‘Good morning‘ ‘Hi…how are you today?‘ ‘Hello!‘
Greeting each other is an unwritten procedure which we all do. Since the beginning of the academic year, we’ve been starting the day by giving Hi-5 to each other.
‘Have a great day!‘; ‘Have a super day!‘
They look at each other and wish each other to have a super day. Once I forgot and one student reminded me that we have done ‘Hi-5’. We have the Hi-5 song which was introduced by my colleague and everyone in school knows how to sing. Giving Hi-5 seems to be simple but this routine send positive feelings in the morning as we begin our day. It develops the connection among students. It would definitely wake those who are still sleepy. 🙂 I can always see them smiling and laughing as they use funny words. ‘Have a wonderful rainbow day! Have a superman day! Have sweet cat day!’ They sometimes just make them up. Put a big smile on the face. This won’t take more than 5 minutes.
In the past, I have used different activities to start the day. It depends on the daily timetable. Sometimes I let them read independently for 10 minutes. Number of the day is also one of their favourite activities. Sing a song (I did this when I taught grade 1). Daily question (such as: Did you see the sky this morning? etc.) Any activities which won’t last more than 10 minutes.
On the first day back to school after the Christmas break, I asked them how they want to start the day. Hi-5 was still mentioned as one of the suggestions. Most of them suggested to play snowballs. This is on of the favourite games which they love to play in the class. I was introduced to this game as one of assessment tools.
The fact that we didn’t have a lot of snow in our area this year, it doesn’t mean we can’t play this game. 🙂 Snowball is a game where kids write on a piece of paper and crumple it. I do like the idea of doing this game in the morning. It’s a ‘wake-up’ activity (some students are still sleepy). It’s a fun activity which enables everyone to smile and laugh. It let everyone participate (even the quietest student will enjoy the game).
‘So, what should we write on the paper?‘
One said, ‘Our feeling.‘
Other said, ‘Your wish for the day.‘
…and a few more ideas were mentioned.
So, we did! The game may take 5 to 10 minutes. Again, it depends on the timetable. We may not do snowballs every morning but we can still do snowball at other time during the day.
The first time we played snowball was to write their feeling. They all wrote their feelings (including me as the teacher). One they finished, we all stood in a circle and threw the paper. Pick the paper up and read what’s written and crumple it again. ‘sleepy…happy..excited…tired…fantastic..awesome….‘ This is the best time to introduce more words to add on their vocabulary as well. We usually do it at least 5 times so that at least everyone gets a chance to read as many words as they can.
On the other day, we did snowball to share about our Christmas holiday. I gave them more time to write about their holiday. This time we did more than 5 rounds as to let students read more stories. It also took more time as students had to read a longer text. After this game, I asked each child to share about the holiday from two other kids which they read. Through this learning experience, students used the communication skills. As I mentioned above, this game allows all students to participate (the quietest, the most shy, the most reluctant student in your class would participate). I always participate in playing the game. They got to read about my holiday and I could quickly ‘assess’ their writing (and spelling) as I read through the paper.
The following day, I asked them to complete two sentences and write them down on the paper. It is usual that ………. ; It is unusual that………….. The students learned about how to use these two words in sentences. They were laughing as they read each other’s sentences.
I think it’s very important to get kids excited about the day or start with something fun in the morning. As adults, we also like to get up and have a great feeling to conquer the day, don’t we?
One of my colleagues usually asks me in the morning, ‘Do you feel like a winner?‘ and that will give positive ‘shot’ in my brain. 🙂
Have a great weekend, everyone!