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“Morning Meeting” is a great time to get to know your students, allow students to get to know their peers, and spend quality time together that is outside of academics.
Here’s how it works:
- Check In: Greet your students and briefly share something exciting, important or interesting going on in your own life. (Aside from teaching, that is…because, yes, we really do have lives outside of these four walls….right??)
- Agenda Box: Throughout the day, students are given the opportunity to write down instances and conflicts that occurred with their classmates. Then, if they weren’t able to resolve them on their own, the teacher can open them up for class discussion during Morning Meeting. The teacher talks with each student involved and asks questions about how it made them feel, why they did it, what they could do instead, etc. The other peers also discuss ways to help those who were involved, and they work together to come up with ways to prevent such instances from happening again. This creates a sense of teamwork among peers and allows students to realize that they can work through conflicts with others.
- Daily Details: Go over the schedule for the day. Any special programs or deviations from the regular routine? Being able to work out the small things, early on, can make for more time throughout the day that you don’t have to deal with them.
- Temperature Readings: Students go around the circle and give their “temperature” reading. On a scale of 1 to 10 (or 1 to 3 for younger grades), students pick the number that describes them that day (1 being not so great, 10 being fabulous.) For younger students, you may even display illustrations along with this: a sad face for rating 1, straight face for rating 2, and happy face for rating 3. One rule: students must speak in complete sentences. This allows everyone to discuss their feelings and know exactly where everyone is coming from before the day really starts.
- Compliments: Students are given the opportunity to raise their hand and have a Koosh ball (or other soft ball) thrown to them in order to speak. Students must not speak unless they are holding the ball. Once the ball is in their possession, they are able to give someone a compliment. For example, “I want to compliment Jackson for holding the door for the class yesterday without being asked” or “I want to compliment Alexis for sharing her crayons with me.” This is a good way for students to learn to say (and notice!) positive things–and friendships are forged. Encourage students to find compliments for everyone and not just their friends. Students soon become aware of how it feels to receive a compliment and hopefully how well it feels to give one, knowing they made someone else feel happy.
Of course, Morning Meeting is a flexible time that can be adapted for each class’s (and teacher’s) personality. The goal is simply to start the day on the right foot…as a community.
Kelli Lewis is an Early Childhood Education graduate student at the University of Georgia.