10 March 2018

Your Morning Meeting Questions Answered

Ask me about my favorite part of our school day? Morning Meeting.

What (do I believe) has the biggest impact on my classroom culture/community? Morning Meeting.

How do I build relationships with 25 different students? Morning Meeting.

Where do I find the time for my students to build relationships with their peers? Morning Meeting.

How do I incorporate, teach, reinforce, and practice 21st century speaking and listening skills? Morning Meeting.

How do I meet my students' need for problem solving and social emotional development? Morning Meeting.
I cannot imagine my school day without beginning with morning meeting. It's literally the first thing that happens on the first day of school, and it sets the tone for the entire year.

But here are some common questions I get asked:
  • What is morning meeting?
  • What do you do in morning meeting?
  • How long does morning meeting last?
  • How can do you afford to spend time on morning meeting?
  • What are the benefits of morning meeting?
Let's take them one by one.
What is Morning Meeting?

Morning Meeting is an engaging, collaborative, interactive, and follows a familiar structure daily. Incorporating social emotional needs with academics, morning meeting is a 20-30 minute way to start each day as a community of learners (teacher included).

What do you do in Morning Meeting?

We (me included) sit in a circle, greet each other by name, share, sing, read, play a silly game, and participate in morning message. 
  • Greeting: We always start by greeting each other by name. This is where I teach my students to make eye contact, speak clearly, and give a firm handshake. We move beyond a traditional greeting once they've mastered the handshake (with the correct hand). Below is an example of our "elbow shake" and butterfly greeting (imagine the fingers wiggling slightly).
  • Sharing: This is perhaps the part of morning meeting I love most. Here, my students learn how to listen, not just speak. They learn how to answer a question orally with a complete thought not just an answer. It's where we are imaginative, creative, compassionate, and reflective. About two years ago, I came up with discussion starters as a way to have meaningful conversations with my class that didn't require to me "think" each morning of a way to get us started.

  • Group Activity: This is most flexible part of morning meeting because there are so many different activities to do with your class. We sing, read poems, play a class game, dance, learn a new yoga pose - there's no limit here.
  • Morning Message: Each morning there's an interactive message written to my students that incorporates some aspect of our day, or something from a previous day. We read it together as a class and then discuss the responses.

How long does Morning Meeting last?

Our morning meeting lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. It really just depends on the flow of our discussion and activity, and I try really, really, really hard not to rush it (although it's hard sometimes). 

How can you afford to spend that kind of time on Morning Meeting?

The real question is how can I afford to NOT spend time on morning meeting? The reality is that it's hard. Everyday, I question whether or not I should be spending time sitting in a circle with my class and whether it's really worth it. The fact of the matter is though, the time we spend in morning meeting pays dividends in during our instructional time. Also, we are doing academics: speaking and listening standards, community building, team building, classroom management, and I incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies frequently if not everyday.

Greetings cover speaking and listening standards.

Sharing gives students the opportunity to practice reading (fluency, expressions, language, presentation), speaking and listening, and collaboration.

Depending on the group activity it can incorporate speaking and listening, fluency, accuracy, collaboration, and reading.

Morning message is an opportunity to incorporate ANY standard you want.

What are the benefits of consistent Morning Meetings?
  • Helps students transition into the school day
  • Build community
  • Promotes social skills
  • Supports learning
  • Helps remove the obstacles that prevent children from feeling safe and engaged in school
  • Creates the time and space for classroom members to take care of each other and to do their best learning
If you're looking for even more information about morning meeting, The Morning Meeting Book offers step-by-step, practical guidelines for planning and holding morning meetings in K–8 classrooms.
The following books (80 Morning Meeting Ideas K-2, and 80 Morning Meeting Ideas 3-6) go even deeper by giving you ideas for specific grade bands.

Happy Teaching!

1 comment

  1. @truelife, Morning Meeting is a treasured part of our day. I'm convinced that it has improved attendance this year (for my class), because we do it first thing and they hate to miss it. They love, LOVE, LOVE the discussion questions.Thank you for creating such a powerful way to keep them engaged in MM. We instituted a 1 pass per week rule this year. Best. Year. EVER. For "family meetings" (that's what we call ours).


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