Using Morning Meeting to build community in classrooms
Responsive Classroom Morning Meeting is an engaging way to start each day, build a strong sense of community, and set children up for success socially and academically. Each morning, students and teachers gather together in a circle for twenty to thirty minutes and interact with one another.
At Symonds Elementary, teachers use morning meetings to develop valuable social-emotional skills, create a culture of respect and trust, and prepare students to learn
Four purposeful components of Morning Meetings
1. Greeting: Students and teachers greet one other by name.
2. Sharing: Students share information about important events in their lives. Listeners often offer empathetic comments or ask clarifying questions.
3. Group Activity: Everyone participates in a brief, lively activity that fosters group cohesion and helps students practice social and academic skills (for example, reciting a poem, dancing, singing, or playing a game).
4. Morning Message: Students read and interact with a short message written by their teacher. The message is crafted to help students focus on the work they’ll do in school that day.
Making the Morning Meeting a daily practice in your class will take work. Let's look at five simple steps that can help you get started.
1. Learn How to Use the Morning Meeting
As with any new classroom initiative you are considering, be sure to learn everything you can about how it works. Take time to discover the whats, hows and whys. Do a little bit of investigating. Seek out colleagues who might already be using it, and see if this process can work for you. See if you can collaborate with others at your class to join you.
2. Establish a Time
Before you commit to a Morning Meeting, you'll need to be sure that it fits with your schedule. Ideally it needs to happen every day, first thing in the morning, just after students arrive. Give it a good 15-30 minutes but no longer than that. You want enough time to connect, but not so long that students have difficulty staying focused.
3. Introduce the Morning Meeting to Students
Take a few days to introduce the idea of a class-wide meeting that will happen every morning in classroom. Let students know what your hopes are. Be transparent about the goals that you want to accomplish, and how important each student will be to this process.
4. Communicate with Parents
Parents will be receptive to the Morning Meeting if you keep them informed. Let them know right away what it is and how you intend to use it in your class. As with any project, letting parents know about the important learning you have planned will support you when kids go home and share their experience. Consider inviting parents to join a Morning Meeting in your classroom, if it works for you.
5. Phase In the Process
Once you're confident about moving forward, share all the components of the Morning Meeting structure with as many details as your students need. You’ll soon find that classrooms have many adaptations to the model. A general order for introducing the process to students could be:
- Group Activity
Questions to Consider
- What types of academic skills are addressed in the morning meeting?
- How do students accomplish their learning goals while also taking time for such activities as "self-reflection" and "greeting?"
- What role does the teacher play during the morning meeting?
Keep in mind that a full Morning Meeting may take weeks to implement, but the benefits will be worth the effort.
Video source - Edutopia Youtube Channel