Fun Ways to Start the Day in the Elementary Classroom

Morning arrival can be a hectic time in the classroom. Some schools serve breakfast, others have students trickling in over a period of time, and on many occasions, there are forms, book orders, or money to collect. In my 18 years of teaching, I've tried many different morning routines, and have read about many others. This is my round-up of some great ways to start your school day!

Photo of morning activities with text, "Fun Ways to Start the Day in the Elementary Classroom."

SMART Board Attendance
For as long as I've had a SMART Board in my classroom, I have always welcomed my students as they enter with a fun attendance routine. I change it up with the seasons and holidays and use it to recognize special days like birthdays and the 100th day of school.

Photo of SMART Board Attendance files.

You can grab a FREE GoNoodle attendance for your SMART Board by clicking HERE or on the image below!
Free SMART Board Attendance Files
Class Theme Song
In the final year I taught fifth grade, I adopted a class theme song. I wasn't sure that it would work with students of this age, but I desperately wanted it to. This song became such a huge part of our classroom routine and was so beloved by the children that they would even sing it to me in eighth grade as they passed me in the hall!

Morning Message
Writing your students a message that they can read and interact with as they arrive is also a great way to start your day! Here are a few examples:

Morning Work Tubs
My new favorite way to start the day is with morning bins. I begin each school day with mathematics and have tried a variety of things this year to transition into our learning activities smoothly. I have some students who get unpacked very quickly, and I also have students who usually arrive late, so finding just the right thing for them to work on has been a bit of a challenge. I was tired of running off worksheets and ending up recycling a handful each day because some of the students never get to them, so I created fun task cards that my students can use with the math manipulatives we already have in the classroom! They have been a HUGE hit!

Photo of Morning Work tubs.

Not only have these been perfect for the beginning of our school day, but they have also been a great go-to activity for my early finishers!

You can grab this EDITABLE resource by clicking HERE or on the image above. If you are new to Teachers Pay Teachers (my all-time favorite site for teaching resources!), you can set up a free account here!

Free Math Morning Work Offer

Calendar Math

A great way to begin the day in a primary classroom is with a calendar math routine. It is a fun and meaningful way to introduce your students to concepts of time and the perfect way to spiral critical math skills like patterning, place value, and number sense.

GoNoodle Activities

You may not realize it, but GoNoodle isn't all Zumba and Koo Koo Kangaroo! There are some amazing mindfulness activities to get your students focused and thinking positively as they head into the school day. Some of my favorite GoNoodle activities to begin the day include:

Empower Tools

Think About It Activities

Flow Activities

Brainercise Activities

Warm Up Activities

Sometimes a quieter approach is in order. Not all classes can manage the more open-ended, hands-on, movement types of activities unless they are more structured. In cases like this, I love to use warm-up exercises such as printing practice as my students get settled in. It is a nice way to settle the energy as the day begins.

Photo of cursive writing activity.

You can grab a FREE sample of these printing pages by clicking HERE or on the image above.

Quote of the Day

Quotes are a great way to inspire, energize, and kick off your day! Try opening with some thoughtful discussion and see where it takes you. When chosen carefully, quotes can be a great way to lead into your character education or learning activities for the day!

Poem of the Day
Similar to a quote of the day, your students will love entering the classroom to a poem of the day (or the week!) and accompanying activities! There are a TON of websites online where you can access a poem of the day. Some of my favorites include:

You can also find many resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Brain Work: Puzzles

Puzzles, mysteries, jokes, questions, and wonderings are great tools to get your students thinking and writing as they begin their school day! Consider putting a joke, riddle or thought-provoking question on the board,

displaying a prompt from the amazing Wonderopolis site,

or providing your students with a puzzle or task of some sort!

Morning Meeting

Finally, running a morning meeting is a great way to set the tone for your day and teach your students important skills like self-advocacy and self-regulation. I have not done formal morning meetings in my classroom as a routine, but I love this post from my friend Elyse at Proud to Be Primary! Check it out below:

I hope that you leave here with an idea you can use in your own classroom! If you have a great routine or activity that you like to start the day with that isn't on my list, please leave a message below to add it to this collection!

For more great classroom organization ideas and resources, visit this Pinterest board:

Be sure to pin this post for easy access down the road!

Fun Ways to Start the Day in the Elementary Classroom


  1. These are some really good ideas! Now my teacher brain wheels are turning with more ways to start the day with my fourth graders. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm so glad these are helpful, Tanya! Thanks so much for stopping by!


  2. Love the idea of math tasks but my question is how do you know they are getting the right answers or doing it correctly? Do you just assume they are good cause they are review tasks?

    1. Hi Jamie!

      I sometimes have my students document their work using Seesaw, but generally I just jump in and observe and question as soon as I've finished my morning tasks. They ARE good review tasks, and I have established good routines with my students so that I know they are accountable for using them correctly.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  3. I really like the idea of the theme song. Can you tell more about how you used it?

    1. Hi there!

      I used it to welcome my students into the classroom every morning, used it during transitions, and then again to end the day together. We never grew tired of it, and even three years later when these students were in 8th grade, they would sing it to me when we passed in the hallway. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Great ideas! We are so lucky to be able to share resources like this thanks to social networking and technology. My brain is slowly getting into back-to-school mode and this has helped a lot.

    Thanks so much! Angie

    1. Thanks so much for the lovely message, Angie! I agree completely... to think of how my career would have started if I'd had social media to draw from. I'm so thankful for it now. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I have sent an email mulitple times to sign up for your newsletter to recieve the free math morning work activities- and i never receive it? Am I doing something wrong?? I would love these for my kiddos because I know they woul love them too. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi there,

      Could you please email me at I’m not able to help without your email address.



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