Well, I don't know about "quiet" so much as focused, but I find that it works pretty well to have a math warm-up ready for the kids each day. When they come in, I already have them passed out on their desks, and they know they're kind of "on the clock" before we check together. It at least gives them a purpose to be efficient in getting their things put away and their bodies seat bound!
I have some sort of bellwork on the board when they come in first thing in the morning. Always a daily sentence grammar fix-it and then usually a spelling activity.
It's not always silent, but it's generally pretty quiet. I also turn some of the morning things into a competition or reward them for being quiet. For example, I'll have them write a story using their spelling words and whoever uses the most spelling words while still making sense gets a ticket or some sort of reward. I'll also have them come in quietly and complete their daily fix-it, and when they're finished if they bring me their completed bellwork, I'll give them play-doh or some other manipulative to practice their spelling words.
The morning routine has always been an inner struggle for me. It seems that no matter what I put on the board or on the desks, they cannot be QUIET. It drives me nuts. Recently, I have put my foot down on this. I held a class meeting and put the issue on the agenda. The morning is a time for getting unpacked, going to bathroom, sharpen a pencil, get a drink and do the AM work. I also need it quiet in order to hear announcements and do lunch count and attendance.
This is what I have started doing: I post a message on the board. It goes like this:
Hello Everyone and Good morning to you. Remember to be silent please. Do the sheet at your desk, do the problem of the day on the SmartBoard and then read silently at your desk. Thank you.
I have a behavior management system where they change the color of a card for misbehavior. One week of changing cards like crazy and they are now pretty quiet in the AM. It seems negative but the kids even told me that they like it better when its quiet in the morning. they can focus on the unpacking and organizing better.
Get feedback from the kids...sometimes they have good insight!
I am having the same problem with my homeroom class (4th grade). I have a "Get in Gear" poster on the wall that lists all of their morning reponsibilities that must be taken care of before they begin working (check STAR book for notes, homework, make lunch choice, sharpen 2 pencils). I spent time at the beginning of the year going over this routine, but still, I have students that do some or not any of it. Also, the noise, converstaion is driving me crazy. I understand the need to talk/socialize when they first enter, but I have been very unsatisfied with how long it takes them to get settled. How many posters feel that students need a few minutes to meet and greet or should they be expected to come in quietly and not converse at all? I have really had problems with how to approach this problem. I did make a copy of the "Get in Gear" poster as individual check sheets for certain students I felt would benefit form this. But I am finding that they check it off without even doing it. I thought of giving them a time limit before silence is expected. If students arrive at 7:55, should they be aloud to converse until 8:00 or 8:05 before they are expected to be quiet? I just don't know. I do have a behavior book taht I record infractions in. If they get a mark in the book, then they do not receive a sticker at the end of class. I do not have any whole class reward system though and wonder if thath would help. Sometimes I just get sick of having to bribe students into following classroom rules and routines. This particular class is driving me up the wall with the noise. They are unable to remain quiet for very long and when talking in group activities, they have difficulty using quiet voices with one another.
Sorry that I do not have any advice. I do not mean to take away from your vent by adding my own and asking for help, but I too am in the same boat. Posters, help us please!
I am also one of those who needs it relatively quiet in the morning to get myself organized! It is a bit chaotic with notes from parents, lunch money, homework, etc. I have done what the other posters have mentioned... note on board, work on desks, "strikes," etc. For me, I do a bit of it all... I have the assignment board filled out. The students know they must fill in their books right away. After that, they are to turn in library books, lunch money, and homework. They are then to do morning work which is on their desk. I also have classical music playing when they come in. "Music For the Mozart Effect" is good. The kids actually ask where it is if I forget to turn it on! Finally, to students who have gotten unpacked quickly and quietly and are doing all of the above, I pass out raffle tickets or tokens. When the noisy ones see me passing these out (I limit the number of tickets each morning to 5 or so), they get quiet really fast! Hope this helps someone!
I make a Morning Work packet for each week. The students have certain work to do for each day of the week. It includes things like geography, handwriting, math, science, and language. They come in and take it out, and it is the same format every week, so once they have been taught how to work through the packet, they come in and get right to work.
I understand how you and some others are feeling, but the key is to have a consistent morning routine that requires the students to work, work, work!! I don't understand the need to socialize first thing in the morning. Unless of course that's due to the school's routine. Our students line up on the playground first, then we greet them and walk them to class. They've had more than their share of socializing by the time the bell rings for class. When my students enter, they always have an assignment that is self-explanatory and will take at least 15 minutes. We also have a program for bell-work called The Daily Bite. It requires the teacher to put a transparency on the overhead projector and then the kids copy the work into a journal or notebook. The activities include proofreading, analogies, math problem solver/reasoning, geography and even a science question.
My students are on auto-pilot in the mornings and I've got total peace. All of this begins in September though when you've got to hammer in the routines, expectations, rewards, and consequences. I hope everyone who is having a rough time in the mornings can at least start off by assigning something more challenging so that the kids have to spend more time thinking and less time talking.
My students know that if they don't finish their morning work, they stay in for recess and do it. I also set a timer and let them know how long they have to finish the work. Before they begin morning work, they have about five minutes for the facilitator's of each group to check the homework. They can talk during this time.
The problem is having them be quiet at dismissal time.....
Just like the others I have morning work, and if they don't finish and just talk they stay in for recess to finish. I also walk around and and give stickers or candy to the students that are on task, and compliment them for getting to work and being quiet. Accentuate the positive they say.
i use something called a 'yacker tracker' and it's a stop light with red, yellow and green (duh!) and it is an actual light that has a sensor and the red goes off when it's too loud. i bought this with a gift certificate, b/c it's kind of spendy, but the kids do love it and it takes away me reminding them how loud they are...they can SEE how loud they are. i don't use it all the time though.
if we are doing an assignment where they can talk, i tell them that if i can tell it's that individual, then it's too loud.