Kids thrive off of a consistent routine! Starting the day with a structured morning meeting not only gives students predictability but is also a great way to include social-emotional learning into your day!
Knowing what to expect when they walk through your classroom door is everything for some students. It provides a sense of safety as students transition from home to school.
Morning meeting is a time to come together as a whole class daily and build community. The great thing about morning meetings is that they can be as short or as long as you need them to be and can vary daily. Spending 20-30 minutes is plenty of time to have a meaningful experience and hit all the components of the morning meeting.
MORNING MEETING STRUCTURE
One benefit to morning meetings is that students know what to expect every morning when they arrive at school. This is so important for many students and provides a sense of calm and security. One way to structure morning meetings is to have a schedule you follow every week. Here's an example of what a week may look like.
Monday: Goal Setting
Tuesday: Character Education
Wednesday: Discussion Starters
Thursday: Read Aloud
Friday: Growth Mindset
The nice thing about this schedule is that although it is predictable, it is flexible! You can do many different activities with each of these topics. I'll share some ideas below!
Morning meeting is a great time to set goals for the week with your students. These can be academic goals or social-emotional goals! You can set class goals together, and students can set individual goals.
Start the time off by discussing the previous week's goals and if they were accomplished. Talk about what worked and what didn't. Then, set goals for the week ahead. Encourage students to turn and talk about what their personal goal is and how they plan to meet them.
These goal cards with “I can” statements are the perfect addition to your classroom as they help engage students in social-emotional learning as they try to understand and manage their own behavior.
Here are just some of the SEL “I can” statements included with these student goal-setting cards…
- do my personal best
- respect others' work
- stay calm
- show self-control
- be polite
- use my manners
- be respectful
- think before I speak
- be an active listener
- be kind
- share with others
- let little things go
The cards even fit PERFECTLY in the target adhesive pockets! Students can stick their card in the pocket during the week as a reminder of what they are working towards.
One of my favorite ways to build classroom community is by intentionally teaching character traits like kindness, respect, empathy, responsibility, etc.
Focus on one trait a month, and every Tuesday, do a new activity for that trait.
Here's what a monthly schedule teaching character education could look like:
- Week 1: introduce the character trait and use the interactive slide with definitions and examples to discuss
- Week 2: Pick a book from the read-aloud list about that trait to read with your class.
- Week 3: Choose a discussion slide and have students write responses on sticky notes, and facilitate a turn and talk to share
- Week 4: Complete a journal page together and assign one for morning work the next day
This is a fun one with many ways to execute it!
- When students arrive, they grab their devices and answer the prompt digitally. Next, you can assign the discussion slide as an interactive slide (everyone answers the prompt on one slide.) Then, pull the slide up in the morning meeting and view everyone's responses.
- Display prompt for morning meeting and pass out a sticky note to each student. Students answer the prompt on sticky notes and stick them to the board. When everyone is finished, pick a few randomly and read them out.
- Keep the discussion prompts on a ring by your meeting space and flip to a random prompt. Then, have students turn and talk to discuss the topic!
- What makes you feel nervous? Describe the emotion.
- How do you feel when something doesn't work out?
- If you saw a friend crying, what would you do?
- How do you handle a challenging situation?
- How can friends support you during positive times?
- What does it mean to feel overwhelmed?
These prompts can lead to some really great discussions that will help make your classroom community stronger and support social-emotional learning.
Pick a read-aloud for this day of the week! Read-alouds lead to some pretty great discussions surrounding a variety of different topics.
I like to use morning meeting read-alouds to go beyond academic skills and use them for social-emotional skills instead. For example, maybe there is some issue with responsibility that has come up that week-read a book about it! Then discuss how that affects the classroom community and individuals.
Another topic that is a perfect fit for morning meeting is growth mindset! Growth mindset not only supports students social emotionally but academically as well.
There are a lot of activities you can do during morning meeting to support growth mindset.
- Discussion Starters
- Growth Mindset Flipbook
- Escape Room
Growth Mindset Mega Bundle
Growth Mindset is a great topic to discuss ALL. YEAR. LONG. Included in the bundle are the Growth Mindset Posters that are the perfect reminder that we C A N do hard things, the digital research project that ENGAGES in researching, learning, and reflecting on Growth Mindset, the Growth Mindset Flipbook to help practice a Growth Mindset and Discussion Starters that are GREAT for Morning Meetings or to pair with a read aloud.
MORNING MEETING ROUTINE
Now that I've shared some ideas on how morning meetings can be structured let's talk about the morning meeting routine! How you start your day really depends on your school, classroom, and students.
Do you have a staggered arrival? Is breakfast eaten in the classroom? Do all your students come at once? These are all things to consider when it comes to the morning routine!
Start the day with a morning message on the board! Having directions and expectations on the board as part of your morning message is a must when students arrive.
Using a slide with a timer is super helpful because it lays out exactly what students are supposed to do and how long they have to do it.
After students unpack and put their items away for the day, have them check in!
It can be so hard to have a meaningful conversation with every student in the hustle and bustle of the morning! Digital Student Check-in Journals perfectly combine social-emotional learning and checking in with your students. The best part is there is minimal prep involved! Students can access Google Slides and add to it every day.
When the time limit is up on the board, students should have checked in and found a seat in the meeting space so you can start morning meeting.
MORNING MEETING GREETING
Start morning meeting off with a simple greeting. There are so many different greetings, so mix it up daily! Have students turn to one or two classmates and greet them.
- handshakes (Love these by Koo Koo Kangaroo)
- high five, fist bump, elbow bump
- quick compliment
- silly face
DAILY SCHEDULE RUN DOWN
After greeting each other, give a rundown of the day. Are there any special events like assemblies, guests, or a schedule change? Let your students know!
Is it just a regular old day? Let your students know that too. Keep your students in the loop, so they know what to expect that day. This can help reduce some behaviors that may arise from an unexpected blip in the routine.
MORNING MEETING ACTIVITIES
Once all of the business is taken care of, do your morning meeting activity for the day! Use some of the examples from the daily morning meeting structure above, or choose some of your own.
Social Emotional Learning Bundle
Make teaching SEL easy with all the resources in this bundle! Everything you need to fully immerse students in SEL while still being authentic and meaningful is all in one place. These social emotional learning resources can be used throughout the year and many of them can be used more than once.
Morning meetings can really support social-emotional learning in all the best ways! So I hope you can use some of these morning meeting routines and ideas to work on social-emotional skills and community building to give your day a positive start.
Pin the image below to revisit this blog post later!