Wintermute here and today we will start our discussion of “In the Classroom” with Morning Routines. I would have to say that this is the most important part of the day for you and your students. It’s a good time for them to fall back into the routine of only speaking English, work their brain into learning mode, and warm up for the hard day ahead.
The morning routine is literally just that, a routine or system that you will follow each and every day, this routine will hardly differ from any other day. It’s a time for the students to say to themselves its class time. So what we need to do is give them things to familiarize with so that each day they know, its class time. Think of it as an ad on T.V., they become so familiar with it that the students just sort of snap into place. I always start with a simple hello, usually repeat a few times getting progressively louder, kids love to yell it back. Then I look at each individual student and ask “how are you?” simple question, simple answer, happy, sad, angry etc. Then I ask why are you happy, sad, angry, etc etc. This gives each student “teacher time” and makes them start talking, that’s what we want.
Then more simple questions, what day is today, yesterday, and tomorrow, what’s the weather. The more advance your class gets you can have them right the days on the board (this uses up a lot of time). When talking with your students make sure to use their names a lot, (or in my case nicknames) as their Korean name vastly differs from their English counterpart. Have a schedule on the board, so throughout the day the kids can see what’s coming up and what they did for that day. This is important because guess what the parents first question to their child will be. What did you do today? So be sure to ask your class and refer to the schedule often.
I made mini books for my kids, a new book for each week. It was about 5-6 pages of simple sentences with pictures. I had 12 students, I would make 6 books, have the kids pair up with another student, and read the book to each other. This is getting them use to speaking in English to each other; the more group activities like this you can work in is great and will help them develop confidence. I would also send the books home with each student so they can practice with the parents.
Then comes brain exercises, my kids loved these. These are simple exercises (I stole from Brain Age DS) that get your kids thinking and ready to learn. My favorite was a play on the classic rock paper scissors. I would hold up paper and the kids yell what beats it, then Id hold up rock and the kids yell paper etc etc. Then you have them yell what loses, you hold up paper they yell rock. Go faster and faster and mix and match lose and beats often.
By now your class is more ready than you are to get on with the day. Again never introduce new material in the morning, keep it systematic but let it feel fresh and exciting. This is also a good time to pass out jobs and roles for your students to perform throughout the day, such as line leader. I also had my students stand in front of the class and introduce themselves, and talk about themselves. Not needed, but an idea.