June 23, 2016

Morning Messages for Independent Readers

Starting the day with a Morning Message is key in many classroom. While a fill-in-the-blank style Morning Message may be ideal for beginning and emergent readers, teachers working with independent readers have a tricky job. How do you keep the Morning Message fresh and engaging without going crazy coming up with a new idea each day?

I've found that third graders and up benefit from reading fun facts and contributing to a related chart. I keep a collection on my desks of cool facts and ideas to use over year after year. They include a main idea and some details for support. Using these cards makes it easy. During the school year I keep a list of subjects I think kids will find interesting. It's an ongoing process that takes just a moment to record.

Our cleaning crew only washes our whiteboards on weekends so I get a head start and write my message before leaving the night before. I DELIBERATELY make errors in my short message related to skills I've recently introduced or want to review. Next to the message I create some sort of graph or chart related to our day or make it a way to interact with the message.

In my room I greet students at the door. It is expected each one will read the message, contribute to the chart then sign up for our Daily 5 or Literacy rotations (discussed here) first thing.
After attendance and lunch count we conduct our Morning Meeting. As we review our Morning Message we identify errors then discuss WHY they are errors and correct them. A student leader then uses the pointer as we all read in unison. In 8 short minutes I've modeled editing skills, discussed grammar literacy skills and context and got in a bit of fluency practice. This process is valuable!

Keeping a list of topics to cover each year makes crafting a meaningful Morning Message for your independent readers a snap. You could keep your ideas on index cards on a ring. I'm sharing my Morning Message Idea Collection at my TpT store. If you're looking for ways to get Morning Meeting started check out my blog post here.

I'd love to hear how you keep your Morning Message engaging for your BIG KIDS. What sorts of strategies to you use to keep from getting burned out?

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