Today we’re kicking off a week long blog series all about morning meeting. Morning meeting is one of the most asked about topics here at TKS so we wanted to spend a week explaining morning meeting. Each day will focus on each aspect or component of the morning meeting. Today is an overview of how and why, and the rest of the week will focus on the greetings, sharing, activity and morning message.
What Is Morning Meeting?
Morning meeting is a DAILY gathering where we get to come together in a circle and share our lives. We start every single day in our classroom with morning meeting so our students are set up for success first thing in the morning. This is a time when we greet each other, we talk about what’s happening in our lives, we get to play a game and we learn what is planned for our day so we can focus on what’s ahead and what we’re learning about!
For me, morning meeting is THE FOUNDATION of everything that happens in our classroom. The academics, the relationships, the behaviors, the fun. It all is built on morning meeting. The reason this time of day is so important is simple: It’s all about building COMMUNITY. By focusing on the community in our classroom, the students know they belong to something special and that they are valued as unique individuals. This sense of belonging helps behaviors, helps engagement and creates the family in our classroom.
What Morning Meeting Is NOT!
Morning meeting is NOT calendar time. Morning meeting is a time to come together and bond. It is is a time to meet the social emotional needs of our students. Calendar time is incredibly important and beneficial in our classroom, but it is done during our math block. Since calendar is full of math skills and standards, it makes more sense to do it during math time! To see what our calendar time looks like, check out this video!
How do you do morning meeting?
Morning meeting takes place first thing in the morning. Doing it first thing in the morning is important for two reasons: it sets the tone for the day and it allows our students to start the day (and for some, reset their day, depending on what happened before they got to school) in a positive, uplifting and SAFE environment.
Our morning meeting lasts about 20 minutes. If 20 minutes seems like a long time consider how many SEL skills you’re addressing, how many academic skills you can address and if this 20 minutes results in improved classroom management, you gain back much more than 20 minutes a day! Your morning meeting should take place in a circle. The circle allows everyone to easily see every person and make eye contact with them. This is vital to the community building and when working on communication skills. Sometimes they can go faster, sometimes they a little longer.
Morning meeting includes 4 components: greeting, sharing, activity and morning message. These four components occur in the same order every day. This provides consistency which we know benefits out students. These components allow us to meet the SEL needs of our students as well as incorporate academic standards. We will discuss each of these components in depth over the next 4 days!
Morning Meeting Expectations
As with every single thing that happens in our classrooms, there are expectations for our morning meeting. Everyone sits criss-cross applesauce on the carpet. Our hands are in our laps. We listen with our ears and we look at the person who is talking. These expectations not only allow the morning meeting to flow but more importantly teaches our students vital communication skills.
One thing you will repeatedly during our meetings is Mr. Greg asking three questions:
Where are your hands?
What do we listen with?
Who do we look at?
These just serve to remind students of our expectations.
Every student is expected to participate in morning meeting. However, that looks different for some students. I had a student who did not want to sit in the circle but he still participated in the greetings and activity and morning message, just from his seat at a table. When we share it’s a voluntary sharing time. However, you are expected to be a good listener and you must participate in the greeting.
The Benefits Of Morning Meeting
So we know the basics of morning meetings, but why should we do it? The benefits of morning meeting are limitless. Behaviors improve because of the relationships that form and the sense of family and community. Academics improve because of the improved behaviors. Addressing academic standards during this 20 minutes means you see even more academic gains.
One of the biggest benefits that I see is the communication skills of my students. 95% of my students are ELL and most enter the classroom with little to no English. The meeting allows them to acquire language and practice speaking almost daily. With our focus on communication skills, my students are consistently complimented on their ability to have conversations with each other and adults. It’s not uncommon for an adult to speak to my students in the hallway and the students engage in conversations, answer their questions and even ask the adults questions. All because we start our day with a 20 minute morning meeting!
Here are some other benefits of morning meeting based on research from Responsive Classroom:
Teachers’ use of Responsive Classroom Morning Meeting was related to improved emotional support for students and improved classroom organization
Students who participate in morning meeting performed better on statewide assessments of mathematics and reading skills than their peers at schools that did not use the social-emotional-learning program’s strategies
students reported having enjoyed and possessed a relatively happy outlook about the Morning Meetings
saw gains in student achievement and improvement in teacher-student interactions
outperforms the state in several achievement gap areas
If you would like to see a morning meeting in it’s entirety, check out this video:
For more ideas, check out this book from Responsive Classroom:
For over 400 customizable morning meeting messages, check out our Morning Message Bundle!
For a student perspective on morning meetings, check out this post:
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