5 Parts to an Awesome Morning Message
Each day, as part of the morning routine, students look forward to reading the morning message.
When I began in Kindergarten, I was perplexed by how to write a morning message. How do I write an effective message, connect it to my day and make sure that it is short enough to have impact?
Let's walk through 5 components to write an impactful morning message.
By the time you are done reading this post, you will be able to:
Write content driven morning messages for Monday to Friday
Here are the components of an effective morning message:
1. Begin with the Month date and year
2. Address your class with a greeting
3. Go through today is, yesterday was and tomorrow will be
3. Choral reading component using the grapheme and phoneme for the day
4. Name something exciting for the day
5. Close your Message
Something to remember is: You do not need a book to help you construct a morning message!
An easy way to think about a morning message is: It is an extension of your phonics block. It can be that simple!
Using the morning message above, here are a few elements I want you to notice:
1. Start with the date: Students should have an extra at bat practicing their months, reading the numeral for the date and seeing how the year is modeled.
Students also learn how to write a persuasive letter in our Kindergarten curriculum and by the time letter writing happens, students know how to write the date on a letter.
2. Address the students using a quality or character trait. I try to tie a small element of SEL by using a positive character trait into my greeting, for this example I use the word amazing. The grapheme/phoneme for the day is Aa /a/, so I chose an adjective with that beginning sound.
3. Practice an enduring skill a month at a time. For the first month of school, we practice Today is, yesterday was and tomorrow will be. Students can turn and whisper what tomorrow will be, students can put a thumb over their heart if they know the answer, or give some sort of silent signal showing they have a possible answer.
4.Throughout the morning message try to sprinkle in the grapheme/phoneme of the day. This message has the grapheme Aa and the phoneme /a/.
5.There is always a component of reading. As students learn their graphemes and phonemes, we tend to decode a series of words, a sentence, and as students learn more read words, it is always a goal to make the morning message as decodable as possible.
After we are done reading the morning message, I ask: Who thinks they may know the letter of the day? If you think you know the sound, can you body decode it? This is a great way to see what students are thinking, without having 20 students shouting out an answer. It is also a great time to do a little formative assessing.
Students have an opportunity to come up and circle the grapheme of the day and if they can, they read us the word they found the letter in.
We sound out words that are decodable using sounds we know: at, cat, ant, mad, act, and Sam. We acknowledge words that do not follow the sound patterns we know: r controlled vowels, and vowel teams. We use these words as teaching moments to explore how /a/ can change depending on what consonants or vowels are next to it.
We do not talk at length about these 'weird' words (one kid in my class said 'Ms.Stuart that's a little weird') but I do make them aware that sounds can change when vowels are paired with another vowel or paired with another consonant.
Lastly before we transition to independent practice, we practice 'writing' the grapheme of the day.
I model letter formation right on the chart paper. I use chants and students echo my steps. As students learn how to form their letters, we chant ALOT. The idead is that they associate the steps in the chant with forming their letters.
Students use their whiteboards, the carpet, the palm of their hand and the air to practice writing the grapheme.
For example A:
Start at the top, slant left, slant right, go to the dotted line, pull left to right
For example a:
Start at the dotted line, little curve, back to the dotted line, little stick, a /a/
I tend to associate the lowercase letter with the sound.
If you need somewhere to start with letter chants, here is a set:
This routine takes about 15 minutes. You can extend this activity by using student name cards to see who has the grapheme and phoneme of the day in their name. This definitely helps build community and builds student pride that they are a part of the day's lesson.
Using the grapheme/phoneme you can excuse students by:
Students with the phoneme/grapheme in their first name
Students with the phoneme/grapheme in their last name
Students who do not have this phoneme/grapheme in their name
Constructing a morning message should be painless, but it should be intentional!
Using you phonics scope and sequence can help guide what skills students can practice in the message. As the year progresses, the complexity of the text should increase (the rigor should increase based on data).
Post morning message, students should have a 10 minute moment to independently practice writing in a journal or a worksheet the grapheme of the day.
If you STILL have questions about morning messages, please leave me a comment, find me at Read Write Grow on Facebook or send me a private chat.