Morning meeting is one of the most asked-about topics here at TKS so we wanted to spend some time explaining morning meeting. This is an overview of the how and why of morning meeting. Make sure to click the links at the end of the post to see posts on each component of morning meeting.
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 and discuss any classroom news, 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!
Morning meeting is THE FOUNDATION of everything that happens in our classroom. The academics, the relationships, the behaviors, the fun. Everything 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 a family in our classroom.
What Morning Meeting Is NOT!
Morning meeting is NOT our calendar time. Morning meeting is a time to come together and bond. It 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 the 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!
Morning meeting is not show and tell. We don’t do show and tell but if you want to include show and tell it could be done as part of the sharing portion of your morning meeting.
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 15-20 minutes. Sometimes they’re faster than 15 minutes but sometimes they go longer than 20 minutes. If 20 minutes seems like a long time, consider how many SEL skills you’re addressing, and how many academic skills you can address, and if these 20 minutes result 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 community building and when working on communication skills.
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 our 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 in the blog posts linked below.
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 the 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. If you have ELL students, they will go through a silent phase, so they’re not forced to participate but they’re always given the opportunity.
The Benefits Of Morning Meeting
So we know the basics of morning meetings, but why should we do it? The benefits of morning meetings 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 these 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 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 meetings based on research from Responsive Classroom:
Teachers’ use of Responsive Classroom Morning Meetings was related to improved emotional support for students and improved classroom organization
Students who participate in morning meetings 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 on 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 its entirety, check out this video:
If you’re looking for resources for morning meetings, grab our Morning Meeting Bundle:
For more information on morning meetings, check out these posts: