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Teacher Resources - Morning Message

Morning Message

On this page, you will find several ideas and suggestions for using a morning message in your classroom. Use the menu below or scroll down to find the information you are looking for.

Getting Started

Introduction

Many primary grade teachers use a "morning message" in their classrooms. The morning message goes by many different names such as "daily news", "morning writing", etc. but the main objective of the message is essentially the same - to provide children with a daily, predictable, shared writing experience. It is a writing activity that is done on a daily basis and provides students with guided writing instruction in a shared experience.

What does a morning message look like?

A morning message can be used to teach a variety of different skills and can come in many different formats. It can be written as a friendly letter, a graphic organizer, a graph or response chart, etc. Some teachers write out the entire message before students arrive to class, some teachers write out a partial message leaving blanks for students to fill in, and other teachers write out the entire message with students. There is no right or wrong way to do a morning message - it simply depends on the skills and standards you want your students to be exposed to and master. Here are two examples of two different types of morning messages written as friendly letters:

Example 1:

Dear Class,

Today is _(day of the week)_.
_(Name)_ is our helper.

Love,
_(Teacher's name)_

Example 2:

Good morning!

Today is Friday, September 4th.
Please print your name. Count the number of letters in your name. Write that number next to your name.

_(Teacher's name)_

How do I begin to use a morning message in my classroom?

Before deciding to use a morning message in your classroom, you need to make some organizational decisions.

  • What kind of format do you want to use? (letter, newspaper article, graphic organizer, etc.)
  • How much time do you want to spend on the morning message each day?
  • How do you want the students to participate? (use a leader, work as a group, etc.)
  • What skills/content do you want to teach?
  • What purpose(s) will your message serve? (community builder, literacy support, math support, science/social studies support, new concepts, review, etc.)

Morning Message Ideas from Mrs. Nelson

As you can see, there are many different formats and uses for morning messages. I like to use a variety of formats throughout the year according to the needs and skill levels of my students. For the first semester of school (August to December) I use a "traditional" friendly letter type of message. When the students start school again in January, I begin a completely different message format and continue until the end of the year.

Morning Message (August to December)

From August to December, I use a prewritten friendly letter format. In the very beginning, I write out the whole message with pictures and as the childrens' skill improve I start eliminating letters and words and ask the students tto help me fill in the blanks. I use this format:

Good Morning Boys and Girls,

Today is (day of the week), (month), (day), (year).
We will ________________________________.
(Comment and Task of the day)

Love,
Mrs. Nelson

The comment and task of the day are related to the subjects we cover each day of the week. The subjects that we cover are as follows:

  • Marvelous Math Monday - math task
  • Terrific Topics Tuesday - thematic unit task
  • Word Power Wednesday - sight vocabulary task
  • Thoughtful Thursday - survey/response task
  • Fun Phonics Friday - phonics task

Morning Message (January to May)

Two Color Writing

Two Color Writing is a writing "game" activity where the students compete against the teacher or each other to write a morning message or other shared writing piece. I use this writing game for my morning message and I have found that my students' writing skills improve tremendously by the repetition and modeling used in this activity.

Each month, we work on a different kind of writing format. In January we work on writing a sentence and by May we are working on writing 5 sentence paragraphs with a introduction, three details, and a conclusion sentence. In May, most of my kindergartners are able to complete a 5 sentence paragraph outline independently. Here are the skills that we focus on each month:

  • January focus - sentence
  • February focus - friendly letter
  • March focus - written dialogue
  • April focus - simple paragraph
  • May focus - simple paragraph

To do the Two Color Writing activity, you will need to decide where you are going to write your message. You can do this on chart paper, chalk board, white board, or overhead projector. I use the overhead projector and make overhead outlines for each monthly focus. After deciding where you will write your message, you will need to choose two different color markers. You will also need to decide what color your children will be and what color you will be.

At the bottom of your writing space (on your whiteboard, chart paper, or whatever you will be using) draw lines to keep "score" with the color name next to the line. Your writing space should look something like this:

________________________________
________________________________
________________________________
________________________________
________________________________

_____ blue
_____ red

Choose a student to be the "reporter" today. The reporter's job is to come up with an idea for the morning message. If you are writing a sentence, he/she will come up with an idea for a sentence and if you are writing a letter, he/she will need to choose a person that the letter will be addressed to and decide what he/she wants to tell that person in the letter.

After choosing a reporter, you will begin writing the message that he/she gives. Ask the children what letters/sounds they think should be written for each word. If the children guess the correct letter then you will write that letter in the color that your students chose. If they guess wrong, then the teacher gets the point and you will write the letter in your color. The goal of using two colors is to show how many letters the children were able to guess correctly and to show where the children needed help from the teacher. At the end of the message count how many letters were written in each color and record the numbers on the bottom. Compare the numbers with your children and decide who "won". Even at the very beginning, the students usually "beat" me which really strengthens their confidence.

I tell my students that if they ever get ALL of the points (meaning they guessed every letter correctly) then they get a special treat that they can vote for (like popsicles, dance party, etc.). After the children "beat" me, I let them compete against each other - boys against girls - which they LOVE.

Here are examples of what our morning messages look like when we're finished and an example of what the lesson "sounds" like when we are doing the activity. Click on the image to view a larger and printable .pdf version.

Important Skill Review:
  • Letter/sound recognition
  • Left to right progression
  • Capitalization rules
  • Spacing between words
  • Punctuation (period, question mark, exclamation point)
Example of Teacher/Student Dialogue
  • Teacher: Kyle is our reporter today and he wants to write a sentence about his new puppy. Can you think of a sentence we could write to tell about Kyle and his puppy?
  • Student: We could write "Kyle adopted a brown puppy this weekend and named her Bailey."
  • Teacher: That is a wonderful sentence! I like the way you added details to the sentence like the color of the puppy and her name. Let's start writing. Kyle's name is the first word in our sentence today. Who can tell me the first letter in Kyle's name?
  • Student: "K" is the first letter.
  • Teacher: Should we make the "K" uppercase or lowercase and why?
  • Student: Uppercase because it is the first letter in a name and it's the beginning of a sentence.
  • Teacher: Your remembered two very important writing rules! Wonderful job. After the "K" in Kyle's name comes a letter that says the sound /i/ but it is not the letter you might think. What letter will come next?
  • Student: "I" is the next letter!
  • Teacher: That is a great guess, but Kyle's name has a different letter that uses the /i/ sound. It is the letter "Y". Remember, sometimes the letter "Y" gets a little greedy and steals the sounds of other letters. In this word, "Y" steals the /I/ sound. Does anyone remember what other sound "Y" likes to steal?
  • Student: "Y" likes to steal the /e/ sound!

Important Skill Review:
  • Letter/sound recognition
  • Left to right progression
  • Capitalization rules
  • Spacing between words
  • Punctuation (comma, period, question mark, exclamation point)
  • Parts of a letter: greeting, body, closing
Example of Teacher/Student Dialogue
  • Teacher: This month we are practicing how to write a letter. Today's reporter is Michael and Michael wants his letter to be for his friend, Steve. Michael wants to tell Steve what his favorite animal is. Let's begin our letter. The first part of the letter that we write has a special name. Does anyone remember what this part is called? (teacher points to the top line where the greeting will be written).
  • Student: The greeting.
  • Teacher: That's right, it is called the greeting. The greeting is used to say hello to the person you are writing the letter to. Let's start with the first letter for the word "dear". /D/ is the first sound for the word "dear". What letter do we use to start this word?
  • Student: "D"
  • Teacher: Very good. How about the next letter for the sound /e/?
  • Student: "E"
  • Teacher: Great! After the letter "E" comes a letter that stays silent. Can you think of a silent letter that could come after the "E"?
  • Student: Another "E"
  • Teacher: That is a great guess, but not the right letter. Sometimes the long /e/ sound uses "ee" but in this word, the silent letter is "A".


Important Skill Review
  • Letter/sound recognition
  • Left to right progression
  • Capitalization rules
  • Spacing between words
  • Punctuation (quotation marks, comma, period, question mark, exclamation point)
  • Dialogue rules
Example of Teacher/Student Dialogue
  • Teacher: So far, in our message today, we have written the words "Laura said". Now we are getting ready to write the "talking" part of our sentence. Who remembers what a talking sentence is called?
  • Student: Dialogue.
  • Teacher: That is a big word and you are exactly right! A talking sentence is called dialogue. When we write the talking part of a sentence, we have to separate the talking part from the rest of the sentence by using punctuation. Who remembers what kind of punctuation we start with?
  • Student: Quotation marks.
  • Teacher: We do use quotation marks very soon but we have to use another kind of punctuation first. We use a comma to separate the dialogue from the rest of the sentence. (teacher writes the comma in her color). After we write the comma, we are ready to start the "talking" part. What punctuation do we use to show someone is talking?
  • Student: Quotation marks.
  • Teacher: Very good. Now we use the quotation marks. Now we are getting ready to write the talking part. So far, we have written "Laura said" and now we are going to write the word "I". How do we spell the word "I"?
  • Student: Uppercase "I"
  • Teacher: I'm glad you remembered to say uppercase. The word "I" is always written as an uppercase letter.

Important Skill Review:
  • Letter/sound recognition
  • Left to right progression
  • Capitalization rules
  • Spacing between words
  • Punctuation (comma, period, question mark, exclamation point)
  • Parts of a paragraph: introduction, three details, closing sentence
Example of Teacher/Student Dialogue
  • Teacher: Today's morning message was from Lisa. Lisa wanted to write about why she likes cats. We wrote a paragraph with Lisa about why she likes cats. A paragraph usually has three special parts. Raise your hand and tell me one of the parts of a paragraph.
  • Student: The introduction.
  • Teacher: Very good! The introduction is the first part that we write in a a paragraph. What does the introduction tell the reader?
  • Student: It tells them what the paragraph is about.
  • Teacher: Is the introduction usually about many things or just one specific thing?
  • Student: Just one thing.
  • Teacher: That's right. The introduction is usually about one thing or subject. Today our subject was cats. What is another part of a paragraph?
  • Student: The body.
  • Teacher: Great thinking! The body is next and the body has a few sentences in it. What are those sentences in the body supposed to be about?
  • Student: They're supposed to be about cats.
  • Teacher: Yes, in this paragraph the body tells reasons why Lisa likes cats. In our paragraph we always write 3 reasons. What is the last part of the paragraph called?
  • Student: The conclusion.
  • Teacher: Yes, that's right! The conclusion is the last part of the paragraph and what is it's job?
  • Student: It reminds the reader what the paragraph was all about.

Printable Templates

These templates are what I use for Two Color Writing Morning Message. I copied these templates onto overhead sheets and reuse them everyday. I included 4 different templates for paragraph writing. Each template has different graphics and some give the option of having a student include an illustration at the bottom of the page.

Morning Message Ideas from Other Teachers

These ideas are from teachers who shared their ideas on MrsNelsonsGroup.

Can You Read the Code Word? from Miss Bright

One thing on my Morning Message the kids really love is "Can you read my code word?" I put blanks for a word and under each blank I write the number that corresponds to its alphabet order (a=1, b=2, etc.). The children look up at the alphabet on the wall where I also have all the numbers below the letters. The reporters call out the letters for each blank and then they try to read the word. I've used words with the theme we're studying and words for a certain skill they're working on (i.e. something with a silent e). This is in addition to the date and what specials class we have, plus anything coming up that I can put in the (short) message.

Morning Message Raffle from Miss Bright

One of my friends raffles off the big chart paper she wrote the morning message onto - her kids love to win it and take it home to show off.

Making the Message Interactive with Jobs by Miss Bright (original ideas from Kimberly Jordano)

Kimberly Jordano gives all the students a task during morning message which makes it so much fun for them. For example, there are "Cheerleaders" who hold pompons and spell out the high frequency words needed to fill in the message. There are "Reporters" who have mini-magna doodles and plastic visors who write/copy down anything they deem important. There are "Jackpot children", who hold some sort of noisemaker (maracas, etc.) and look for double letters, shouting out "jackpot" when they see one. There are the "Spacepeople" and the "Writers" and others.

Format Ideas from Stephanie

My morning message consists of a large laminated sheet of lined chart paper. Before I laminated it I wrote the following: Today is (day of the week), (month), (year). Today is the (#) day we have been in school. We have (special class) today. The weather today is: ____. Nonsense word:____. Math Problem ____.

Every day I fill in the information with my classes with a dry erase marker and then wipe them off at the end of the day. When I am spelling words, I ask the children for help by saying a letter and they have to give me the sound OR, I say the sound and they have to give me the letter.

"Our Daily News" Book by Mrs. Brown

I staple some large manilla paper together and we title the book "Our Class News" by Mrs. Brown's Class. Each day we pick a different "reporter" to come up and report something we have done that day. The person who is the reporter gets to take the book to their table and illustrate the picture.
When we finish a book, I put it in the book corner for the kids to read. We do it at the end of the day and it's a good review to settle us before bus call.

Resource Links

Professional Resources for Morning Message

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