Something that I am super excited to talk about is Morning Meeting! I’m not sure if it’s because it is one of my favorite parts of the day, or if it’s because it’s going so well… or maybe it’s one of my favorite parts of the day because it is going so well. 😉 Alright, let’s get started.
Morning Meetings are just that… a meeting with the class, first thing in the morning. As soon as all my students return from breakfast and all morning tasks are taken care of, we Circle Up to begin our special gathering. Our Morning Meeting is more than just a casual greeting or a roll call to start the day. They are an integral part of our day, it establishes a positive classroom culture, and prepares my Littles for the day ahead. Let’s go ahead and dive right into the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind Morning Meetings.
Why Morning Meetings?
Since Morning Meeting can last anywhere from 15-20 minutes, it really is a quick and easy way to add so much value to your Littles’ school day. Sometimes it can take a little longer than 20 minutes. This is especially true at the beginning of the year when Littles are learning the procedures and expectations. Once they have a few under their belts, it really is smooth sailing. There are so many reasons to hold a Morning Meeting, but I’ll just touch on the tip of the iceberg. These are my top 5 reasons we never skip a Morning Meeting.
First and foremost, Morning Meetings build a pretty special classroom community. It creates a sense of belonging among students – like they belong to something special, and they do… your classroom! It is in your classroom where students will share stories and experiences, discuss their feelings, or celebrate a classmate’s birthday. This all fosters a sense of community and that sense of community prompts and enhances feelings of safety and acceptance among every student. Everyday, at the end of our Morning Meeting, we all gather round, put our fists in, and then I say “We’re all in this…” and the kids shout “together!” as we open up our fists into spirit hands over our heads! So fun!
This one piggybacks off of building a classroom community. Establishing a predictable routine is vital for young children’s sense of security. Morning Meetings provide a consistent start to the day, allowing kids to know what to expect and reducing anxiety. This structured routine helps set expectations and creates a sense of order, which is especially crucial in a classroom environment. Remember, some students look forward to the school day, because it is the only bit of structure and order that they have.
Set the Tone
In addition to creating a special classroom community and establishing a routine, Morning Meetings are also a great way to set the tone for the day. I know for me, how I start the day can often dictate how the rest of my day will play out. Our Morning Meetings set a positive tone for the rest of the day, emphasizing collaboration, respect, and enthusiasm for learning! Winning!
Develop Social-Emotional Skills
Morning Meetings give students the opportunity to identify and communicate their feelings (hello, emotional awareness!), as well as develop their social skills. Through these structured interactions, students learn to listen, respond, take turns, and show empathy. These foundational social skills are crucial not just in school, but throughout life. This gives Littles the chance to transfer these skills to other areas in and outside of the classroom.
Language skills are learned through daily interactions. Morning Meetings offer a casual setting for kids to engage in conversations, expand their vocabulary, and improve verbal expression. The diverse discussions during these sessions expose children to a variety of words and concepts. My school has a very large multilingual population – over 55 languages are spoken by the families at our school. We have some students who literally start Kindergarten speaking no English and are able to share a few words by the third or fourth week of Morning Meeting. It’s truly an amazing to witness!
How to Conduct Engaging Morning Meetings:
Now that we have established the ‘why’ we should hold Morning Meetings, let’s now jump into the how!
There are 4 main components of Morning Meeting: greeting, sharing, activity, and message. This year, I decided to add a fifth element that has been working quite well, and that is Reflection. Reflection actually happens at the end of the day. We Circle Up for the last 10 minutes of the day and we think through our day. What did we do well and how can we make tomorrow better?
These components happen in the same order every day and the tasks change every day to help keep things fresh and fun.
We start everyday with a Dance Party! This Dance Party is 3-4 minutes and it is a morning song to help loosen us up and break the ice. It’s usually a Jack Hartmann video, because who doesn’t love a little Jack Hartman to start the day? 😉 Our Dance Party also serves as a sort of affirmation for the day! After our Dance Party we begin by sitting in a circle and I start our chant to remind us of the expectations.
I say: Criss Cross; Littles respond with “Applesauce!”
I say: Hands in; Littles respond with “Lap”
I say: Sitting very; Littles respond with “Quietly!” (They whisper shout this).
The “Meet” of Morning Meeting
Once Morning Meeting norms (expectations) are established, we get started! All students are expected to participate in some way. We’re usually having so much fun, this is never an issue. We jump right into each component, one at a time. and it’s so fun seeing the smiles and laughs my Littles have during this time. It truly is such a special time in our day!
More in depth explanation on how I run these components will be included in this blog series, so definitely keep your eyes peeled for those! As you can see, Morning Meetings are not merely a routine activity; they are a cornerstone of a positive classroom experience. By creating an inclusive atmosphere, nurturing social skills, and promoting language development, morning meetings lay the foundation for a successful day of learning. Through engaging activities and thoughtful structure, teachers can harness the potential of Morning Meetings to instill lifelong skills in our Littles.
I love using PowerPoint Slides to keep me on track. They also help to ensure I do not forget any of the components of Morning Meeting. I am including a sample week of my Morning Meeting slides. You can see just how easy it is to bring into your classroom! You can grab this freebie here!