Friday, July 19, 2019

Morning Meeting

In recent years, Morning Meeting has become my favorite part of the day.  I believe it's because I put more effort into learning about it and making it a meaningful time for my students.  You see, when I first started teaching, I did a daily Morning Message, but that was it.  Then as years went on, I would add in a few things until I had basically created a Morning Meeting time.  Three summers ago, I read a great book, shown below (affiliate link), about the Meeting.  It helped clarify why I was doing what I was doing and helped me streamline the components of the Meeting.  Today I am going to share with you how I run Morning Meeting.  I do try to follow the recommendations as much as possible, but I also like to include a few of my own things.  The Morning Meeting should last 20-30 minutes.  I will break down the time frames for each component below.  At the end of this post, I have linked all of my Morning Meeting products, including a FREE planning pages pack, to help you organize your Meetings!

Component 1: The Greeting (5-7 minutes)

The first component of the Meeting is the Greeting and the first thing you want to teach is MANNERS!  Just like adults, kids need to know that it's polite to smile, look into someone's eyes, and greet them in a voice loud enough for others to hear.  Practice and model this often.  Remind kids daily on what to do.  Show them what NOT to do.  

At the start of the year, the Greeting should be done whole-group.  Think kids sitting or standing in a circle and passing a greeting around.

The way the kids greet one another is what changes each day.  There are all sorts of greetings out there.  You can even make up your own!  Some of my favorites are pass the ball (students roll a ball to a friend and say good morning), silly voices (students pass a cup of name sticks, pull one, and greet the chosen child in a silly voice), and fist bump (self-explanatory).  I have compiled some of my favorite greetings into a little pack of cards so that I can have them handy each day.  There is no scrambling around to choose a greeting.  As time goes on, your kids can become more independent with the Greeting, but it still needs to be explicitly taught, modeled, and monitored...give kids free reign and they will go wild!  One of my favorite ways to teach this is by giving the kids something to be accountable for.  For example, I might say, "Your greeting today will be a friendly handshake (model).  You will find a buddy, shake their hand, look into their eyes, and say Good Morning (model).  Then, you will ask them how they are (model).  Finally, you will ask them what they did last night (model).  You will be sharing with the class, so pay careful attention to what your partner told you!"  After everyone has had a chance to greet one another and find out about each other's nights, I call the class back together.  I pull name sticks and ask the chosen name who they greeted and what they told them about their night.  Another thing I like to do for a Greeting is to pass out my Emoji Matching Cards and ask students to find their match and greet their friend by saying hello and answering a specific question (What's your favorite color/animal/subject/etc...).  Afterwards, I pull the class back together and repeat the accountability process as mentioned with the friendly handshake greeting.

Be sure to keep the Greeting fun and interesting all year long!  You can even start having your kids choose the Greeting each day!

**I also have this little Greeting poster that can be placed by your door to greet students as they arrive.  It can also be used for Morning Meeting!**

Component 2: The Message (10 minutes)
The second component of the Meeting is the Morning Message.  This is where you either write out (on chart paper or dry erase board) or type out/project a message/letter to your class about the day.  Kids thrive on predictability and LOVE hearing about what they will be doing each day!  You can be as creative or as basic as you want with the message.  I personally love hand-writing the Message each day.  I change up marker colors for each sentence to make the Message more visually appealing.  At the start of the year, keep the Message short and to the point.  As time goes on, you can add more sentences and make your Message longer.  I also enjoy incorporating some academic content into my Messages.  This can be as simple or as involved as you want.  Depending on what we are working on, I may leave out letters, words, punctuation, etc...I may also add some Math facts to the bottom of my Message as a spiral review.  The kids are obsessed with coming up and sharing the pen with me!  **MR. SKETCH markers are always a class-favorite!  Worried about mistakes?  I got you covered!  The Post-It Cover Up Tape is amazing!  I've linked it for you below (affiliate link). Once I have first read the Message to the class, we re-read it in an echo-reading format.  This ensures that I am modeling fluent reading.  As the year goes on, I call kids to come up and read the Message for us to echo, using a fun pointer.  They have a ball with that!

Morning Message Essentials!
(affiliate links)

Here's a super-fun tip:  because I write my Messages on chart paper, I hate to throw them away, so when I finish a spiral tablet, I rip the pages out and send them home with the kids.  They LOVE playing school and reading them at home.  By the end of the year, each child has received quite a few!  **The parents tell me the kids have a blast with them! 

Component 3: The Game/Activity (10 minutes)
The third component of the Meeting is the Game or Activity.  This can be as simple or as involved as you'd like.  The main thing is to have the whole class involved.  Some of my favorite games are "Who's Missing," a game where one person goes into the hallway and another person hides.  The class moves around to change where they are sitting and the person in the hallway comes back inside the room.  He/she has to guess who is missing from the group.  I also enjoy playing "I Have, Who Has" with my kids.  It's great for speaking/listening and vocabulary development.  I have compiled some of my favorite games into a little pack of cards so that I can have them handy each day.  

*I'm going to be perfectly honest here and say that many days, I do a read-aloud instead or in addition to a game.  This does extend the length of my Meeting by about 10 minutes, and I am ok with it.  I usually give a Go Noodle brain break before the read-aloud to get the kids up and moving.  Other than our after recess Junie B. Jones chapter-reading, my kids don't get to hear a story for enjoyment.  I also have so many great holiday read-aloud books that I love to share with my students!  Because of this, I choose to use part of my Morning Meeting time to incorporate a read-aloud.  

Component 4: The Share (5-10 minutes)

The fourth and final component of Morning Meeting is the Sharing.  I prefer to do this round robin for most of the year in first grade.  I have the class sit in a circle and I give them a sentence stem to start.  For example, "Over the weekend I __________________" is a typically Monday morning share for us.  Sentence stems help kids who may have anxiety about speaking aloud.  They also help students who are slow processors.  The stem takes a lot of the think time away and allows students to focus on just a few words about what it is they want to share.  Some other examples of sharing round-robin are "My favorite color is________," "I have ________ pets," "I have ______siblings" etc...The possibilities are endless!  You can also incorporate academic content into sharing.  For example, "Share one thing you learned about _________ yesterday."

As the year progresses, and for me I typically wait until 3-4 quarter, the share can become more independent.  I model this the first few times, sharing various events or things that are special to ma and allow kids to ask me questions about what I've shared.  When the class is ready, I choose one child to share and sit in the "share chair" aka my chair.  They can share a few sentences about whatever they would like.  Their share is followed by questioning from their peers.  The students in the class are taught how to ask open "yes/no" questions.  *I got that tip from my awesome teammate, Jenna!  I post questions for students as a guide (they come in my sharing cards pack).

I also have a sharing organizer that I prefer to send home the night prior to a child sharing.  This gives them a chance to think about and draw/write what they want to share.  It helps alleviate anxiety and creates predictability.  

I hope this post has been helpful!  Everything I mentioned above is available for individual purchase as well as bundled to save you some money!  Feel free to click the images below to view each product.



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