Morning Routines that Really Work in K, TK, and Pre-K

Morning Routines That Really Work for Pre-K, TK, and Kindergarten!

Are you looking for an easy Morning Meeting routine to follow?  Here, I will explain the typical morning routine that I (Heidi) follow.  It’s filled with music and quick, interactive reviews of basic concepts.  It is my favorite part of the day!  So here are my morning routines that really WORK!


Morning Routines that Really Work in K, TK, and Pre-K

Classroom Management Songs and Videos

I love to start the school year off using our Classroom Management Videos, especially the “Follow the Rules” song! I always teach it as soon as possible during the first week of school, and then review it as often as possible.  As the school year progresses, we don’t need to sing it as much- usually!  😉  Most of the songs in this post come from this collection.
Note:  At one school I worked at, my pull-down screen used to cover up part of my calendar and focus wall, so I used my iPod/mp3 player when I wanted to point to the calendar for the Days of the Week song, etc.  After I changed schools, I didn’t have that problem, and I was able to use the videos instead.  So just think of this plan within the confines of your situation.
When I first introduced the Backpack Boogie, we did it at the end of the day with our backpacks on, just for fun.  Then they were ready for it the next morning when the song came on as they came in the room.

Start with “The Backpack Boogie” Song As They Put Their Things Away

One of my favorite routines is to let the children into the classroom in the morning, and when a couple of them have put their backpacks away, I turn on the music to “The Backpack Boogie”  The rest of the children tend to move a bit more quickly to join us as they put their things away since this song has become a class favorite. The lyrics of this song remind the children what to do when they enter the classroom:

I’m gonna boogie, boogie,
Boogie with my backpack!
Boogie, boogie,
Boogie with my backpack!
Boogie, boogie,
Boogie with my backpack!
Boogie right through the day!

I’m going to check for books and notes and things,
And turn in all the stuff I needed to bring,
And if there’s any homework, pop it in, ka-zing!
And boogie right through the day!

I’m gonna boogie, boogie,
Boogie with my backpack!
Boogie, boogie,
Boogie with my backpack!
Boogie, boogie,
Boogie with my backpack!
Boogie right through the day!

I say goodbye with a smile.
I don’t cry anymore!
I’m going to greet my teacher as I walk through the door!
And I know my things don’t belong on the floor!
And I’ll boogie right through the day!

Go Straight into the “Follow the Rules” Song

Then, we go straight into the “Follow the Rules” song.  My rule is that the children must have everything put away and join us by the time these two songs are finished. The children like the song, so there is rarely a problem with dawdling.  The lyrics and suggested motions for all Classroom Management songs can be found free here.

Sit Down and Take Attendance

After we have sung both the Backpack Boogie and the Follow the Rules songs, I have everyone sit down by counting “One, two, three!” and showing my fingers as I count.  This is my daily signal for them to sit down, no matter what.  Then I take attendance!

Choose a Helper of the Day

After taking attendance, I choose a helper for the day by selecting a new shirt for the Helper Bear, (free download link below!) and then I ask that child to walk my attendance sheet back to my aide.  This is a very important and fabulous job, as I’m sure you know!  My preferred system is to have just one helper per day, and that child helps during group time and also gets to be the line leader.

This is a free download:  Click here to download it!

“Right Hand, Left Hand” Song, Flag Salute

Next, everyone stands up to do the “Right Hand, Left Hand” song while the helper delivers the sheet and gets out the flag- another vitally important job! 😃  Since that song ends with “Put your hand on your heart and face the flag please,” it provides a natural segue right into the flag salute.  I quickly pause the music/video, and then we all do the flag salute.

“Red, White, and Blue” Song

Then, we all sing the “Red, White, and Blue” song.  We march while we sing, so it is a good way to get that oxygen flowing to the brain as well! I like this as a review of patterns as well as a patriotic song because the words are:

“Red, white, and blue!
Red, white, and blue!
An A, B, C, pattern just for you!
Red, white, and blue!
Red, white, and blue!
An A, B, C, pattern just for you!”

Sit Down with the “Criss Cross Applesauce” Chant

The song Criss Cross Applesauce comes next!  I count “One, Two, Three!” and everyone sits- or JUMPS and sits, which is even better!  Then, everyone starts chanting, with each verse getting quieter and quieter:

Loudly:  Criss cross applesauce,
Clap, clap, clap!
Eyes on the teacher,
Hands in your lap!
Medium volume:  Criss cross applesauce,
Clap, clap, clap!
Eyes on the teacher,
Hands in your lap!
Whisper:  Criss cross applesauce,
Clap, clap, clap!
Eyes on the teacher,
Hands in your lap!

Calendar Routines with Music

Once the kids are seated nicely, we sing the “Days of the Week” song.  I like to point to the calendar as we sing.  After that, my playlist on goes to the “Months of the Year” song.  We don’t sing it every day because there isn’t always time.  But as long as we sing it once or twice a week, they’ll learn!


Then, we do the regular calendar routine that most teachers probably do. 

  1. Update the calendar with the current date.  The children recite it, etc.  For example, “Today is Thursday, January 10, 2019.
  2.  Sing the current season song that can be found within the  Little Songs for Language Arts collection. 
  3.  I count to three again and everyone sits down again.
  4.  Add another daily straw to our Place Value Chart and count together, or slide a bead across on our abacus.

This is my place value chart.  The coffee stirrers are bundled in groups of ten with rubber bands.  We learn the Count by Tens song at some point, and often sing it without any music or video.

In Transitional Kindergarten (TK), I used an abacus rather than a place value chart. It seemed to make a lot more sense to my little ones!  I just put a tiny clothespin to hold the beads in place and to help prevent curious little fingers from moving them around. ☺️

Update the Hundreds Chart

After counting, we add that number to our hundreds chart.  I like to make our numbers that are multiples of five and ten a different color than the rest, if possible.  This helps kids notice the patterns emerging on the chart as we go along.


We add one number per day to the hundreds chart.


Focus Wall Daily Review

At this point, assuming that there is time, I do my daily review on my Focus Wall!   A Focus Wall wonderful tool to help the teacher remember to really focus on just one letter, number, and shape of the week.  When we are ready, I add sight words and CVC words too!  You can find videos of what this looked like in my classroom on Instagram and on TpT.


HeidiSongs Focus Wall for Week 2
This is my focus wall! It also includes a pocket chart with sight words and another for CVC words later in the year beginning in the second trimester.


This is my sight word chart for the focus wall. I update it weekly according to the Pacing Guide/Curriculum Map.  (Free; link below.)

This is also the time of day when I review the CVC flashcards on my pocket chart.  But if it seems like we are running out of time or the children are getting too restless, we just save the focus wall for after lunch!


This is my CVC words pocket chart. Once the children know what the pictures represent, I usually turn the picture card backward so it’s not a dead giveaway!

How do I know what to put on that focus wall?

I have it all charted out on my curriculum map/pacing guides, and the download is free!  I use this Kindergarten Pacing Guide I created to keep track of what we should be teaching each week.  I keep it pinned to the wall above my desk and reference it to figure out what letters, numbers, or words we are working on.

This is my Pacing Guide. Click here to download it free.
Or click here for the one with product links.

Explain and Demonstrate the Art Project

Since we do our morning rotation in four different groups, I give the directions for our centers to everyone at the same time before they go to their centers.  So, I demonstrate the art project to everyone at this point, even if it means they get the instructions an hour before they do it!  The directions for a lot of the projects are pretty intuitive anyway, such as the project below.

This is my art project for the day. I set it up before leaving each day, and then it’s always ready to go in the morning. No delays while I search for anything!

I REALLY recommend keeping your students engaged by allowing them to sing along with you while you demonstrate how to make arts and crafts projects.  It’s a wonderful way to keep students focused and alert!

For example, if we need to trace, we sing the “Tracing Song,” often without the music!  After that comes the “Scissors Song,” which we sing while I cut.  Then, of course, the “Glue song” is sung while I glue it.  All three of these songs are sung while seated.  I most often sing them without using the video or music; I just start singing, and the children join in!

If the song ends and I am still cutting or gluing, I just start singing the color songs!  I sing the Red Song if I am cutting red paper, for example, or the Blue Song if I am cutting blue paper, etc.  (Both color songs are from our Colors and Shapes Video Collection.)


This is our art table, which is part of our academic rotation. I set it up like this before I leave each previous day.  Note:  We glued the Alphabet Pattern Blocks pages for M and Y together to make the word “my.”

Oh, no!  They’re getting restless!

Often, the children get restless by this time. If so, I sing another active song or two just to get the blood flowing.  Another idea is to have everyone jump and count to 20, or do 10 crossovers.  This happens all the time, and I just roll with it!  And I advise you to do the same.  Give your students a quick little break!  Once the children are focused again, then finish your explanations.

This is the secret to good, proactive classroom management.  Take your cues from the children instead of your plan book.  Just know what you need to do each day, and keep working through it, giving children stretch breaks that teach.  That way, no time is lost!

Finally:  Give Directions for the Other Centers/Stations

Before I begin our small group rotation, I quickly explain what they will do at each table or station.  For example, the table in the picture below is set up for a writing assignment that they would be doing with me at my Language Arts table/center.  There were four stations going at the same time. But that’s another blog post! (Link below)


We had to take a writing test at one of our centers last week!


Start the Morning Rotation!
If you want to read more about how I do my morning rotation, please click here to read my blog post on that topic.

Happy Teaching!


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