After seven (or eight?!) years of teaching, I can honestly say that it has been tweaked each and every year to fit the makeup of our class and the style of my kids. Some years, there are carpet seating assignments, other years, none. Some years we share boy-girl, other years we just let it flow. What is nice, though, is that the structure of our meetings remains the same and provides a predictable place for students to gather, share and get ready for our day ahead.
Some of my very handy resources (that I still go back and reread/rewatch each summer) include:
1. The Responsive Classroom's Morning Meeting Book:
2. This Morning Meeting video from Teaching Channel:
Our meetings are always student-led. I model for Week 1 and then get it into the students' hands as soon as possible. I then become a member of the class and circle . We have a Morning Meeting bucket that holds our questions and talking object (in our case, a fun ball) close to my chair in the Meeting Area where our Meeting Leader sits.
|The powerful Morning Meeting talking ball :)|
Our Morning Meeting is broken into five parts- I know that sounds like a lot and you would never be able to fit it all in first thing, but it can be done, I promise! Start slow and add parts throughout the week or month and then extend the length of each part gradually. As your students get more accustomed to the structure, the pace will pick up and you will be able to get through more (especially the Good News/Bad News part).
First, I have the class recite our Class Rules from Whole Brain Teaching and use motions when they say them. Every Friday, the last day of our Meeting Leader's "reign", they will choose a silly voice in which to say the rules. For example, slow, fast, like a robot, like your mouth was full of food, all that fun stuff :)
Next, I use the self-reflection strategy from Ms. Noonan above. I lead it, I didn't have the kids lead it since we added this later in our year, but I would love to have the Meeting Leader do this next year. Sometimes I will tailor it to our day. For example, if we are doing research, "What is one thing you did well as a researcher yesterday and what's one goal you have as a researcher today?" It's a nice way for me to get them to set goals based on what I know we are going to work on. The Meeting Leader will choose a few volunteers to share their reflections and pass the ball to them since no one is allowed to speak unless you have the talking object/ball.
After that, the Meeting Leader will choose a question from our Morning Meeting Questions bucket and read it aloud to the class.
Once the ball gets back to the Meeting Leader, it's time for Good News/Bad News. This is the highlight :) Students raise their hand if they want to share and the Meeting Leader tosses them the ball. They can share a short, recent event that happened and then the class is allowed to ask 2 questions of them. They will then pass the ball to another person who wants to share, and so on.
I will let this continue until we are out of time and then I take over the meeting with the Word of the Day. Because the kids have not yet had a transition, this is the perfect time to introduce it and have all of the kids in one spot to do so.
Quick note- I will often have the Meeting Leader look for three students who are showing respect and following all of the rules during Morning Meeting. Those three students are named at the end and they are the first ones to clip up for the day (very cool- my kids ALWAYS remind me if I forget!)
**UPDATE: My new & improved Morning Meeting Packet description can be found HERE.**
- Morning Meeting poster with all five parts- a very handy reference for the Meeting Leader
- 7 pages (!!) of questions to cut into strips and place in the bucket for a new question each day (if you do a meeting each day, you may need to print out two sets- I usually have to reprint some about 2/3 of the way through the year)
- Morning Meeting Questions label for your bucket/bin/basket that will hold your questions and talking object