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Morning Meeting Ideas: How And Why

  Morning meetings are one of the most asked-about topics here at TKS, so we wanted to explain and share some morning meeting ideas with you.  This is an overview of the how and why of the morning meeting.  Make sure to click the links at the end of the post to see posts on each component of the morning meeting.

What Is a Morning Meeting?

morning meeting ideas for the classroom

Our 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, talk about what’s happening in our lives and discuss any classroom news, get to play a game, and learn what is planned for our day so we can focus on what’s ahead and what we’re learning about!

 A morning meeting is THE FOUNDATION of everything that happens in our classroom.  The academics, relationships, the behaviors, the fun.  Everything is built on morning meeting.  There’s a reason this time of day is so important, and it’s 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.  The sense of belonging helps behaviors, helps engagement, and creates a family in our classroom.

What It Is NOT!

The 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, doing it during math time makes more sense!  To see what our calendar time looks like, check out this video!

This 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 meetings?

morning meeting ideas for the classroom

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 see every person and make eye contact with them easily.  This is vital to community building and when working on communication skills.

Morning meeting includes four 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.  The components allow us to meet our students’ SEL needs and incorporate academic standards.  We will discuss each of these components in depth in the blog posts linked below.

morning meeting ideas for the classroom

Morning Meeting Ideas Expectations 

As with everything 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 allow the morning meeting to flow and, more importantly, teach 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 serve to remind students of our expectations.

Every student participates 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 must to be a good listener.  ELL students 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 I see is my students’ communication skills.  95% of my students are ELL, and most enter the classroom with little English.  The meeting allows them to acquire language and practice speaking daily.   My students consistently receive compliments on their ability to have conversations with each other and adults, thanks to our focus on communication skills.  It’s not uncommon for an adult to speak to my students in the hallway, and they 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

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:

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If you’re looking for resources for morning meeting ideas, grab our Morning Meeting Bundle:

For more morning meeting ideas and information,  check out these posts:

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