Morning Meeting can be a powerful and effective way to start the day with your students. See how eight teachers do Morning Meeting in their classrooms, and get takeaway tips for implementing it with your little ones:
“I also love the reflection time where they can think about things they do well in school and things they’d like to do better. I would not have Morning Meeting without our ‘talking bug,’ as we call it. This way, only the one with the bug talks, and I don’t get five students speaking at once. Morning Meeting is my favorite time of the day. I love getting to know those who are spending the year with me, and this is the best way I have found!” – Forever In Third Grade
“We sing all the time, especially when we start our day. We sing a lot of the traditional early childhood songs, but a couple summers ago I wrote some new classroom songs that are to the tune of modern songs (think Uptown Funk). I wrote a blog post about it, and here’s the resource in my store.“- The Tutu Teacher
We love Morning Meeting in our 1st grade room. It’s our 30 minutes to come together and start the day together while practicing our social and academic skills!
“Here are some of my do’s and don’ts:
DO Plan and prepare for Morning Meeting like any other class period.
DO Model, model, model! Get down on the floor with your students and show them!
DO Emphasize community in the classroom. Use this time to focus on appropriate social skills that your students may need to work on.
DON’T ver-complicate this! Keep it simple, and follow a routine each morning so your students know what to expect.
DON’T afraid to spend more than the allotted time in Morning Meeting. Treat it like any other period; if your students need extra time and help on these social skills, make sure you spend that time to help them!
DON’T forget to reflect. After the academic aspects, make sure you make note of students who may need extra help with some skills. It’s another time in your day to run an informal assessment.” – Susan Jones
As one part of Morning Meeting each day, we mark on a chart the number of days we’ve been in school. Then we take that number and make ‘names’ for it.
“So if the number is 27, the ‘names’ could be 26+1, 20+7, 30-3, 100-73, a quarter and 2 pennies, odd, etc. Every student can participate at his or her level of math understanding. Just this quick activity performed every single day really strengthens my students’ skills in number sense!” – Debbie Bryant
“DO begin each morning greeting with a positive attitude.
DO have a short icebreaker (song of the day, chant, or question of the day) to ponder while all students prepare for the gathering.
DO connect Morning Meeting to the curriculum. Things can be language-based, science-based, math-based, etc. -DO plan purposefully for the meeting.
DO have the learning goals displayed somewhere.
DON’T let the students run the show.
DON’T tell them what to do. Show them.
DON’T forget to keep a log of your ideas. You can use them again next year.
DON’T get discouraged if the first few meetings don’t go according to plan. Habits take time to develop.
DON’T skip Morning Meeting if you’re not there. Keep a detailed outline for a substitute teacher. Delegate a student or two to assist when you’re away.” – Sandra Naufal
I have a slightly different take on Morning Meeting, and the way I do it in a special education self-contained classroom would certainly look different than a general education classroom.
“However, I love Morning Meeting as an opportunity, particularly for the younger grades, to include students with disabilities in general education settings. They contain many social opportunities, which for kids with autism and similar disabilities, are critical and getting harder to find with the increasing rigor in the classroom. Here are some thoughts on what I try to help general education teachers accomplish that can help students with disabilities (and often other typical children in the room as well): 1. Consider having a consistent routine to Morning Meeting. It doesn’t have to be the same activities, songs, or materials (and probably shouldn’t), but having a consistent routine helps all the students know what to expect, and it helps the student with special needs have a routine and possibly a visual schedule of what’s going to happen next. 2. Think about using response cards or a similar strategy that allow all the students to answer the question by holding up a card or a hand signal. This way, everyone has a turn and the opportunity to practice the skill for each question and there is limited waiting for a turn. This helps to keep students with special needs engaged throughout the time. 3. Consider giving a student who is struggling or a student who has a disability a copy of the materials you’re using (e.g., his own paper calendar, a smaller copy of the book). For students who struggle with sustained attention or knowing who and what to focus on, this helps them to stay in the game. 4. Finally, if you have a student with communication needs, try to find one or two regularly occurring activities that he can use during his augmentative communication or other strategies with each day to practice communicating with peers as well as adults. For dont’s, I would say, don’t always sit the child with a disability in the back because it might be harder for her to be part of the group. Think about having her be in the middle or at the front so she is truly included. Don’t assume that a child with a disability can’t participate in Morning Meeting at all if she struggles with it. Don’t assume that one meltdown should eliminate that opportunity, but instead take it as a chance to problem-solve how to help next time.” – Autism Classroom News-Christine Reeve
“We pull a few out each day to discuss at our Morning Meeting. Here’s a blog post I wrote about how this (and a few other ideas) helps to tame the “talking monster” in my classroom!” – Rainbow City Learning
“Here were my favorite parts: 1. We would pick a different way to say good morning each day. One at a time we went around the circle, and each greeted the person on either side. That way, I knew that every student was looked in the eye and wished good morning by two other students. 2. We had a chance to troubleshoot. If there had been a behavior issue or supplies weren’t being cared for, we would talk about it during this time and figure out a solution. 3. We discussed the upcoming day. This was an opportunity for me to share what was in store and explain if there would be any changes to our normal routine such as an assembly or a guest teacher.” – Sara J Creations *** “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford