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Classroom Morning Activities for Bilingual Learners

Classroom morning activities are essential parts of any bilingual learner. Even during the first weeks of back to school, these activities help bilingual students resonate with the class environment.

From the moment you meet your students at the door, you set those expectations of a positive learning setting. So, as part of your back to school lesson planning, take the time to create ways to engage ELL learners and the whole class.

While you might not know your students yet, the first week of school is the perfect time to get to know them. Aside from learning their names and designating a seating arrangement, use classroom morning activities to involve students in daily tasks. 

Classroom Morning Activities for First Days of School

You might be tempted to go over procedures, rules, and syllabus on the first days of school. However, you may want to think it over.

Those early few days of school are precious moments to understand your students and their background. Taking a few activities to engage them in learning and cooperation can benefit you. 

Welcome Back to School Activities

Playing bingo and getting to know your neighbor is fun at first. After that, use the other days during the first week of school to model communication.

  • Designate a time that best fits the class.
  • Then, use a transition tool such as chime or timer to move students from one activity to another.
  • Initially, students put their school supplies away.
  • Afterward, ask them to sit at a designated area for reading time.
  • Repeat this process until everyone understands that you place school supplies away first, then gather for reading time.

A simple process like this can help students understand a transition between one activity to another. As you incorporate more tasks during the day, you explain the transition procedure.

Another back to school activity is to begin writing practice.

  • Students would have to use the letters in their first name and come up with three different words.
  • The best part is they don’t have to write them.
  • They can draw them or use modeling clay to interpret their words.
  • Later, they can share in circle time.

Other classroom morning activities are to use About Me writing prompts, create a year booklet, or take a before and after pictures. Many of these activities are essential ways for bilingual students to feel part of the classroom.

They might use different words or phrases to interpret their first day of school. As you get to know them more, they’ll share more and become integral parts of the classroom. 

classroom morning activities

Using Classroom Routines as Learning Goals

Perhaps, by the first or second week of school, your students developed a recognizable pattern. For example, they come into the classroom, set their supplies, and you start instructing.

Specific classroom routines like using computers, headphones, going to the library, or lunch are essential learning goals. Use that time to help students understand what happens during certain days.

Of course, you might have the schedule of classes like art, music, or P. E. that occur outside of the classroom posted on your classroom wall. But, do you have a routine set up to allow time to transition between one class to another?

Those times are just as important as transitioning from one activity to another in the classroom. Use anchor charts or posters on bulletin boards to remind students when those times occur.

Even more fun, you and the class can come up with a particular song. What could be more engaging than involving all students in creating a song?

Classroom morning activities like writing messages on the whiteboard can also help students with routines.

  • Write the dates, months, and days of the week in Spanish and English.
  • In that way, bilingual students feel welcome, and other students learn new terms too.
  • Also, use the whiteboard as a place to jot down a weekly agenda or schedule.
  • Then, designate another area for the weather and time.
  • Use these events to write them in Spanish and English to deepen the learning for students.

In dual immersion classes, students would benefit from learning these different terms in Spanish and English. 

Learning Tools to Support Classroom Morning Activities

Aside from the usual weekly agenda or posters as reminders, there are other teaching tools to help you with morning activities. For instance, depending on the grade level, using graphic organizers can significantly help students organize their ideas.

Graphic organizers like Venn diagrams, KWL charts, tables, and foldables are many ways for students to manipulate what they learn. If you’re using interactive notebooks in your class, you probably know the value of graphic organizers for bilingual learners and other students.

Graphic organizers help students with more than organization. These learning tools aid in comparing, contrasting, scaffolding, and reading comprehension. As students learn more, they can keep on adding to their interactive notebooks.

Other learning tools are learning packets. These packets can quickly become workbooks or part of interactive notebooks. If you use themes for lesson plans, implementing learning packets motivates students to complete each section every day.

Any of these learning tools are helpful in classroom morning activities. For instance, if you focus on learning a specific vowel sound, number, or sight word, then you might want to use mini-books or printables.

In that way, young learners have a collection of learning printables as a reference. At Spanish4Kiddos, we have plenty of ideas in bilingual stories, Spanish writing practice, and reading to support students in English and Spanish. 

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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