How to Implement and Be Successful at Soft Start Mornings

Soft start mornings are a great way to start the school day for students

Soft Start Mornings

Just like adults, students need a time to adjust in the morning. I am sure most of you start the day with a cup of coffee or have a routine that helps get you ready for the day. Why don't we do this for students when they arrive to school? 

Soft start mornings is probably not something new, it may just be a new name for something that you already do. It is a time set aside in the classroom when students arrive for them to have a few minutes of choice before starting the academic part of the day.

We would like to share how we implement soft start mornings in our upper elementary classroom. We have found this to be extremely beneficial for a smooth start to the school day. Students love the routine and we know it helps them get focused for the day.

Listed below are the many choices you could have for students for soft start mornings. Pick and choose which ones you think would be successful with your students. You may want to start with five choices and then build up if your students can handle it.

Learning Apps

There are many great free learning websites that our students love. One is called Prodigy. This is a very interactive math game for students and is aligned with the Common Core Standards. It allows you to get reports on your students as well. Another is called Freckle (formely Front Row). This online game covers ELA, math, science and social studies. Students have also loved CODE as they can learn how to code.

Calendar Activities

If students want to learn about wacky holidays that are celebrated in the United States each day, they can read the daily calendar activity. There is a description of each day, and three to five activities that students can do to celebrate the day. Your students will want to check this out.

Building Station

Providing students with a place to use their hands could be beneficial for those kinesthteic learners. Legos and Kinex are perfect for this. Having different types of manipulatives that students can maneuver with their hands is a great way for some to start the day.
                                     Soft start mornings are a great way to start the school day for students


Puzzles are a great way to start the day too. We have on hand United States puzzles, smaller puzzles for individuals, and then bigger community puzzles that students can continue to work on over the course of the week. You just have to find a place to keep the pieces and incomplete puzzle.
                                     Soft start mornings are a great way to start the school day for students

Coloring Pages

Who doesn't love to color? Having simple coloring pages available along with crayons, colored pencils and markers can be a great way for students to start the day. You can even find those more challenging coloring pages that adults are now using as well.
Soft start mornings are a great way to start the school day for students.

Genius Hour

Probably the favorite activity of our students in the morning is working on their Genius Hour passion projects. Genius Hour is a time when students can learn more about a passion that they have and really dive deep into answering a guiding question that they have about the passion. You can read more about Genius Hour by clicking on the photo below.


Allowing students to just write about anything can be a great start to the school day for some. They can decide to write on their own or even create a story with their friend. This choice may be the perfect fit for some of your students. We have a FREE resource that will give you tons of ideas for students to choose from.
                                           Soft start mornings are a great way to start the school day for students

Daily Work For An Entire Year

We have created a daily work bundle that will take your students through 36 weeks of school. Each day has a focus. Monday has a writing activity. Tuesday has trivia. Wednesday has a famous quote. Thursday contains thinking and logic puzzles. Friday finishes off the week with fun facts. This can easily be a station to choose from each day.


Probably a favorite choice for many of our students has been to choose a book and read. Students have chosen to read alone, or with a partner. We are lenient on the book selection because we want this to be a time of enjoyment in reading for the students.
                                    Soft start mornings are a great way to start the school day for students

Strategy Games

A great way to get their brains working is to offer strategy games. We use games like checkers and mancala. We also have sudoku puzzles available for students to solve either alone or with a partner.  Students also love to solve mysteries if you have any short mystery books like Encylopedia Brown in your class library.

                                   Soft start mornings are a great way to start the school day for students

Homework Help

If you set up a homework help time during soft start, students cannot use this as a time to do the work that was assigned the day before. It can only used to help each other out on a concept that is difficult.

We hope that you will begin to implement soft start mornings into your upper elementary classroom. We would love to hear your students' reactions and how you feel too!