Many teachers try their best to teach the “whole child”, which means that they teach the child socially and emotionally, as well as cognitively. One technique that teachers use is called “morning meeting”. It is usually comprises the first 30 minutes of every day. It is a time for the students to build comradery, learn to trust their teacher, and to have fun! There is a standard outline of what comprises a typical morning meeting, but I imagine every morning meeting looking a little bit different, based on the needs of the students.
- Greeting (Monday only): Children choose a partner, shake their hand, look them in the eye, and say, “Hi, my name is Kristie”, in addition to their answer to a predetermined question, such as “What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?”.
- Memorization: A self-esteem piece or an American History document is chosen for the children to practice everyday and eventually memorize.
- Class Business:
- Vegetables: Discuss something that is good for you, but not necessarily fun. Ex. cleaning up after yourself at centers
- Dessert: Discuss something that students did well yesterday
- Medicine: Discuss any problems that need to be fixed for the future. Just like medicine, it can be nasty, but it cures us.
- Literacy Term: Explain terms such as conflict or cause and effect.
- Saying: Choose a saying, such as “Whatever you are going to be… be a good one!” and talk about what it means. Help students apply it to their lives.
- News/Current Events: Talk about things going on in the world and how students feel about them.
- Share: Students have the opportunity to share something about their lives, if they would like to.
- Class Cheer: Sometimes the teacher will provide the cheer and sometimes the students can make it up. They all stand and put their hands in the middle to cheer together.
Can you see how this can help students build a sense of community in the classroom and learn to trust each other? I love how students can evaluate how yesterday went and how today will be better. It is a good life lesson that they learn in morning meeting. I have heard of classrooms where morning meeting is something students absolutely treasure! They will be late to math or reading, but never to morning meeting! They enjoy the safe, fun environment that morning meeting provides, where they are never wrong and where they have a voice.
Interns and current teachers, have you held morning meetings in your classroom? Have they improved your classroom community and helped you to teach “the whole child”? How? Future teachers, what are your thoughts about morning meetings? Will you use this idea in your classroom? I would love to hear your thoughts!
(Image from: www.minnewaska.k12.mn.us)