Saturday, June 2, 2012

Starting Our Day With Morning Meeting

**UPDATE: My new & improved Morning Meeting Packet description can be found HERE.**


One of my most favorite parts of the day happens right when the first bell rings and school begins: Morning Meeting! I have had a Morning Meeting ever since my student teaching days when my amazing mentor teacher implemented one with our second grade class.

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:
This is a fantastic book, especially if you are a K-2 teacher, but there are also many, many resources for all K-5 teachers. Everything about setting it up, keeping it interesting, and more are inside.

2. This Morning Meeting video from Teaching Channel:
I love this video for so many reasons and have found that many of its pieces and parts fit so well into my own Morning Meeting.

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 :)
We start the year with assigned seats in a circle/oval. The concept of a circle is very important and I stress that with my kids. We should all be able to see and hear each other easily. This means a Level 3 (Classroom) Voice when you are sharing and a Level 0 (Silent) Voice when you are listening and making sure we are sitting in a circle with people on your right and left included. I will sometimes remove the assigned seats, sometimes not. This year, my kids really liked the assigned seats because they said it made it easy for them in the morning to get to a spot quickly, so we kept them :)

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.

They are silly questions of a wide, wide variety (7 pages worth!) and just get them thinking about something fun first thing in the morning. For example, "What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?" or "If you could change one thing about the school, what would it be?" The Meeting Leader then greets the person next to them and passes them the ball. That person will greet the Meeting Leader, answer the question, then greet the person on their other side. This continues all around the class, greeting each person on either side and answering the question. If they would rather not answer, they can pass, but they do need to greet both people.

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.**

Are you interested in Morning Meeting this way? I have included all you will need to get it started in my TpT Store including:
  • 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
Do you use Morning Meeting in your classes? I'd love to hear how you do it- there are so many wonderful ways out there!

29 comments:

  1. About 5 years ago we were told we would have morning meetings at our school. Rather reluctantly, I did it. What a difference it makes! We used the same book that you refered to, and it has great ideas! I'll continue morning meetings as long as I teach! Thanks for sharing your structure. Always good to get fresh ideas.

    samlladventuresofthirdgrade.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Joyce,

      I totally agree- the difference it makes is alarming! I love when we can start the day by coming together in this format- I, too, would never teach any other way :)

      Thanks for your comment!

      ~Stephanie

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  2. Thank you for being so thorough - I think I can now have a productive morning meeting with my class that I won't dread! I will be heading over to yor TpT store right away and pick this up!

    :D. Angie

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    1. Hi Angie,

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment- I am so excited for you and can't wait to hear how it goes. It is honestly the bestest way to start the day :)

      Take care!

      ~Stephanie

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  3. I just wanted to let you know that everything I want to use in my classroom you use! I am going to be a first year teacher in the fall and your blog is my guide! Thanks!

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    1. Ohmagoodness, Ashley, you are so kind!! Your comment made my day :) :)

      Thanks so so much and keep me posted on getting ready for your first year!

      ~Stephanie

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  4. Do you think this would still be productive to do later in the morning? Our school is starting a school wide reading program next year and my students will most likely leave as soon as they check in with me for attendance.

    Lorena

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    1. Hi Lorena,

      I think you could definitely do this any time of day- even at the end of the day. I have found that if I establish a certain time as Meeting time, the kids follow along. One year, we had reading right away and I ended doing this after lunch- it totally worked!

      If kids know tht as soon as reading is over they transition into a circle for meeting time, then over the course of the weeks it will become routine. Your goals could center around the rest of the day and it would be a great recentering activity for your class, especially if they split up to go to different classrooms for the reading time.

      I hope that helps- thanks for your comment!

      ~Stephanie

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  5. Stephanie,
    Thanks for sharing this. I am SO going to do Morning Meeting with my 4th graders next year! This just might be the piece that has been missing from my classroom.
    Teresa
    Confessions of a Teaching Junkie
    Find me on Facebook!
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  6. Thanks for sharing! I have always wanted to do a morning meeting but we have always had to start out the day right away with math! No time:( Hopefully next year I can have time!

    I love your blog! Always look forward to your posts! Come check me out! I am having my very first give-a-way!

    Tonya
    Tonya’s Treats for Teachers

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    1. Thanks, Tonya :) I hope you can find the time, too- even if you start with a few pieces, or do it every other day, it's soooo worth the time!

      ~Stephanie

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  7. Morning Meeting is my favorite part of the day. After reading your post, I think I'm going to make more student-centered. Thanks!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

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    1. That's awesome, Sara! Thanks so much for your comment :)

      ~Stephanie

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  8. I love it! I'm moving to third grade next year and can't wait to use this. I did a morning message when I taught second grade, and I've missed that special time since I moved to fourth. Thanks for sharing your hard work with us!

    Megan
    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

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  9. I LOVE this! I pinned it and hope to use this next year. =)

    Ms. Smith
    Adventures of Ms. Smith

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    1. Thanks so much & have fun with it next year!!

      ~Stephanie

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  10. This is really impressive Stephanie! I love how you have organized your meetings. I really need to work on mine...they used to be pretty good but then we started new curriculum in three different subjects and I feel like I got kind of lost. I will definitely be referring back to this, thank you so much!

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    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Kristen. Let me know how it goes- even doing it just once a week is so much fun!!

      Is it summer for you yet? I hope so :)

      ~Stephanie

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  11. Thank you for such a thorough description of the Morning Meeting :)

    I've got a quick question for you. I'm teaching three different classes next year (90 minutes each for math). Do you think this is something I could do at the start of each block? (The other teachers and my school are not doing WBT or morning meetings.)

    Elizabeth
    Fun in Room 4B

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    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for your comment! It can be hard being the only one in your school trying to implement WBT and Morning Meeting- that's such a HUGE benefit of blogging- it's like we're all on one big team in one big school :)

      I would definitely recommend WBT all day, every day in your classes.

      As for Morning Meeting, what if you shortened it down to a few steps and then one day per week, do the complete Morning Meeting?

      The steps I would definitely keep are the rules, the goal setting, and the greeting. Maybe they could share their goals as the ball went around the circle for greeting? You could also mix it up with a question, since most of them elicit super-short responses. End with Word of the Day, which could directly relate to a concept they would be learning. Then, on Friday for example, you could do the full reflection, a question, and good news-bad news.

      Let me know if you have any questions and I would love to know how this works for your class. I'm excited for your WBT journey, too! All of these pieces combined made my class such a special place last year :)

      Take care!

      ~Stephanie

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  12. Hi Stephanie and Readers! I have been doing RC for years now and always... always... always include a group activity just about every day. To me, THIS is the most important part of the meeting - 2nd none to the greeting which sets the tone for the day. The group activty is usually just a fun 5(ish) minute team building time...sometimes related to the curriculum (ex: I have...who has)...sometimes not related to the curriculum but has a specific social lesson attached(there are tons of game ideas on the web...just google "camp games" and you will be amazed!!!). Sometimes there's a "winner" who becomes the first person chosen for the next days activity...sometimes we all "win"!!! I wouldn't have a meeting without this component...even if I could only do it 2 or 3 times a week...or at the end of the day (which I have done when the time alloted in the morning does not allow for a 20 minute block of meeting time). I always put it after sharing, then go right into News & Announcements which brings the focus back to the important things we will be doing during our day. I love Morning Meeting and encourage anyone who has not implemented this into their day to check it out! Thanks for posting your ideas Stephanie! I love the Word of the Day... Kristen

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  13. I'm off to get this now. I came into 2nd mid-year (last year) so this will be my first full year. We did class meetings once a week (if time allowed) ...will be making it a priority this year! LOVE all the info you share on your blog. Very valuable to this new teacher :)

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  14. We have a "big news" board that kids can sign up to share during our morning meeting. In second grade big news is anything from a loose tooth to a birthday but we say it has to be something exciting so we start the day off happy. That way it doesnt turn into complaining and sad stories. :)

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  15. Hey - I just found your blog today as I have been "surfing" the net to get ideas for my classroom this year. I will be teaching a grade 2/3 class for the first time! I think the morning meeting sounds great - can you give me an idea of how long it takes a grade three class to do? I have been teaching grade one the past 2 years and feel like every time I tried to do a meeting like this it went on FOREVER! I know you have to add parts at a time to build up to the whole thing, but I just don't know if I would have enough time in the day to do it! Can you offer any advice?

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  16. I am preparing to teach third grade again this year and I so LOVE this idea. I think I will try to use it this year and just start off super simple and let it naturally evolve into covering whatever our class needs (could be a good time for some character ed, too. For example, say there is a problem with bullying in the class--use this time to discuss it, read a book about bullying, etc.) Also a great place for students to share life events so we can support each other! Love love love this! And we teachers think morning meeting is just for kindergarteners :)

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  17. I love the idea of having a morning meeting! I teach a 3rd grade advanced/cluster class and a morning meeting will provide a great start to our day. I love the word of the day and the good/bad news. These two parts will really unite my various ability groups and create a strong sense of community! I am a new follower and just started my own blog! Visit me at www.teachinha.blogspot.com!

    BELIEVE & ACHIEVE
    Susan

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  18. The first grade teachers at my school used Morning Meeting & Responsive Classroom the past few years. This year in 2nd grade we are implementing this as well. I am still a little unsure as to how I can incorporate calendar into this in the morning. We usually start off doing the calendar, weather, days in school, etc. & then get into the morning meeting components, but I was thinking it may be best to start with the greeting before calendar. Any thoughts or suggestions on how to combine calendar & morning meeting? Thanks!

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Thank you so much for your comments! :)
~Stephanie

3rd Grade Thoughts - Widget
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