Entering the Room Successfully

One thing that I have always instituted in my classroom is a consistent routine when it comes to entering the room.  No matter the time of day, my students know that when they come into the room there is ALWAYS something to be done.  Never do the students come in and sit around, talk to their friends, or wander.  So I wanted to share with you what exactly my kids do when they come in to maybe give you some idea of what you can do (in case you need ideas :) )

In the morning:

There is actually quite a lot going on during this time.  Students are moving into small remediation groups with my aide or myself, they are getting homework checked, they unpack their things, they are recording their daily attendance money from our classroom economy into their registers, and they are working on their morning work.  But through all of this, there is not a word to be heard.  Everyone knows where to go and what to do, so they are productively working within 5 minutes of entering the room.  I really am not exaggerating this.  5 minutes and everyone is on task with their work.

Example of our morning work
A majority of the students are working on what my team has called LOL -- Language Out Loud.  This is something that my partner teacher Kristi came up with and we as a team have refined to fit our needs.  Basically it is a "Calendar Math" type review but with language arts.  I will share it with you in more detail soon, but for now, here is a picture :)

The Table Captains are checking in homework (you can read about it here), my bankers are passing out dollars for those who came to school on time, and my aide and I are pulling small remediation groups.

After recess:

This is when Calendar Math happens.  Kids come in, begin working on Calendar, I can pull a small group or prepare my lesson, and everything is silent.  Since there is less movement than in the morning, the work/silent time begins almost immediately.

The Calendar Packet is out on the desk, ready to go
After Lunch:

Silent reading, plain and simple.

What I think makes this even more successful is that every time we leave the room, the students take out what it is that they will be working on when we get back.  They put it neatly on their desk and know exactly what to do when we enter again because it is there.  No time is wasted looking for the work.

All of this took a lot of training, but it is well worth it in the end.  No time is wasted in class because people aren't sure what to do.  We have the same routine daily, helping us to maximize the school time.

What is your routine like?  Any tips you can share with us?


  1. I would love to hear how you got to this point. What did you do when they did start talking instead of working?

    1. This takes A LOT of modeling and practicing. I spend about a month of school just showing them how to come in, praising those who do a good job, at times going back out of the room to start again, and just keeping the standard that they *will not* talk and immediately get back to work. I also remind them what they are to do while they are lined up outside the room before we go in. Taking these few minutes to do that really helps. Also, I am naturally a quiet person, so they see that I am quiet, and they are. I never give up on it either, so since I am such a stickler on it, the students conform really quickly. I do have to remind a few students to be quiet at times (you know those students who would talk no matter what) but for the most part, the students just go along with the expectation.

  2. I can't wait to read more about your LOL work.

  3. Mornings -
    I greet students at the door. (Required to stand there from 7:35 - 7:45 even if every kid is in the room)

    Students put up get out homework and put up backpacks.

    They finish working on 1/2 sheets that they receive when they go to the gym before school.

    I have the lunch count next to the door, when most of the kids are there I announce what the hot lunch is and ask the kids getting salad to stand up. I write their names on the back of the lunch count (except on Wednesday because the yogurt plate is usually more popular than the hot lunch.

    Once the bell rings my caboose turns on the projector. They sit with hands folded during announcements. At the end the tub people put way the tubs we store backpacks in, lights turns out the lights and captains turn on lanterns. (Task lighting for tables)

    After announcements they switch to red pencils and we check the 1/2 sheets and the homework. While those are being passed in. Lights are turned on, lanterns off. We start the chant for calendar math and do that. Then straight into math.

    End of math stations - Station managers put up math stations and get out reading stations. Students go to their home desks, get out their reading journals, library books and heads down. Then they come to the carpet for reading whole group.

    End of reading stations - station managers put up reading stations. Students put up their reading journals and library books - head down. I announce what we will need after lunch - they get that ready (differs according to day)

    Line leader lines students up. Caboose makes sure projector, document camera nad lights are turned off. We leave for recess and lunch.

    Back from lunch - We walk in and start lesson that is out on their desk. 15 min later we line up for specials. With writing folders on desk waiting.

    Back from specials we go straight to carpet for whole group writing lesson. Then they go back to their desk to write while I meet with small groups or individuals.

    End of day Tub crew gets out the tubs. Kids are sent 3 at a time to get their backpacks. Once everyone is packed those not on clean up crew come to the carpet and we use various songs/chants to review concepts. Clean up crew puts up the tubs, stacks the chairs, sweeps the floor, and sharpens pencils for the next day.

  4. I love that you get them to set up for their next activity before they leave. What a simple way to make those transitions back into the classroom smoother!

  5. In the morning - Students come in, unpack backpacks, homework on desks, and then take their whiteboards to the ground to have Morning Math Meeting. It's automatic, and I love how it gets them away from their desks so I can check in homework quickly. They have basically 5 minutes to get it all done before I'm over there and we can go over it together. Then we go back to our desks to correct homework together.

    After recess we come back in and transition automatically to math centers.

    After lunch we come in, grab our chapter book read aloud and read a chapter together on the carpet before silent reading.

    I love my schedule. :)

  6. If only I could be a fly on the wall during the beginning of the year! This sounds like it works amazingly well, I'd love to see how you got them there in action!

  7. I am so with you on this. I have always been a stickler for getting right to work. We use your Calendar Math first thing in the morning and we also work on a Word Analysis sheet (a combo of several different resources I've purchased). I've also been trying the same with taking the materials out for the next lesson--it has been a huge help. I'm looking forward to learning more about LOL! Thanks, as always, dear Steph!

  8. I am very interested in the LOL activity in the morning. I use your Calendar Math & L.O.V.E. it! I have never had a class be able to explain factors, arrays, prime & composite numbers by October. My class has been explaining to their friends in other classes! They are proud of themselves! When will you be explaining Language Out Loud? Seriously can't wait!

  9. I wanted to ask the same! I AM VERY INTERESTED in LOL. I've tried a billion different grammar activities and can't seem to 'lock in" on any one concept that I like to consistently use for student practice. We also use Calendar Math and I love the simplicity of LOL. Could you just give me an idea of the concept? I assume you post a picture for students to refer to for the Circle Map. Do you come up with your own sentences for students to label the parts of speech? Do they correlate with the picture? I am interested!!!!! I would love to implement this into my morning routine!

  10. Do your students have Language Out Loud and Morning Message each day?

    1. No. I have been doing Language Out Loud instead of Morning Message this past year. But in the years past, I would have the do MM in the morning time.


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