Morning Meeting in the classroom


Do you have Morning Meetings in your classroom? Morning meetings are a way to further your positive classroom community, creating a classroom climate that feels safe, secure, and fun for students.

I learned about Morning Meeting through several Responsive Classroom courses that I took- I HIGHLY recommend signing up for these professional development courses if they are offered at your district. It completely changed my classroom management style, as well as turned my focus toward social and emotional learning, instead of solely on academic learning. Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching that ultimately enables optimal student learning. Instead of simply focusing on student's behavior being "good" or "bad," it looks at every perspective of a child's time at school.


WHAT MATERIALS DO I NEED FOR MORNING MEETING?

Absolutely nothing! There are so many Internet resources for morning meetings (I linked a couple fo videos on the bottom of this post). Although you can always choose to incorporate materials into morning meeting, you don't need anything to do it. All you need is for students to either sit in a circle, or pull chairs over in a circle. Remember that EVERYONE in the room will participate in morning meeting- this includes any parent volunteers of IAs that are in the room!

If you're interested, check out Morning Meetings by Responsive Classroom in your professional library, or you can find it here on Amazon (this is an Amazon Affiliate link which provides a mean for Glitter in Third to earn a fee by linking to Amazon.com at no cost to you). 



HOW DOES IT WORK?

There are four components of morning meeting. Although morning meeting follows this specific structure, each of these components is adaptable and flexible. I change each section of my morning meeting every day to keep it interesting, yet the structure is the same so that students know what to expect. This helps students feel a sense of stability in the classroom. Morning meeting takes about 20-30 minutes each morning, but without a doubt it is the most important part of our day.
  • Greeting: Students literally greet one another by name. I emphasize the importance of making eye contact, not standing to close to others, looking interested, etc. It helps the social skills in your classroom. Not every student hears their name at home, this is incredibly powerful to ensure that every student in the classroom feels important and reminds them that they are part of the classroom community. 
  • Share: This is a time when students share events going on in their lives. There are so many ways for them to do this. Sharing allows students to practice public speaking, as well as how to communicate. Even the student not sharing is learning- they are learning how to be a good listener and conversationalist. The listeners learn how to ask empathetic questions. This is NOT show and tell. I also make sure the kids know that this is not a time to brag, and to be empathetic when sharing (for example, not talking about another student's party they are going to if other kids are not invited as wel).
  • Activity: An activity can be a game. An activity can be learning review. I NEVER use the word "game" for this, because students come to expect it. Everyone participates in the activity that helps create group communication. My students often play these cooperative games during recess and dismissal as well because they enjoy them so much!
  • Message: Every morning I write a message on the board. I read it to the students. Sometimes, we do a choral reading. In the message I mention some things that are exciting that are coming up so that the kids will think about what they can look forward to during the day. I also go over the schedule for the day. 



WHAT ARE THE RESULTS? 

Morning meetings create a positive classroom culture. My first two years of teaching, I did not do morning meetings. I see a complete difference of the attitude and respect that my students give one another. My students take the social and emotional learning that they learn during morning meeting, and utilize it in places like the lunchroom and playground. Morning meetings set the tone for the entire day. A peaceful, calm, and stable morning starts the day off right. I saw behaviors in my classroom decrease as morning meeting goes on throughout the year. It creates an incredible climate and culture in the classroom that fosters meaningful student relationships. Through morning meeting, students learn respect, trust, empathy, and kindness.

Morning meeting prepares kids for the rest of the day. Some students have bad mornings. Some students may have had a bad night. However, they will know that morning meeting will happen every morning and offer some level of familiarity to them. Every student deserves to feel valued, and this quick start to your day will help achieve this goal. It is a time where every student matters. Each child knows they are welcomed. Morning meeting is so much more than simply hearing a child's name, but a time that will increase a student's confidence and allow a child daily practice in appropriate and respectful communication.



WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

There are some fantastic videos on YouTube of teachers' classrooms where a morning meeting is performed. I embedded a few below!





HOW CAN IT BE SUCCESSFUL?
As with anything in teaching: model, model, model! Show what the procedure should look like. Discuss what it looks like. Make sure that students know that only one person is talking at a time, it is a time for respect and listening. Create the morning meeting rules together so that the students are responsible and held accountable for the rules.


MORNING MEETING IDEAS
You want to start morning meeting - that's awesome! It can feel overwhelming to start. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Greeting

  • Simple
    • All students stand up in a circle. A student walks across the circle, says "good morning *insert name here*," then sits in that student's spot. Next, the student who got greeted finds someone else to greet. This continues until everyone has been greeted.
  • Skip counting
    • Pick a number to skip count by. For example, four. A student will start. They count four students, then say good morning to that student. They take the student's spot, then the greeted student continues the skip count. The greeting is over when all students have been greeted.
  • One-minute greeting
    • Students have one minute to greet as many students as they can.
  • The Price Is Right greeting
    • Students form two lines facing one another. A student runs down the line getting high-fived. 
Share
  • Table share
    • Every day, I let a different table share. Kids do not have to share, it is up to them.A After they do a respectful share, they say, "Thank you for listening. I will now take one respectful question." Students can ask a question - NOT a comment. We emphasize that the share is about the sharer, not the person asking a question.
  • Maitre d' share
    • The teacher will yell out a number (like "party of 3!"). Students need to quickly create a group of three. Then the teacher will come up with a share question ("what is your favorite color?"). The group members share with one another, then the teacher calls out a another "Party of" number.
Activity
  • Four Corners
    • You probably remember this oldie-but-goodie from your elementary school days! A counter sits in the middle of the room and counts to ten. The other students in the classroom walk to a corner. The counter yells out a number ("corner 2!"). Everyone in that corner must sit down.
  • Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
    • A student hides a small ball (or stuffed animal, whatever you have in your room) in a slightly concealed spot. The other students walk around the room looking for it. When they find it, they say, "zip-a-dee-doo-dah!" and walk to the opposite side of the room. The game is over when all students have found the item.



Do you use mornings in your classroom? How do you do it in your classroom? Leave me a comment below!


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