Every morning after the students arrive in the classroom, we designate about 10 minutes to morning meeting. Morning meeting is a really great way to start off the day. I’ve been doing morning meeting for many years and have tried out different ways of running the meeting and I have to say that this year is by far my favorite.
In the past, I would have a morning message written out to the students each day in which I would possibly compliment the students on something they were working on during the week, share any news for the day, or pose various questions for them to think about or answer.
I must admit, when I used to write morning messages every day, I actually started to hate morning meeting. I know, I know.. It sounds bad to say, but I just felt like I always had so much to do and my morning meeting message always took a back seat and was the last thing on to-do list. When I did remember to do it (usually 2 minutes before the kids were coming in), lots of times I wouldn’t have anything new or exciting to say! When you have to write a new message every day, you have to really start being creative! After 5 years of messages, I was ready to give up. It became exhausting!
That’s when I saw Mrs. Noonan’s morning meeting video on teachingchannel.org. Instead of coming up with a letter or task for the students every morning, Mrs. Noonan has her students lead morning meeting, rather than her. When I saw it, I was instantly excited to try it out. So far this year it’s been working so well and I (and more importantly, my students) actually look forward to morning meeting again each morning!
Each morning, I display the following outline of morning meeting on the board for students to follow:
We start off every meeting with a self reflection. The leader of the day asks everyone to close their eyes, take a deep breath in, and think about one thing they did well yesterday and one thing they would like to work on today.
I remind my students to try to keep their self reflections school related. At first, this was something very new to them and they weren’t 100% comfortable sharing their self reflections. I modeled over and over how I self reflect on my day and soon enough, hands began to raise and more people began sharing.
Now that we’ve been in school for many weeks, the students have really gotten the hang of doing a self reflection in the morning and can’t wait to share them. The best part is, most of the time, they are real genuine thoughts and not something superficial just to share. For example, one student mentioned that she pushed herself as a reader and jotted down her thinking on sticky notes and that in writing she would like to try to add in more “show, not tell” details to make her writing more interesting.
The students LOVE to share. However, the way in which we share allows them to practice using new vocabulary that they might not normally use. Right after the self reflection, the leader for the day leads the class in a vocabulary review in which we all read aloud synonyms for feeling words. After reading the words, the leader calls on 3-5 people to share how they’re feeling that day. BUT they have to use one of the words from the word wall.
I love the share part of the meeting because it allows me to see what’s going on in my students lives that might affect their mood or work ethic for the day. For example, one student shared that he was feeling blue because his goldfish died that morning. Whereas another students expressed they were feeling jubilant because their grandfather was visiting for the week.
You learn so much from your students by allowing them to share about their personal lives. Even the shy students have started to share as well. I make sure to really emphasize the idea of respect in the classroom and I make sure that I do not tolerate students who do not respect what others share and express. So far, all of the students have been really great and completely respectful of one another!
Also, a bonus is that many of the students are using the feelings word wall words in their normal conversations and writing!! I LOVE when that happens! :)
This is the part where the fun comes in. We always greet one another in some engaging way each morning. In the beginning of the year, we brainstormed a list of greetings the students have used and loved in the past. They had an opportunity to explain the greeting to the class if people were not familiar with it already. I also usually introduce the students to a new greeting about once a week.
There are endless amounts of engaging greetings. If you good “morning meeting greetings,” you’ll find hundreds or even thousands of possibilities. Sometimes the most simple greetings, such as high five the person next to you as you say good morning to them, are the ones the kids love the most! I think so far, one of the favorites this year is “funny accent” greeting. :)
When it’s time for the greeting, the morning meeting leader calls on three different students to select a greeting to vote on. Voting is a great way to help learn about a democracy. The students know that they need to respect each other’s preferences. Voting helps them also learn that sometimes in life you get your choice and other times you don’t but the most important part is that we are respectful about it.
For the first 2-3 weeks of school, I ran the morning meeting to model the routine and expectations for the class. Once I felt like they had the routine down, I started to choose student leaders to run the meeting. They absolutely love it. It’s so empowering for them and I can honestly see a huge difference in the way they treat each other because of the way we are doing morning meeting. Plus, it also takes the pressure off of the teacher to “come up with something to discuss in morning meeting” for the day. A huge relieve for me! Don’t get me wrong, we often discuss the keys to character and I still use morning meeting as an opportunity to share what’s going on that day or week, but for the most part it is student run.
I’d love to hear how you run morning meeting in your class!