Simple Start: Morning Work Routine

Morning Work is something that I have revamped (a lot!) over the years.  I have tried what seems like everything.  

I have found that Morning Work needs to be:
 1.  something students can do on their own  
2.  something that is not for a grade  
3.  something that is not new (curriculum wise)   
4.  something that you don't have to spend time planning for each week

This is where Simple Start comes in.  Simple Start is a routine used throughout the week that gives students a chance to start their day in a simple and positive way.

For each day of the week, Simple Start has 2 options: a paper type option (except Tuesday) and more of a hands on option.  This way you alternate between the two or can use one of the options over the other if students struggle with one type.  Although I have always loved the idea of "Morning Tubs" or "Free Choice," it didn't work 100% in my classroom.  I found kiddos were getting bored too quickly of the activities and I had a hard time keeping up with the students taking proper care of the materials. 

Let's take a look!

There are 2 ways to display the Simple Start routine in your classroom.

There is a set of signs you can project or print in color.

There is also a set of signs that you can print on colored card stock and hang them on your whiteboard or in a pocket chart.

Below you'll find picture examples of the activities that can be done (it's really up to you!) for each day of routines.   


Students can use a variety of building type materials to make / build whatever they would like; bridges, shapes, houses, etc.  A few building materials that work well are:

Magnatiles (affiliate link)

Tegu Blocks (affiliate link)

Legos (affiliate link)

Math Manipulatives

Students fill out various questions and complete unique activities.  Morning Mats are printed on Legal size paper and are a fun alternative to regular morning work papers.   Morning Mats are FREE in our store!  Click here to grab them! 


Students are able to use devices to play games / activities that you have selected.  A couple of our favorites include:

Storyline Online

Students play board games together; a few favorites include Connect Four, Spot It, Candy Land, Sorry, and Uno.  These games are familiar to the students and they can easily play them without too much trouble.

Connect Four (affiliate link)

Spot It! (affiliate link)


Worksheet Wednesday
Do you have papers stack up in the recycle bin?  Put them to use!  Keep extra worksheets and activities in a bin and students can use them for Worksheet Wednesday.  In most cases, the activities are familiar because they were completed at another time.  You can require students to take the paper on the top or you can lay out all of the papers and students choose what they want to complete.

Students can work together to put together puzzles.  It's best to get puzzles with a small number of pieces so that they can finish in the Morning Work time.


This can be any activity that you feel requires students to put their thinking caps on.  A few examples include:

Prove Yourself Math Prompts
Students answer math questions (questions are included from all the different strands) using "True" or "False."  They also must use evidence to support their answers.

Prove Yourself ELA Prompts
The Prove Yourself ELA Prompts require students to select an opinion and then give reasons (evidence) as to why.

Set out centers or other activities that the students have done before; students feel confident because the task is familiar. We use our Literacy Bags for this (seen below).


Students have a chance to draw whatever they'd like (they love this!!) using tools they don't normally use for drawing; whiteboards, notebook paper, recycled worksheets, etc.

Students get to pick an activity to play.  You can use the activities from the Make It Monday post, but we have a few other favorites too.

Dive into Shapes (affiliate link)

Gears! Building Set (affiliate link)

iTrax Game (affiliate link)

Mental Blox Game (affiliate link)

We hope these ideas help you simplify your Morning Work routine!

If you'd like to give Simple Start a try, CLICK HERE!  It's FREE!