Morning Meeting activities can look a variety of different ways in different classrooms and even on different days in your own classroom. I do get lots of questions about how I recommend incorporating morning meeting activities. Like a lot of things in the classroom, this is a time of the day that can be used to hit multiple skills and have many purposes. My hope is that after reading through this post, you will feel confident to start morning meeting activities in your classroom if you haven’t already, feel the urge to stay consistent with these times with your students, and excited to try some of the ideas and use some of the resources mentioned in your morning meeting times.
Let’s talk about consistency
I find it very important that morning meeting activities happen EVERY morning. While this may be difficult and there may be a day or two that this doesn’t happen, consistency is key. There’s a few reasons for this. First, it creates credibility with your students. If we want our students to believe and buy into the effectiveness and safe space that is morning meeting, we need to be meeting with your class each day. Secondly, this also provides that safe space because over time students learn to associate that morning time together as a place to come together and share about different things and different feelings. If we are only having morning meeting once a week or one time here and one time there, we lose credibility and in turn, stop our students from feeling safe to be able to share and open up during this time.
How long should morning meeting activities be?
Let me start by saying there is no right answer to this! Now, I don’t recommend you spending an hour each morning meeting with your class because that would obviously really effect your instructional time. I know teachers who spend 5-7 minutes together each morning. My morning meeting activities range from 10-20 minutes usually. It all depends on the activity, read aloud, or discussion that you are working on or doing with your students. Also, in the early stages of starting morning meetings with your students, it may take time. Students might need time to get situated or used to the routine! I love using Class Slides with Timers to manage the time spent in morning meeting activities.
What can morning meeting include?
There are certain things that I do at the beginning of every morning meeting and then I use other activities that I see as a need to fill our morning meeting time. You have so many options for this and it is important that it fits your classroom and students’ needs! Here is what has worked for me:
- Morning Meeting activities can either start directly after morning work (you can even use morning work IN your morning meetings-more on this in a bit!) or you can begin meetings right when your students come in for the day if they all arrive at the same time.
- Start the beginning of each meeting with students sitting in a circle and tell them to greet each other. This could be a simple handshake and eye contact saying “Good morning ___” around the circle one at a time and until it reaches the end. This is AMAZING to help your students really work on making eye contact as they speak to one another! At first, they may giggle and think it’s silly, but they wind up REALLY looking forward to this. Another idea for a greeting could be turn to your left and right to greet your neighbors.
- I like to follow up greeting each other with a check in. I have done this in a few different ways, but my favorites are using a 1-5 on our hands to show where we are at with our emotions that morning. A one being very sad, angry, upset, afraid feeling and a 5 being very happy, joyful, content, and excited. I love to give students the opportunity to share. If I see a student say they are a 1 or a 2 and that student is usually a 5, I take a minute to check in with them.
- When you are introducing this with your students it’s important that you are explaining the emotions that may guide each level of emotion. Explain the meaning of certain feelings and how to express genuine emotions. Sometimes I have my students tell how they feel using an emoji poster of feelings. This is a great visual for them to share and describe what they are feeling and why. Also, sharing is always optional and I never press any student to share. They do open up after many morning meeting activities and hearing their classmates share.
- The last part of morning meetings is a great time for a different activity or read aloud. Sometimes morning meeting activities can JUST be greeting and sharing feelings/emotions for the day. That is perfectly fine if you are short on time. Don’t feel like every morning has to have some elaborate activity or lesson to accompany it. Just meeting, sitting, and talking with your students as a classroom community is so beneficial.
Here are some of my favorite activities and resources to use in morning meetings:
Discussion slides are great because there are interactive and gives students a chance to respond. You can have this displayed in the morning when student come in and part of their morning work could be responding to the prompt. Then, you can take that discussion over to your morning meeting where you could dive deeper into the discussion. I actually have a resource that our interactive discussion slides with tons of slides for you guys with different prompts.
You can do this about once per week and there are so many good books to chose from. You can check out my blog post here all about my favorite read alouds! Some of my favorite titles are:
- After the Fall
- The Invisible Boy
- We’re All Wonders
- Those Shoes
- The Bad Seed
This activity can be done every so often. You can use this time to explain the goals. Then, use another day to let your students choose a goal to work on. These goal setting cards are perfect visuals for students! Plus, they fit perfectly in a Target adhesive sleeve for the corner of a student's desk.
Character Interactive Resource
This is a brand new resource I have available and is perfect for this time of day! It includes lots of interactive pieces for multiple focus traits to use throughout the month of that focus.
Here's how I imagine it looking in your classroom:
- interactive slide with definitions and examples done in morning meeting one day
- another day the next week could be used for the kindness journal pages during morning meeting
- the read aloud list can help you pick certain books to read with your class that focus specifically on Kindness
- the discussion slides you could choose from for another morning meeting activities idea
All other parts of the resource can sprinkled in your day:
- “Caught Ya Slips” for the trait of the month
- the corresponding bingo board to encourage showing the trait
- Posters to display as your class learns and focuses on that specific trait
- The quote squares can be given at the beginning of just introducing that trait or as you wrap up learning about each trait
You can see this resource in my store now! I ALSO have a freebie for you below! This freebie includes the kindness class slide as well as the caught ya slips!
You can also explain and introduce the conference pages you are having your students completing for conferences. I talk about these more on my blog and in Episode 5 of my podcast. Morning meeting activities are the perfect time to explain all of this to your students so you aren’t using too much class time to get these explained and completed.
Introduce classroom management game and/or vote
If you are ready to introduce a new classroom bingo board, Classroom Connect, Tic-Tac-Toe or even any type of classroom management tool, morning meeting is the is PERFECT time to do that! This provides you a little more time to discuss it, rather than a few minutes in between lessons. It is also the perfect time to let your class vote on an expectation to work on or a new game to play!
Growth Mindset Flipbooks
if you are introducing or reviewing growth mindset using my growth mindset flipbooks, this is one of the morning meeting activities I am always sure to incorporate! You could take a week on growth mindset and use each morning to do a read aloud and one flip from the flipbook. Have students share their answers and go deeper in your discussions.
Morning meeting is a a great time to talk about class jobs. At the beginning of the year, you can take some time introducing the different classroom jobs and the responsibilities. You can also use this time to go over new applications and have students who had a job previously share their thoughts with the class. I talk more about class jobs and the benefits of having jobs in the classroom over at this post, and you can grab my class jobs resource here!
Overall, there is not just one way to start or facilitate morning meeting activities in your classroom. Think about things you want to bring into your day or week with your students and use this time to do that. Start with a greeting. Allow students time to share their feelings and emotions each day. Lastly, do one short, but meaningful activity to fill the rest of your time.
If you are meeting together consistently each morning, you are providing a safe space for your students to share and build a classroom community. You are also providing meaningful opportunities to incorporate more things like class discussions, character education, growth mindset, goal setting, and more.