To simplify your morning routine, start off the day with a journal writing activity. Each morning, at the front of the classroom, display an object on a TV tray. The object could be a photograph, an item from nature (like a beehive or bird’s nest), a trinket or a tool. The students’ first task of the day is to examine the object; then illustrate it and write about it in their journals. With your students getting right to work, you can read notes from parents and take care of other urgent matters quickly and efficiently.