Why you need to be using morning tubs in kindergarten

Mornings in my classroom were not pretty.  Actually, I would go as far as to call them pure chaos.  My kids trickled into my room for about 20 minutes, and throughout that 20 minutes, everyone needed something.  And all of those somethings seemed to involve me.
Now, I'm a pretty good multi-tasker, but I can only do so much.  And every morning, there were kids who needed help opening their breakfast, kids with notes for me, kids coming through the door in tears who needed my help, all while I was trying to greet everyone at the door and say good morning.
Never mind the things I actually needed to do.  Like take attendance.  

My First Solution

So, I decided I needed to keep my students busy in the morning so I could take care of all the things.  I started giving them morning work.  They would come in, unpack, start their morning work, and then I could get around to all of the "somethings." 
Now, here was the issue.  Instead of solving my problem, I actually made my problem bigger.  A lot of my kids needed help.  And I wound up spending my time helping them complete their morning work instead of doing all the things.  That's definitely not what I had in mind when I decided to try morning work.
So, I went back to the drawing board and thought back to the beginning of the year and why it ran so smoothly.  And I realized that at the very beginning of kindergarten, I had my kids doing things in the morning that kept them engaged and didn't need me to facilitate their learning.  
So, why did I stray from that? Because I felt like I had to get more academic as quickly as possible. And you know what? That's not what's best for kids.

What Really Works

So last year I took a leap of faith and I started playing around with open ended morning tubs.  Activities that were engaging and that my students could explore independently.  I wasn't looking for a product, an academic link, or to enrich.  I was looking to let my kids be kids.  And the results were extraordinary.
My kids were problem solving, working cooperatively, and being creative.  My students who had social deficits were interacting with others and using language to work together.  My students who got frustrated easily were persevering and encouraging one another.  
Mornings quickly became a favorite part of our little classroom family, and they made me so, so proud.  And before I knew it, not only could I get to all of the "somethings," but I could spend some time enjoying the calm with my kids. 
If you're on the fence about trying morning tubs, here are my main points.  1. They are great for kids of all academic levels.  Students don't get frustrated because they don't know how to complete the work.  2. They're open ended so students have a different experience each time they work.  I'm not telling them what to build or what to do.  Students have complete choice.  and 3. They encourage communication and problem solving skills and strengthen social skills which our kids need more now than ever.
So, want to control the chaos of your mornings and give morning tubs a try? Here's a free and fun one that my kids love to do! Click here to download it and give it a try!
And if you're ready to jump right in, I've done all the work for you! Click here to grab them!

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