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Morning Meeting

Morning Meeting – Part 3 – Share

Morning Meeting
I’m back for Part 3 of my introduction to Morning Meeting. If you missed my intro to Morning Meeting, click here. If you missed Part 2 about Morning Meeting Greeting, click here.
Today I’m going to share (pun intended) about the share component of Morning Meeting.  Share is the second activity that happens each day. Sharing is a vital part of Morning Meeting for two reason:
1. Great way to build community in the classroom
2. Promotes listening and speaking skills
Share builds community because it provides students a chance to get to know each other better. Each day/week students are sharing things about their personal lives, thoughts, feelings, etc with each other and getting to know each other on a deeper level. I have seen many new friendships form out of share time.  For example, this year I had a new student in January who struggled a bit with making friends. Her dramatic flair sometimes confused the other kids and being new in the middle of the year wasn’t easy. Through share we found out that she actually went to the same acting school as another student and they bonded over that.  That is just one example, but the questions (which you’ll see below) allow students to continue to get to know each other over the whole school year, not just the first week or two.
Speaking and listening skills are super important in the classroom and important skills to be learning to join the workforce someday.  During share, one student is sharing with the class.  This students needs to make sure they are prepared to share, they are using a clear, loud speaking voice, making eye contact with their audience, and staying on topic. These are all important life skills.  The audience needs to be a good listener, needs to be looking at the speaker, and needs to be thinking of questions they could ask when the speaker is finished.  These skills aren’t skills kids just pick up and know how to do…they need to be explicitly taught these.
The first few weeks of school, I do share whole group and each student shares each day. On these days, we practice being a good listener, but we don’t add in the question component just yet.  Topics range from: favorite lunch food, something you did over the summer, favorite book, favorite color, song, etc.  These are quick topics, but are a great way to begin getting to know each other and also to practice sharing with the group.
After the first few weeks, I developed a schedule.  Every Monday, everyone shared about their weekend.  This is an important thing to do because even if you don’t allow share time…all students want to tell you what they did over their weekend, so you might as well build it in.  Tuesday-Friday, I had 4-5 students share each day.  This was their share day the whole year. For example, Brie knew that she always went on Tuesday. No matter what – Tuesday was her day.
So, every Friday I would email parents and tell the students what the share topic was for the following week. This way everyone had time to prepare and kids would be ready to go on their scheduled day.  I found this worked very well for me and kids really took this seriously.  Some kids even made posters and brought in different items to share with us (which was totally ok with me).
Here are some share topics I used throughout the year:
  • Bring in your favorite book
  • Share with us about your family
  • Tell us about your pets or if you don’t have one what pet would you like to have
  • Tell us about your favorite birthday celebration
  • What do you like to do after school
  • What is your biggest accomplishment
  • Tell us how your family celebrates – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc
  • What did you do over winter break
  • Tell us about a special gift you have received
  • Tell us how you have helped others in need
  • Free Share (students could bring in or share anything they wanted as long as it was school appropriate)
The topic ideas are endless. If you Google share topics, you will find millions of them out there! During the Tuesday-Friday scheduled share, each student had a few minutes to share about that week’s topic.  They could just talk about the topic or they could also bring something in to show us about the topic. All things had to be school appropriate (yes I had to mention this, as I had a student bring in a bow and arrow – a real one, which was locked in my teacher closet the rest of the day lol).  After the student shares, I had two students (audience members) ask a question to the presenter about something they presented.  Before we started this, we had to go over what a “good” question was.  This takes some practice, but is an important lifelong skill that is good to start working on early.  Then, after the student answered the question, we would clap and then move on to the next student on the schedule. Share is one of my favorite parts of Morning Meeting. It gives me a chance to learn more about each student. I always have them fill out those questionnaires as we go back to school, but it’s nice to continue to get to know them throughout the year. I love hearing about what their involved in outside of school.  I can ask Aksel and Jordan how their basketball game was on Saturday.  I can tell Jenny good luck in her play this weekend. It really helps you build a connection with students and as we know, the better connection you have, the more you will get from them in the classroom. Thanks for checking out my thoughts on Sharing with Morning Meeting. Next week, I will have Part 4 about the Activity part of Morning Meeting.

FREE Morning Meeting Planner

Picture of Morning Meeting Schedule
Being the planner that I am, I found that I was needing something to organize my Morning Meetings to make them easier to use and remember from year to year. I created this planning page to help me stay on track and plan out my weekly meetings. This is a FREEBIE that you can sign up for HERE. In addition the planner, you’ll also get a cheat sheet with a few ideas for each of the Morning Meeting components. Enjoy!

Morning Meeting – Part 2 – Greeting

Morning Meeting
I’m back for my 2nd part of my Morning Meeting series. If you missed the introduction to Morning Meeting you can find that here.
The first component of Morning Meeting is greeting.  Greeting is quick part, but a very important one – one you don’t want to skip.  Greeting gives all students a chance to greet each other and welcome each other as we start another day together. It also gives you a chance to greet students and see how each student is feeling and what mood they might be in to start the day.  It makes every student feel important and shows that you know they are there and they exist.  Some students don’t hear good morning or hello or their name until they’re at school. It’s important that we make kids feel important and a quick greeting, “Good morning, Susie,” is a great way to do that.
Greeting also teaches important social skills. I spent a lot of time at the beginning of the year practicing and modeling what a “good” greeting looked like.  We talked about how to shake hands firmly (not too firm lol).  We looked each other in the eye and we greeted students by name.  This is the most basic greeting, but one that will benefit students throughout life.
Here are some of my favorite greetings that we did this year:
Regular, Quick Greetings –
  • Handshake
  • Fist bump
  • High five
  • Wave
Foreign Language Greeting – Students greet each other using a foreign language. For example, Buenos dias Matt,  Bonjour Cindy, etc
Formal Greeting – Greet students with a handshake and use their last name. For example, Good morning, Mr. Ferry or Good morning, Miss Wagner. Silent Greeting – Students have to figure out a way to silently greet each other. GoNoodle Greetings – My students love doing some of the different handshakes from the KooKoo Kangaroo secret handshakes video.  They love the ice cream cone, squirrel, the lumberjack one.
Ball Toss Greeting – Stand in a circle and have one person start with the ball.  The person tosses the ball across the circle wishing good morning to who they passed it to.  This continues until all students have had a turn. To add a challenge, we’ve used two or three balls.  We start with one and add in more.  When adding more, kids have to pass to the same student each time.
Mirror Greeting – Student completes an action (dance move, silly pose,etc) and says “Hello, my name is Jordan.”  The other students mirror the action and say “Good morning Jordan.”
Snowball Greeting – Hand each student a paper and have them write their first name on the paper.  Then, once in the Morning Meeting circle have students crumple up their paper like a snowball.  Next, they throw their “snowball” in the middle of the circle. They all grab one and that is who they greet.  Can repeat a few times. Those are just a few ideas. There are billions out there on Pinterest, in the Morning Meeting book, and the kids come up with great ones too.  Towards the end of the year, I had each student come up with their own greeting and write it on an index card. Then, each day I picked a different card and that student got to teach us their greeting. They were very creative! Anyone else have any greeting ideas or class favorites?

FREE Morning Meeting Planner

Picture of Morning Meeting Schedule
Being the planner that I am, I found that I was needing something to organize my Morning Meetings to make them easier to use and remember from year to year. I created this planning page to help me stay on track and plan out my weekly meetings. This is a FREEBIE that you can sign up for HERE. In addition the planner, you’ll also get a cheat sheet with a few ideas for each of the Morning Meeting components. Enjoy!

Morning Meeting – Intro – Part 1

Morning Meeting
I’ve decided to write a little blog series on Morning Meeting.  It’s an great way to start the day and has many other positives which you will read about below. The results of Morning Meeting are quite magical and I’m so grateful my school has this as one of their programs. Part 1 will give an overview of the four components of Morning Meeting and also my opinion of the positives to conducting Morning Meeting every day. Morning Meeting is a part of Responsive Classroom.  Morning Meeting is not necessarily a program, but a philosophy of how to start each and every school day. I had always wanted to do something like this, but could never find the time.  I’m lucky that at my current school they dedicate the first 25-30 minutes each day to Morning Meeting in every grade (preschool – 8th grade). Here is a book with many Morning Meeting ideas… In my classroom, Morning Meeting starts after students unpack and attendance is taken. School starts at 8:00 so I aim to start it around 8:05.  It lasts about 20-30 minutes depending on the day and our schedule.  Students and teacher sit in a circle either in chairs or on the floor. I prefer the kids sitting on the floor especially since I teach 2nd grade. The four components of Morning Meeting are: greeting, share, activity, and morning message. It is important to complete all four parts as they go together and also important to complete them in the correct order. The greeting gives everyone a chance to say hi to each other and gets the students pumped up. The share brings things down a notch and focuses on listening and speaking skills. The activity gets kids moving again and then morning message slows things down and gets kids focused before we start into the rest of our day. Here are some huge positives to Morning Meeting:
  • Morning Meeting is a positive way to start the day. Gets every student engaged and provides teachers a chance to take the temperature of the room. You can see whose a little tired, whose fired up, who might not be feeling well, etc.  Getting this vital info about your students each day right away can help you make choices to make the day successful for all.
  • Morning Meeting is empowering.  Greeting starts off with students greeting each other by name.  This gives kids a chance to feel welcomed to school and each student feels important.
  • Share gives students an opportunity to practice listening and speaking skills. These skills are a part of standards, but also important work skills for the future.
  • The activity focuses on curriculum but in a fun way – group activities, games, etc.
  • Morning message also focuses on the academics and again provides each student with a chance to respond to a message or question.
  • This eases everyone into the today and really gives a sense of classroom community.  It takes build-up at the beginning of the year, but by the end of the year your kids can run it.
  • It’s a great way for your kids to get to know each other and find common interests. Share has been an important part of that. Through share some of my students found that they have similar interests with kids that they didn’t think they had things in common with before.  This is great for building new friendships and helping classroom community.
  • Morning Meeting is a great way to address concerns and problems in the classroom.  This past year students had some difficulty at recess playing with some of the equipment we had out there.  I used Morning Meeting as an opportunity to share and discuss the issues and also work with the kids on how to come up with a good solution.
Those were just a few of my positive take-aways. I’m a huge believer in Morning Meeting and will be sharing ideas for the different components over the next few weeks. Stay tuned…next up – Morning Meeting Greeting… Thanks for stopping by!

FREE Morning Meeting Planner

Picture of Morning Meeting Schedule
Being the planner that I am, I found that I was needing something to organize my Morning Meetings to make them easier to use and remember from year to year. I created this planning page to help me stay on track and plan out my weekly meetings. This is a FREEBIE that you can sign up for HERE. In addition the planner, you’ll also get a cheat sheet with a few ideas for each of the Morning Meeting components. Enjoy!  
 

Dr. Seuss Quotes

Morning Meeting, Reading
So I’m aware it’s been forever again. Between teaching, wedding planning, and my fiancée’s basketball coaching schedule, blogging has taken a back seat. I’ll try to be better, but I can’t promise anything lol.
For reading week, I decided to tie Dr. Seuss into morning message and morning meeting. I’m a huge fan of his quotes and think people of all ages can relate to them. So I decided to use a Dr. Seuss quote for morning message during reading week. Students read the quote and on the post-it notes explain what the quote means to them. I’ve been very impressed with their answers. 
Here’s Day #1
Here’s Day #2-

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