“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.” – Lemony Snicket
Mornings can be challenging, but a good student morning routine can play an important role in your class schedule. Dedicating the first 15-20 minutes of class to this student activity can create a positive classroom environment and spark interest in social studies.
Stand in a circle with your students and greet them with a big smile. Have students greet each other by name and take a few minutes to chat with the people next to them. You can suggest questions for them to ask each other, such as:
- What did you do last night?
- Did you read or play anything fun?
- How are you feeling today?
- What was your favorite part about yesterday’s lessons?
This greet-and-chat cultivates an atmosphere of friendship and belonging, and sets the stage for the next part of this morning activity.
Playing 4 Corners is not only a fun assessment, but it also gets students up and moving so they are fully awake! With this game, you can assess student knowledge about anything: historical figures, state’s natural resources, continents, etc.
How to play 4 Corners:
- Mark each corner of the classroom. You can use numbers 1-4, letters A-D, or cardinal directions. (Download a FREE Set of Cards.)
- Pose a question that has four possible answers.
- Assign each corner an answer choice.
- Students answer the question by quietly walking to the corner that shows their choice.
- Have students discuss their answers as a group and come up with a response to support their decision.
- Each group takes turns sharing their response with the class.
This part of the student activity unites the class as each child participates and increases their critical thinking skills. For an in-depth lesson plan featuring this strategy, visit our 4 Corners blog.
Social Studies News and Facts
To engage students in social studies, make it a daily habit to share a news headline or present a fact. Through these stories, children will become more aware of their local and global communities. Here are some resources and ideas for this part of the activity:
- Time for Kids, DOGOnews, TweenTribune, National Geographic Kids
- Use Studies Weekly Online Content Videos related to your week:
- Follow Studies Weekly on Pinterest to get inspiration for daily news and facts. Save pins for the future and use them when a related topic comes up.
New Topic Transition
Smoothly transitioning from your morning routine to the day’s lesson helps students follow along and feel secure. To do this, introduce the new study topic by displaying an outline of the day’s lesson where everyone can see it. You can add a little creative flair by making it look like a road map.
Key elements to include:
- Name of the new topic
- Key vocabulary, historic sites, figures, etc.
- Timetable of activities
If you’ve already established a variety of favorite class games and activities, this is an excellent time to ask students to pick a game they want to play today.
To finish up, prompt students to comment and ask questions about the new unit. Ask if they know anything about the topic, vocabulary, or historical figure and can share it with the class. Once you feel like you have fully explained the new study topic, jump into your planned lesson.
(Read Tips for Creating an Inclusive Classroom Environment to learn how transitions and displaying class schedules benefit students with autism and dyslexia.)
To spark your student’s excitement about Social Studies, get the full Studies Weekly Online experience for 60 days — free of charge.