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Please explain the concept
Old 01-21-2007, 12:47 PM
 
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of morning meetings. From what I have read this is something that I would like to start. I don't have a lot of time but a few minutes at the beginning of each class. I need to work on the kids taking ownership and fostering a caring community classroom. So many of them don't seem to know how. We need a fresh start.

My district is not paying for any seminars, etc. right now.

I just ordered the book Teaching with Love and Logic, I am reading up on the responsive classroom.

I would really like to hear how you put these into effect in your classrooms. I have 6th grade and at this time of the year they are really changing and seem to care less about how they treat each other. I really want to put a stop to that.

Thanks in advance.


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morning meetings...
Old 01-21-2007, 01:18 PM
 
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Our school implemented morning meetings about two years ago. We have a book for it (checked out to us individually for the whole school year), but it's not a Love and Logic related material. Mine is geared toward elementary and I think there's another book in the same series for middle grades.

Anyway, our district looks on the morning meeting as a time to greet everyone, teach and practice giving compliments and positive feedback, and as the year goes on, the teacher relinquishes some of the organizational control to the students (i.e. notes are recorded by a designated student and reviewed at the next meeting to make sure all old issues are addressed). Everyone is actively involved in a morning meeting, even if it's only to greet someone else; part of the theory is that it's especially beneficial for students who might go the whole day and not really be addressed as an individual. I don't have the book here at home, but it gives lots of examples and anyone can modify it to fit their own needs/goals. BTW we don't do morning meetings every day, but we do them as often as is feasible.

Sorry if that's not very helpful!
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Morning Meeting
Old 01-21-2007, 01:38 PM
 
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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.
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Team Meeting
Old 01-21-2007, 01:45 PM
 
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We have a Team Meeting every Monday morning. Our year long theme is baseball. So everything is based around baseball, rewards, consequences, etc. So we meet as a team on Monday mornings. We talk about the week ahead, give compliments, talk about things that happened the week before, etc. It is a great way to start the week. I think I would have a hard time having a team meeting every morning...just because of time.
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Love 'em!
Old 01-21-2007, 06:24 PM
 
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Morning meetings encourage such a cooperative classroom, that I wouldn't teach without them. (I've been using MM for the past 4 years, and I started using them when I taught 6th grade. -- They certainly benefited from our meetings, possibly more than my 4th graders!) Here is the resource book that I started with.


I also use activities from
The Morning Meeting Book (Strategies for Teachers, 1) by Roxann Kriete and Lynn Bechtel (Paperback - Jun 1, 2002)Books: See all 15 itemsBuy new: $22.00 Used & new from $19.87
Tribes : A New Way of Learning and Being Together by Jeanne Gibbs (Paperback - Jul 1, 2001)Books: See all 19 itemsBuy new: $32.95 Used & new from $27.90Usually ships in 4 to 6 weeksBoth of the above have excellent activities to help build and foster a community within your classroom.

I would suggest trying to hold your MM's first thing in the morning (if you wait too late in the day, conflicts have often already evolved amongst some of the students or w/in their other classes). Also, don't overwhelm yourself by trying to have one everyday. I would aim for two to three times per week, especially at first. Allow at least 30 minutes, probably more, for your VERY FIRST meeting to discuss procedures and expectations (how to come to the floor for the meeting or any necessary re-arrangements of desks, must come & be seated quietly, etc.). Then after that, your meetings can be as short and simple as 15 minutes.
EX:
Mon. -- Intro. the greeting for the week (start w/ simple handshake making eye contact & saying "Good morning + student's name" and then after your students have that greeting down, change the greeting weekly. (i.e. greetings in other languages, pinky shake, knuckles, etc.) Students "pass" the greeting around the "circle" and once it's back to your or whoever you designated to start the greeting, then the meeting is underway. On Mon.'s we always shared what we did over the weekend (brief retelling). BTW, I use a "talking stick" (such as a small stuffed animal or bean bag) and only the person w/ the "talking stick" should be speaking, then they call on someone else and toss that person the "talking stick." Then I closed w/ announcements for the day/week.
Wed. -- Select student to start the meeting w/ the weekly greeting and "pass" the greeting around the circle. (Be sure that you are a part of the circle.) I usually select a conflict/resolution activity or a team building activity for the middle of the week. Close w/ announcements (birthdays, changes in schedule, etc.).
Fri. -- Start w/ greeting. I usually played some sort of game on Friday's. (The students always looked forward to Fri.'s meetings, and it helped those reluctant participants stay focused during other meetings because they didn't want to be banned from Fri.'s meeting.) Close w/ announcements or a quick share of what students are looking forward to for the weekend.

Good luck! I'd be glad to share more if you need additional ideas. Also, if you do have your students sit in a "circle", I recommend coming up w/ creative ideas to "force" students into new seats to prevent pods of best friends sitting side-by-side and having side-bar conversations.

Let us know how it goes!


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Old 01-22-2007, 05:30 PM
 
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Thank you so much for all the information. I will have to figure out a way to make it work for me. I really appreciate all the info.
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