Ultimate Guide to Table Time
Table Time is one of my favorite parts of preschool! I created this Ultimate Guide to Table Time just for you! Table Time is what we do first thing after my students have arrived and unpacked their belongings. There is always a predictable activity to reinforce a specific skill. But there’s also plenty of social interaction, too.
Table Time sets the tone for our whole day!
I don’t try to reinvent the wheel every morning. Instead, I have a collection of lesson plans which I rotate through every couple of weeks.
By having familiar activities, my students are well adjusted to school. They gain independence each day with these activities. They know what to expect and what to do.
My Table Time is approximately 20-25 minutes long. Yours might be shorter or longer depending on the age of your students, your class size, the rest of your daily schedule, and other factors which are unique for your classroom. Because most of the activities are open-ended, you can decide the timing that works best for your class. You can control if you want to finish a few minutes earlier than scheduled or go a little longer.
In general, if you have students who are not there for the entire time, it’s okay. Sure, they will miss doing that day’s activity but they aren’t missing a new objective being taught. I do, however, tell parents the value of our Table Time and why being punctual to school is so important!
These are the ten Table Time Collections I use over and over in my classroom!
You’ll see how easily you can pick and choose from these collections to offer your class the Ultimate Table Time every day!
Let’s get started!
Whether you teach 3’s, 4’s, 5’s, Pre-K, or Kindergarten, your students will benefit from exposure to ABC Centers regularly. Young children enjoy exploring the alphabet and manipulating letters.
I have a variety of alphabet activities randomly placed on the tables during Table Time. Children aren’t assigned seats so they are free to move about the room and choose the activity they’d like to do. Some kids do every single activity on the tables while others prefer to do the same one over and over.
Table Time is the perfect opportunity for your students to create free art, use watercolors, make collages, enjoy partner art, or just simply color.
I teach in a Christian preschool where we have Bible stories and memory verses as part of our curriculum. We are a half day program so it’s hard to fit all the academic skills plus our Bible requirements into the school day. Our morning work time has given me the flexibility to schedule Bible activities several times each month.
Whenever we have a student birthday to celebrate, we start off their special day by making a Birthday Book!
In advance, I prepare a cover template for the Birthday Book. The birthday boy/girl decorates the cover with stickers while their classmates get busy creating pages to go inside. Many times I hear students asking the Birthday child their favorite color, place, toy, ice cream, etc as they customize the drawings for the Birthday Book.
Preschoolers can always use a little work on fine motor skills.
Why not have a designated Table Time for cutting practice?
Some days we cut filler for our sensory tub. Often we cut strips we’ll use for paper chains or patterning. At times we cut pieces we’ll need during centers when we assemble a craft. And sometimes, we just cut because we like to cut!
Math Centers are a favorite Table Time activity so we use them at least once a week!
I have a wonderful collection of basic counting manipulatives as well as plenty of themed and seasonal Math Centers, too.
Using Math Centers at morning arrival allows the teacher an opportunity to see the progress being made with our math objectives. It gives us the chance to sit with a student who might need extra one on one instruction for a skill they haven’t quite mastered yet.
We work on first names frequently at the beginning of the school year. After those have been mastered, we focus on our last names using the same activities as we did for our first names.
Before we ever pick up a pencil or crayon to write, we work with the letters in our names in many different ways. Name Work is so much fun!
I love homemade play dough! In fact, it’s my “go to” activity every Friday morning!
There are so many benefits as children mash, mold, and make things with dough. It’s a bonus how imaginations unfold while kids are building fine motor muscles.
I like to provide a tray of tools such as play dough scissors, shape cutters, and play dough mats for the kids to use while they play with the dough.
Another part of Table Time is working in our Poetry Journals.
Each month, we feature one or two poems that are relevant to the season or theme we’re studying.
After we’ve introduced the poem at Morning Meeting and practiced it numerous times, we are ready to illustrate in our Poetry Journals.
Don’t forget to use your dry erase boards for Table Time!
Anything you can write on paper can be written on white boards instead.
We practice names, letters, words, and numerals. Students love to walk around the room and find something to write or copy.
I hope you found plenty of ideas you can use when lesson planning your mornings!
Remember, you don’t have to rethink Table Time every day or every week.
You can use this collection of ideas over & over!
Are you ready to have the Ultimate Table Time in your classroom?