01-21-2007, 01:38 PM
You start the day with a message written to your class. The idea is to give them a heads-up about what's on the agenda for that day and you try to build the class's enthusiasm and motivation. Finishing the morning message is an interactive question where each child makes a response. (Can be a survey type question and should be related to your curriculum and current lessons. Example: What do you think was the most difficult challenge for pioneers? Leaving their home...weather, threat of Native Americans, sickness, other) This will be reviewed and discussed at the end of Morning Meeting.
Start the day with everyone sitting so they can see each other. A meeting circle is great but I have had large classes turn their chairs in a way where we form somewhat of a circle...some might call it a puddle.
Begin with everyone greeting each other. Teach social skills...eye contact, smile, good handshake, and use the person's name.
Then have a sharing time. I have a schedule with about 3 kids a day. I will give a theme such as a photograph, a favorite book, talk about your future career, share a special family story, ...lots of options, sometimes just an open share or a whip share where you throw out a quick question and everyone responds. (What is your favorite animal?)
Child only talks for a minute and then asks for comments or questions from the class. (Stress that a comment is not telling your own story! ) I allow 3 follow-ups for each share.
An enjoyable educational (academic or creative) activity would be the third part of the meeting. Play "Buzz", "Sparkle", guessing games, charades...something that gets the kids' brains warmed up for the day.
Only play for a couple of minutes.
Finally, have a child read your morning message and discuss answers to your interactive question. I will also finish the meeting with behavioral issues if there is a current problem in class. We reinforce our class rules, talk about consequences of making wrong choices, and we might even role play better ways to handle difficult situations.
The point of Morning Meeting is to make a safe and positive transition to the school day. Everyone should be greeted and acknowledged and appreciated. It is a chance for everyone to get to know each other better as individuals.
Be sure to establish rules for the MM such as look at the speaker, keep your hands free, no side conversations, sit up straight with feet on the floor. Practice and reinforce these rules. If someone does not follow the rules, quietly ask thestudent to leave the circle because of the lack of self-control. In a couple of minutes ask the student if he/she is ready to follow the rules. If the problem is persistent you may need to exclude the child from an entire meeting and watch from the sidelines for a couple of days.
Responsive Classroom has a book just for Morning Meeting...great resource and would be very helpful to you. Also I strongly recommend the book TEACHING CHILDREN TO CARE by Ruth Charney.