Our morning meeting series concludes with the final component of the morning meeting: the morning message. The morning message is the fourth and final piece of the morning meeting and follows the greeting, sharing and activity.
What Is The Morning Message?
The morning message is simply the plan for the day. The morning message lets students know what is happening each day. It provides them much needed structure and routine and gives them a heads up about changes in schedule or new things happening. The message can also give them some insight into what they will learn that day. And the morning message provides some academic instruction as well.
The Morning Message Components
The morning message has 5 components: greeting, date, message, closing and the interactive game/writing.
The greeting stays the same all year long. This provides lots of scaffolding and opportunity to build fluency. Because I call my kid my “mustaches” our greeting says: Good Morning Mr. Greg’s Mustaches! And yes, you should give your class a name because it builds community and reinforces the idea that they belong to something special.
The date of course is the date. This helps with days of the week, months of the year, and numbers.
The message is that we let the kids know what’s happening each day. I write the message part in two ways: one is straightforward and clear. The other one provides a bit of mystery and excitement. This helps excite us for the day and keeps us interested in what might be happening. It also provides lots of opportunities for prediction which is great for engagement. For example: during our arctic animal research project, I wrote: “Today we will eat a polar bear!” Of course, it was ice cream but it made for great fun all day as the kids were grossed out by the polar bear and wanted to know where it was hiding! Once we learn several sight words and sounds, the students can start reading the message on their own, especially with scaffolding. As the year goes on the goal is to have them read the message independently.
The closing is always the same: Love, Mr. Greg
The interactive piece is when we really pull in academics. For this piece, I follow a schedule. Monday and Tuesday is always a literacy activity. Wednesday and Thursday is always a math activity. And Friday is always nouns and verbs.
Interactive Writing: Share The Pen
One of the biggest benefits of the morning message, besides providing our students with the structure for the day, is sharing the pen and giving the students the power to fill in the morning message. After a couple of weeks of school, I replace a word with a blank. I always start with the word “GOOD” in the greeting. The students can provide the word and we can learn to spell the word. As they spell, I write the word. Then we might leave another blank or two. Once the students have a solid foundation of the missing words and I feel they’re ready, I turn over the pen and the writing to the students. So instead of Mr. Greg filling in the blanks, the kids do it. The whole group provides the words and spelling and the student writes the word. This provides lots of engagement and keeps everyone involved.
Eventually, our morning messages look like this. NOTE: to make the morning meeting more efficient, we no longer leave the blank lines for my name in the greeting and there are no blank lines for the closing. The message is written but almost everything else is blank. The students have near-complete ownership. This is the ultimate goal and really starts to happen in October or so. Then by January, I remove myself completely from the morning message component. When it’s time to do the morning message, I sit down in the circle and allow the students to lead. I return to the morning message for the interactive component as needed.
Morning Message Tips And Tricks
So, who do you choose to write the morning message? Because we all know our kids are going to fight over the job. Simple. Our Boss Of The Day does the writing. No arguing. Everyone can see the class list and know when it’s their turn. For more on our Boss Of The Day in this post! And the boss of the day gets to take the message home at the end of the day. They wrote it so it makes sense that they own it!
Sight words are a huge piece of the morning message so why not highlight those? After the boss of the day fills in the greeting and the date, I call on students to RUN to the message and I tell them the sight word to find. They circle it and the whole class reads the word. We get daily practice with sight words in print and daily practice building sight word fluency. When doing this we also segment the sounds in the words and spell the words.
Write your morning message at the end of the day so it’s ready for the next day. This means one less thing to worry about in the morning! And it helps me shift focus to preparing for the next day.
We always do our morning message on chart paper. Yes, it’s a lot of chart paper. But our kids need the experience of using markers and paper. Not everything has to be digital. Sure, you can the morning message on an interactive whiteboard and it works fine but it’s not the same experience as chart paper and markers!
Speaking of chart paper, I get mine from Classroom Direct for around $6. This year I switched to chart paper with grids instead of lines. This has worked great for all of our anchor charts. Click the images to visit the website to order.
For more information, details, and resources for morning meeting, check out these posts: