Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

'Start the Day' Strategies

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'Start the Day' Strategies are language filled ways to start the school day, fostering an environment of responsiveness through listening, sharing, discussing and thinking.

It is vitally important that as teachers, we provide children with the opportunities to (A.) talk with their peers and be heard by their peers and to (B.) talk with their teacher and be heard by their teacher. We often plan a lot for talk and discussion, but it's important to remember the skills of listening and the experiences of being 'heard'. In the return to school process this year, prioritising opportunities for the children to talk and be heard are essential. 

Little Miss Teacher Blog - Learning to listen is a still that requires lots  of time and attention - essential for holistic development of phonological  awareness! . . . #earlyliteracy | Facebook

Did you know that a child's right to be heard is actually outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child? Article 12 to be precise! To learn more about this and why it is important to ensure that children are heard, visit Every Child's Right to be Heard (UNICEF).

There are lots of ways to facilitate listening opportunities but choosing 'Start the Day' strategies helps make responsive practices become embedded in the daily routines and communication procedures throughout the school day. Many of the strategies listed below can be used with all ages groups, infants to 6th, and are easily facilitated from their desks, circle time or pair spots around the room. Sometimes children can feel reluctant about offering to speak out but inviting them to talk and be heard through lively and enjoyable talk-based activities can help alleviate this reluctance.

Listening" Emoticon

The idea behind 'Start the Day' strategies is that we begin the day with strategy or activity that involves sharing and listening. it is also reinforcing the idea that our classrooms are spaces of talk and discussion and that the voice of each individual child is valued and important!

Simple 'Start the Day' Strategies:

For the circle time set-up:

  • Hello, good morning and I'd like to say hello to ______________.

  • Good morning everyone, today I am thankful for _____________.

  • Good morning everyone, I am good at _____________.

  • Good morning everyone and good morning ____picks one pupil in particular_____, I like how you _____________.

  • Pass the ball - a listen, repeat & add activity. The children roll the ball to someone in the circle and the receiver repeats what the sender has shared and add their own statement, for example:
    • 'My name is Clara, I like to drink coffee. I pass to Tom.' 
    • 'My name is Tom. Clara likes to drink coffee. I like to drink milkshakes. I pass to Aoife' 
                                                         ...and so on!

  • Today I know I will love (day of the week) because ________________

  • Circle of compliments

Whole class:
  • Set daily goals - invite the class to participate in setting some daily goals for themselves; goals for the group and goals for themselves.

  • Empathy Scenarios - present and empathy scenario to the children and invite them to discussion what the best solution or approach may be

  • Morning wonders - share a morning wonder with the class and follow the discussion from there

Funny animals of 2013 - in pictures | World news | The Guardian
Image source: The Guardian
  • Picture This - Share a picture of the day and invite the children to talk and discuss an interesting image. While the aim is an invitation to talk and listen, this is another fabulous opportunity to work on skills such as observing, inferring and describing.

 Kid President Quotes Nice to Say
Image source: We Are Teachers
  • Thought of the Day - share a meaningful or thought-provoking quote with the children as a discussion guides.  The Kid President quotes are a great starting point and We Are Teachers have a selection of printable posters here.

For pair set ups:
  • Turn & talk - set a timer, invite the pupils to turn & talk to each other. Perhaps your might set a topic or present a guiding question to get them started but sometimes these aren't always necessary

  • Conversation Starters - sometimes a little guiding prompt of question is all we need to get the conversation, thoughts and laughs flowing.

Why not set a weekly or monthly schedule, this way it keeps the conversation points interesting and avoids things becoming too repetitive. It's also a nice way of ensuring that there's a strategy for everyone to enjoy. 

Let's start as we mean to continue - talk, sharing & listening!

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