. I think it is so fun…like a puzzle. I think things are going all hunky dory and then I go to grade assignments and it's like…Um…OK…never mind let me teach that again. And that is that's where Text Structure Tuesday comes in.
Let me give you a rundown on the structure of the morning work and what to expect.
- Meaningful Monday: Monday is focused on making meaning. Tasks will focus on synonyms, antonyms, vocabulary words, context clues, and making meaning in a short amount of text. Some tasks may require students to make meaning in the text (inference, message, adages, proverbs, etc.) or build vocabulary skills.
- Text Structure Tuesday: Tuesdays will have a paragraph that requires students to identify the text structure, signal words, and a question or two related to main idea, author's perspective, or vocabulary.
- Wordy Wednesday: Wednesday is all about working with words. Tasks include working with shades of meaning, homophones, or a short writing task using pictures or a word bank.
- Throwback Thursday: Thursday is all about grammar usage and conventions.
- Figurative Friday: Figurative Friday tasks include working with various types of figurative language including similes, metaphors, idioms, and more!
Above all, I wanted this resource to be fun and engaging for my students. I want them to look forward to it as well as non-threatening. To do this, I choose high-interest and seasonal topics. I integrate science and social studies, which I am always trying to do in my ELA resources because there is never. enough. time.
Each month will have a seasonal focus with high interest science and social studies topics that help provide rigorous engagement and practice.
Also, I love color. I am a visual learner…most students are as well. I try to use color coding responding in color to create a more visual aspect.
You can download a free resource week for the month of May by clicking the link below.
If you would like to purchase the month of May, follow this link:
If this is what you need for next year and you are ready to save money by purchasing the growing bundle, then click here:
So that's the story of the morning work. Have a great weekend!