All About Morning Bins

Hi Friends,
Today in Second Grade, we started off by playing with our morning bins! 

Morning Bins are something new I decided to try this year, and so far I am loving it. So are the kiddies of course! In previous years I started off the day with morning work, but I found that I had to be on top of students to make sure they were working (instead of chatting and fooling around). After much research and discussion with teacher friends, I decided to give morning bins a try. 

Here are some reasons why Morning Bins work for me.

My students get to come in and PLAY each morning. This is something they really look forward to. It ensures that they don't fool around and waste time in the hallway getting ready for class and it also gives them a chance to CHAT with their friends before we begin our day of learning. 

If you think about it, that's what we do as teachers too! I very often begin my day with a quick catch up and chat with my colleagues. We all like to talk about our evenings and share a few laughs before we start our day. It's the same for the children. They NEED to interact with each other before we can expect them to learn. 

What better way to interact and start their day then by working together to create interesting, creative, and unique structures.

 Here are my expectations during Morning Bins.

If students want to play with morning bins they must ensure that they arrive to school on time and get ready quickly in the hallway. I only allot 10 minutes for morning bins so they need to get organized quickly if they want to have enough time to play.

I have a flexible seating classroom and each table has a maximum of 6 seats. If the maximum number of seats have been filled at a table, students must find another morning bin to play with. 

Students MUST PLAY TOGETHER. One purpose of morning bins is to encourage students to interact positively and cooperatively before we begin our day. 

Arguing is not accepted! If students argue they must change seats immediately. This is meant to be a positive experience and students need to respect each other and the materials. I like to use the rock paper scissor trick that my friend Valerie, from All Students Can Shine swears by! It's a great way to resolve conflicts quickly and without any help from the teacher. 

I call these ten minutes PLAY TIME.

I use the word play with my students and the parents because playing is an important component in learning (especially in the primary grades). I teach my students that play time is a fun way to learn. We often talk about our ten minutes of play time. We discuss what they built, how they worked together, and what worked and what they will do differently next time. 

I explain to my students the value of play and why it helps them get ready to learn. 
They appreciate those ten minutes and work so well together!

What happens when the 10 minutes are done?

When the ten minutes are up I ask students to clean up and come sit on the floor for morning meeting (post on morning meeting coming in the near future). We did experience some problems with "breaking their structures" so I have a strict rule that all structures must be taken apart by the students who built them at the end of every session. This ensures that all groups start fresh the next day and no one complains that someone else broke their work.

Here are some things I put in my Morning Bins.

I like to switch up the manipulatives every now and then but we will be going on our fifth week of morning bins and the students are not bored with the manipulatives we've been using so far. 

Check out my friend Valerie's post about Morning Bins. She has a list of great dollar store finds (as well as more tips and tricks) over on her blog All students Can Shine

Hope you try morning bins with your class!
Until next time...

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1 comment

  1. Great idea to give them STEM time in early morning and to wake up a bit. It's also wonderful to give a time limit because there's much demanding of the instructional minutes in ECE classrooms.


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