Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday . . . They say the days go slow but the weeks and years go fast, and that really resonates with me as I write this. It is Monday morning, and I am up early before going to work in a kindergarten classroom. To say I am feeling the “Monday” of this morning is an understatement.
The weekend flew by, and here I am, another Monday, back at it. Thank goodness I love my job, because it makes the routine of “another Monday” more manageable. And, in my morning routine getting ready for school, I remind myself that everyone’s “Monday mood” could be different.
If the weekend brought a lack of sleep, students may be tired. If they had friends over, participated in a sport or musical activity, or went somewhere fun, they may be excited to share. If they find learning to be challenging or just don’t care for the structure of a school day, they may be a bit grumpy. And some look forward to Monday morning because school is where they have consistency and a good meal, and they consider it their safe space. There is a mix of feelings coming into the week, and regardless of where our students fall in this mix, it’s our job to meet them where they are and engage them in learning.
What can we as teachers do to make Monday more than just “another day” for our students? The ideas I am about to share may be nothing new. However, if you think of their purpose as engaging students in the school week and getting them excited and ready to learn, you may find they are just what you need to do the job.
- Greet students at the door in the morning. Nothing says you are happy to see them like a big smile and greeting as they walk in. Give them options for how they want to say hello. Is it a wave, a high five, a fist bump, a handshake, a pinky shake, a dance, or a hug? Honor each student’s preference for how they wish to be greeted in the morning.
- Have a morning message on the board for them to read when they come in, or create one during a shared writing activity. Be transparent with how you feel and they will see that all the feels they are feeling are not only okay but normal.
- We know brain breaks are essential to keep students engaged in learning. And, I will venture to say they are even more important on Monday mornings. Brain breaks help students process learning, reset, and reengage. And who wouldn’t benefit from a little more of that on a Monday?
- Try the Superman pose at the beginning of the day. Not sure what that is or why it would be used? Check out this article.
- Let Monday be a fresh start. Was the week before rough for a few children? Give them an extra-big smile with the reinforcing statement “We’re going to have a great week,” and truly believe it. It is amazing how fast positivity can travel.
- Finally, one of my favorite ideas is to have something special and different on Mondays that students look forward to. Whether it be a mystery reader, a short session with book buddies from another class, a fun math game, or a riddle to answer, students enjoy something creative and different to spice up the day. And, when that something different happens on a Monday, it can even make them look forward to it. :)
Now that we have ideas to help our students engage in Mondays as not “just another day,” what can we do for ourselves? That could really be a whole tip in itself, but I will say it definitely doesn’t hurt to
- remind yourself that you and your Monday mood will help set the stage for your students, and,
- if you are anything like me, start your day with a little extra caffeine.
Best Price Ever for this Live, Online PD!
Learn the evidence-based practices that will help your students become self-regulated learners and bring joy to your classroom.