In preparation, I wrote our first morning message.
On the first day of school, our day will start with the students reading the MORNING MESSAGE. This will become a daily ritual.
I start the year with a simple message:
It's a choral reading. I use a pointer and point to the words. I will have students who can read the entire message independently, some who may recognize a few words, and others who are just beginning to sound out the beginning sounds of some words.
I always have students who are surprised to hear me ask them to read it. I've even had some respond by saying, "But I can't read!" But, they "read" along as we read together.
It doesn't take long before most students are reading the morning messages with confidence. Some students even eagerly sit down as the morning begins to see how much they can read on their own. I'm always amazed by their growth and enthusiasm.
Most of the time the morning message is on the board before the students enter the room. Sometimes I write it as the students watch me. I give them opportunities to see "how" I write. I think out loud as I write and talk about content, language conventions, spacing, the structure of sentences, and vocabulary.
As the year progresses, I include specific spelling patterns, vocabulary, and sight words that the children are learning. The students participate in identifying specific sound spellings, sight words, vocabulary words, and conventions. I use the morning message for a variety of writing mini-lessons.
The students use wikki stix, highlighting tape, markers, highlighters, and other tools. These help to engage the students.
Wikki Stix can be used to circle and underline. They will stick to a surface but will pull off easily. They can be used over and over again. These are from Lakeshore®.
Highlighting tape can be used to cover a specific letter, word, or mark. The students can see thru the tape, so it can be left on and used for extra practice. The tape can be reused. These are from Lakeshore®.
I have the students use these when working with text in big books and independent reading books.
Two resources I use for morning message "ideas" are:
Quip Tips! Morning Message
Getting the Most Out of Morning Message and Other Shared Writing
The morning messages are left on the wall to be read over and over again during the week. Each Monday, we gather all the morning messages from the prior week and raffle them off. I hear from parents that the children take them home and put them on their bedroom walls and "play school" with them. I LOVE that . . . especially knowing that they're READING them.
Will you be starting the first day of school with a morning message? I'd love to hear your ideas!