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My Morning Routine

My morning routine with my first graders has definitely evolved over the years.  I have always used some type of morning work, but it wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I became really intentional about my morning work.  I wanted to create something that allowed my students to hit all of their important reading and math skills.  A couple years ago, I created my Differentiated Morning Work for my students.  I love that it reviews so many 1st grade standards, and it truly helps to ensure that I am teaching all of the concepts.Slide3

This year I also decided to implement morning tubs into our morning routine.  I wanted to give early finishers a chance to explore classroom manipulatives and add some STEM activities into our day.

When students come into the classroom, they hang up their backpacks, turn in their LION books and begin working on the morning work paper on their desks.

Morning Work

At the beginning of the year, the students need a lot of guidance with their morning work.  However, I am always amazed at how quickly they can become independent with these.  When the students are finished with their morning work page, they turn it over on their desks because we go over these together later on in the morning.

Then, the students can go and get their morning tub.


I have assigned groups of 3 to 4 students per tub.  Some mornings all 4 students make it to the tubs, other mornings breakfast or morning work may take longer and only 1 or 2 students end up using a tub.  I leave a group at a tub for 3 days, then I rotate.  So, I will only have to change tub activities every 18 days.

Slide10I want the students to be able to use plenty of hands-on activities in these tubs.  For this first round, I have placed the following items and activities in my tubs.

1. Legos – The students have to make their names using Legos.


2. Play-doh – The students have to make 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional shapes using Play-Doh.

3.  Shape Templates – Students draw a picture using the geometric shape templates from our Everyday Math series.


4. Jenga Blocks – The students have to build a shelter using Jenga blocks.



5. Color Squares – Students use colored squares to build a tower.  The goal is to build the tallest tower possible.

Slide96.  Dice – Students roll two dice and write a number sentence on the dry erase board.

Slide8I am excited to continue adding new things to the tubs this year.  I can change these up and use a variety of STEM activities as well as reading skills.  I think these will be a great addition to our classroom.

Slide4After reading The Brown Bag Teacher’s take on Morning Tubs, I knew I wanted to give it a try this year.  I love that I am still able to incorporate the morning tubs with the traditional morning work.

Do you use traditional morning work, morning tubs, or a combination of both?


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  1. I’m so glad to read this post on morning tubs. I also read Catherine’s post about tubs and wanted to try it out, too. After reading both articles, I have lots of good ideas as to how I want to go about it this year. Thank you for sharing your take on it.

    1. I love this idea of using morning tubs! How helpful to know that the tubs are used for three days, so it reduces the amount of teacher prep time. What great ideas you shared for the tubs! I used to do morning work (review of skills) and have changed my routine due to our new daily schedule we must follow. Thanks for reminding me of how important morning work is for my first graders!

        1. Our morning work time is from 8:00 – 8:30. Our tardy bell rings at 8:15, so some students come in right at 8:00, while others do not get there until 8:15.

  2. Love this idea and would love to incorporate it into my first grade class this year…is there any possibility that you will be adding on to this blog on other materials you will be adding to the tubs to change it up?

    Thank you

  3. I love this idea!! Thank you for sharing. I am wondering how students know the directions for each tub?

    1. I went over the directions prior to introducing them on the first day. Eventually, I may type up directions to place in the tub, but I wanted to keep it simple for my beginning 1st graders.

  4. I am interested in your first grade morning work? Where did you find the morning work that you give your first graders? Thanks

  5. My schedule is super tight in the mornings but we have stream time at the end of the day., and I was thinking of doing this for Free Choice Friday’s. I have 25 kiddos and spreading them out and/or doing 6-7 tubs seems challenging…any thoughts?

    1. I have 22 students that I spread between 6 tubs, so each tub has 3-4 students. This is a good number for me, but you might be able to manage 4-5 students at a tub. 5 might start to get a little crowded. Most of mine like to spread out on the floor of my classroom, but a couple groups head towards tables. I let them choose where they take their tub as long as they are not too close to another group.

  6. I love this idea! I don’t know if I missed it but I was wondering how you manage the groups. How do the students know which tub to get each day?

    1. I place my students into 6 groups of 3-4 students. After they complete their morning work, they can go and grab their tub. They find a place in the room to work. The students rotate tubs every 3 days, so this allows me to only have to switch out tubs every 18 school days. I discussed it in my first Morning Tub post, so if you would like to go back and read that, it might be a better explanation.

  7. Hi- Would you be willing to share the numbers? Also where did you get the foam die from? I could not find a link. Thanks so much!

  8. I do morning bins too. I have 6 choices, computers being one of them. I switch them out on Friday. We have only 15 minutes for them, so I do not do other morning work.
    I like them, because kids can join in any time, even if their bus is late (unlike paper activities that are uncomplete), it allows me to do attendence and lunch count – and it gives me about 10 minutes to do intervention with kids who need it.

  9. I love this idea! Do you have a link to your morning tubs ideas/activities you use all year? I saw you posted your first tub rotations but didn’t see what you do the rest of the year. Thanks!

    1. I have done 5 other posts about my morning tubs. If you type morning tubs into my “search,” all of the posts should come up 🙂 Let me know if you can’t find them.

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