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Vodka or Cheerios-Why how we start the day matters.

  1. Keep some breakfast bars or other simple snacks on hand. Students that are hungry are not students that can focus. I keep cliff bars or granola bars. Some take advantage of the simple snacks and other "take advantage" a box at Costco for 40 plus bars is like 8 bucks if a student is going to take them even when they don't need them it won't break the bank. By allowing them to do this, however, it will show that to me them feeling ready to learn is more important than controlling if they can have a granola bar or an apple.

  2. Soft Starts, (I have seen this term attributed to Sara K Ahmed she is on Twitter and you should follow her). The soft start is a way to start the class that helps students to get settled and ready to do the work of the class through some low/no risk activity like free reading or writing. This is not a Language Arts specific task. A science teacher having some cool articles out ready for students to look at and discuss, some current events out in Social Studies or perhaps a math brain teaser to figure out in the early minutes all work to get students "stretched" and ready for the day.

  3. Utilize a visual schedule It was funny how much my students depended on a visual schedule still in 8th grade. I did not start the year with one, students came in and I told them the plan and we got to work. The days a visual plan was utilized we worked better, the students seemed more prepared, there was less confusion about tasks that would be accomplished. The visual plan served as an anchor for my students just as my work out plan anchors me once I am there. Starting off the day with Vodka or Cheerios as an analogy made me chuckle but the thoughts that came in as I worked through a leg and back day made me reflect on where I can grow to start my day with my students. Are we giving them what they need to be successful or supplying them with bigger distractors, stressors and anxiety generators? Something I plan to reflect on more for sure.

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