How many adults wake up and start their day with a worksheet?
None that I know of.
Whether it is called “bell work” “morning work” or a “a daily warm up” lots of students begin their day by completing a worksheet, answering questions or a doing a pre-planned activity – all of which have been decided for them by the teacher.
Just check out Google or Pinterest to see all the different varieties:
But how do people start their day in their ‘real world’?
I start my day by scrolling through my Twitter.
My husband starts his day by meditating.
My mother starts her day by doing a crossword puzzle.
My father starts his day by playing chess.
My best friend starts her day by working out.
My mother-in-law starts her day by reading.
My father-in-law starts his day checking sports scores.
All different. All valuable. All self-chosen.
Why can’t students start their school days like this? Why can’t students choose how they start their own school days? Perhaps if we allowed students to choose how to begin their school day we would not have to stand in the halls and count down from 10 and compel our students to enter the classroom. Perhaps they would want to enter because they are excited and happy to be at school and start their day. I know teachers have many administrative responsibilities at the beginning of the day like attendance and collecting field trip forms, so a 10 – 15 minute window of time is needed to ensure these responsibilities are met. But why are we dictating how students spend those first 10-15 minutes warming up to their day?
Next year I plan to have a discussion with my students about how humans start their days. I plan to share how my friends and family begin their days, and I hope my students will share how their friends and family begin their day. I hope we can use this to create a list of possibilities about how students might start their day and post it somewhere in our room. Then I plan to respect their freedom and choice over how they start their school day while I am competing my administrative responsibilities.
Imagine the learning that might happen….
Imagine the connections that might happen….
Imagine the skills that might be developed….
Imagine no longer needing to find, photocopy and mark “bell work”…