The Morning Cart!

Make morning activities for students easy with the MORNING CART

Make morning activities and routines for students easy in your classroom with the MORNING CART.
How are mornings in your classroom? Do your morning activities and routines for students create a peaceful start to the day, or does it feel like unnecessary chaos? I want to share something that worked wonders in my own classroom that you may enjoy too! It is called the Morning Cart, and I will break down below exactly what it is and how it may be beneficial in creating a relaxed and calm start in your classroom as well! You can find the Morning Cart link in my Amazon store!

How did my morning routine used to look in my classroom?

I noticed that mornings in my room were a tad bit chaotic and, well, loud! Mornings can be a stressful time. Some kids arrive at school after staying up late due to dance class. Some kids come to school hungry and from an unhappy household. Some kids are just not morning people! My husband is most certainly not a morning person, many kids are not either! Mornings are essential to the rest of the day. If the morning is off, the rest of the school day will be as well. I want mornings to be calm and peaceful in my room to ensure that my students can have a great day. I always start the day off with Morning Meeting (you can read more about that here!), but I started wondering what I could do to make the 10-15 minutes before it started even more relaxing for my students.
Make morning activities and routines for students easy in your classroom with the MORNING CART.

Previously, kids would come into the classroom in the morning after I greeted them. It was up to my students to pick up homework for the night, file the previous day's homework in number order, then write in their agenda. There is a whole lot to get done and organized in the morning, and it was up to my third-graders to complete everything while I stood outside the door greeting my incoming students. I noticed that it often would get very loud inside the room. Part of the loud noise level came from a large group of kids congregating near the homework turn-in and pick-up, or while walking around trying to figure out where their Wednesday folders went.

My previous morning to-do list:

1. Unpack & unstack
2. Take out homework folder from backpack. Put homework into folder, take out previous night's homework.
3. Go to homework turn-in box. Highlight name & number. File in number order.
4. Sit down and write in morning agenda.
5. Put away agenda & homework folder
6. Read quietly.

WHEW. That is a lot going on, and a lot of unnecessary movement in the classroom that can easily turn into too much noise and potential rowdiness. Generally, the less necessary movement, the better.

Introducing... the morning cart!

This simple cart transformed my mornings. Every morning, I wheel the cart outside the classroom. It has a spot for everything that a student may need to turn in or pick up.

What's nice about the morning cart is that it keeps the hustle-bustle OUTSIDE the classroom. It cuts down on kids waiting for a while to file their homework, or madly scrambling inside their backpack for a note from mom. After the initial work outside the classroom, they enter a peaceful and serene setting. I set the chill mood with classical music and all the lights off. No harsh, fluorescent lighting is needed in the morning! All my students arrive at different times. The same kids who arrive first thing in the morning continue to arrive first thing in the morning. Buses come at different times. The kids from childcare arrive around the same time each day. Students arrive staggered each morning. Even better, they will arrive staggered inside the classroom as well since they take turns putting their items into the cart. As soon as they come inside, all they need to do is grab an independent reading book and start reading!

This creates a sense of stability and expectation each and every day. My students know that their day will start off by turning things in and picking things up at the cart, then morning meeting. Just like at the end of the day, students know that we will finish the day with Closing Circle (you can read more about that here!)

What supplies will I need to make my morning routine and activities for students easier?

I linked all the supplies that you will need to easily make a morning cart of your own! All of the following links are Amazon Affiliate links, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising feeds.

Cart

You guys. This cart is a game-changer, you need it in your life. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this cart. It is from Amazon, take a peek at it here! It is called the Indoor or Outdoor Folding, Metal, Rolling Serving Cart. It's a steal at $54 (although some of the colors are different prices). This thing is super durable and lightweight. There are cheaper ones on the market, HOWEVER, most of those you need to assemble. This baby pops out of the box all folded up... just open up, quickly screw the wheels on with your hands, and you are ready for action! 

This cart comes in a variety of colors, and this thing is heavy duty and rolls like a dream. I highly recommend. Here are some of the colors they come in - use what fits your classroom scheme best! 
Apple green cart
Brown cart
Gray cart
Ruby red cart
Silver cart
Teal cart (this is the one that I picked!)
White cart

Bins

I picked the bins up on my cart at the Dollar Tree. However, sometimes the Dollar Tree can be pretty picked over. I found some similar bins on Amazon that may work for you. They come in candy-like colors, you can look at them here and here. Both of these would look gorgeous on one of the carts!
Make morning activities and routines for students easy in your classroom with the MORNING CART.

File box

This is where I file all the papers and handouts that I am returning to students. Every Wednesday my school sends home Wednesday folders, so they are distributed from this spot as well as picked up from this spot. When the kids return on Thursday mornings, one of their responsibilities is filing their Wednesday folder directly back into the box. 

I got my file box at Target. If you're short on time, here is a link on Amazon for a similar one if you do not have a Target near you.

Morning cart signs

Guess what? I put up the signs below on my TPT site for FREE! You can download these babies, print, laminate, cut, and be ready to go! Click here to check them out.
Make morning activities and routines for students easy in your classroom with the MORNING CART.

Won't this create a traffic jam outside the classroom?

Are you worried about creating a traffic jam outside the classroom? Like everything, practicing routines are essential in the classroom. The first week of introducing the cart, PRACTICE and MODEL what this looks like. Have the kids put on their backpacks and pretend that they are walking in from the buses. What does it look like? How should it sound? How can we make sure that we do not block other kids in the hallway? When kids practice and understand expectations, they can make sure to fulfill those expectations.

Activities I include on my morning cart

There are a handful of things that I need students to turn in, pick up, or do every morning. I create a spot for these on the cart. 

Inbox

This is where students drop off notes from parents, lunch money, office forms, permission slips, etc. Anything important is put in here that I need to do something with!

Pick-Up

I put the homework for the night here.

Homework 

Kids place their homework from the previous night here. I used to have them file it in number order to make sure that everyone brought it in. BUT because I stand near the door to greet each child, I know exactly who doesn't have it, no time spent filing necessary!

Copies

I put the copies for my copy parent here. This cuts down on parents coming in and class time taken up. The parents know right where it is, can grab it, make copies, and leave it there!

Wednesday folders

Our school sends home important papers and grading in the Wednesday folders. I have a classroom parent file these. The parent knows right where it is, so it's quite efficient! No coming into the classroom and searching for the file box.

PSSST- also.... are you a VIP member? If you aren't, you want to be. You get unlimited access to my Freebie Resource Library, you can sign up here!

Morning Routine conclusion

I started the morning cart this year. I already have seen a world of difference since last year! Kids come into the classroom relaxed, hang up their book-bag, write in their agenda, and then relax/read/eat breakfast. Life is stressful enough, mornings in the classroom should not have to be!

How do you keep your mornings relaxed? What does your morning routine look like? Leave me a comment below!


6 comments

  1. We have our kids read silently in the morning. It is such a nice and calm way to start!

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  3. Does this create congestion in the hallway? I love this idea I just want to make sure I implement it correctly so that we don't cause a traffic jam in the mornings when coming in the classroom.

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    1. Same!!! Would love to hear someone else's thoughts on this

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  4. This is a FANTASTIC idea! I love this and can't wait to use it in my classroom when I return to teaching next year.

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  5. Are the students taking everything out of the backpack while in the hallway?

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