I am continuing my blog series all about Morning Meeting and this post will focus on the Sharing component. Within the daily ritual that is Morning Meeting, Sharing plays a vital role. This is the heart of the morning meeting, where students have the opportunity to express themselves, their thoughts, and their experiences. I will explore the importance of the Sharing component and how it contributes to building inclusivity and emotional growth in Littles. Now, let’s get to it and zoom in on the sharing component, which always follows the Greeting, and explore why it is a cornerstone of morning meetings.
Why Take the Time to Share
During Sharing, we really get a special glimpse in our lives outside of school. We learn about each other and what’s going on in our lives outside of the classroom. We share what brings joy to our lives and also what we struggle with. It is a time to get really deep and close with each other; to bond. There are laughs and sometimes there are even tears. It becomes a safe space for us to really open up. Let’s explore some other reasons why Sharing is so important.
Encouraging students to share in a supportive environment bolsters their self-confidence. It validates their thoughts and feelings, making them feel valued and heard. It is amazing how students are shy and reserved when we first start at the beginning of the year to eager and willing to share just a few weeks in!
Enhances Communication Skills
Sharing isn’t just about talking; it also involves listening actively and responding empathetically so that Littles are really learning how to have authentic conversations. These skills are developed and nurtured during Sharing time. Something that I have implemented is that when each student shares something, there has to be at least one follow up question, using a question word: who, what, when, where, how. For example, if a student shares he/she had a party over the weekend, a follow up question could be “What was the party for?” or “Who was at the party?”
When children share their experiences, it enables their peers to understand their emotions and perspectives better. This fosters empathy and teaches children how to be compassionate and supportive friends.
We had a friend share with us that her dad was crying the night before. When another student inquired about why he was crying, she shared it was because her grandma had passed away. When she said this, another student quickly got up and gave her a hug, then patted her on the back. He then shared that his grandmother had also passed away. It was such a sweet and powerful moment. We may not have ever learned that information about her family if not for the Sharing component of Morning Meeting.
Sharing can encompass a wide range of topics, from cultural traditions to personal achievements. This celebration of diversity within the classroom promotes understanding and acceptance of each other.
Implementing Effective Sharing Sessions
To make sharing an enriching part of your classroom Morning Meeting, consider these strategies:
Set Clear Expectations
It is super important to establish ground rules for respectful listening and responding during sharing time. First and foremost, we sit in a circle so that we can easily see each other. Some days we are able to get in our circle and get started. Other days, they need a quick reminder and I do our chant.
I say: Criss Cross; They say, “Applesauce!”
I say: Hands in; They say, “Lap”
I say: Sitting very; They say, “Quietly!” (They whisper shout this).
It is also taught from the very first Morning Meeting that if someone else is talking, we are respectful and have listening ears. To help with this, we have a fidget ball that is passed around and the expectation is if the ball is in your hands, you have the floor and if the ball is not in your hands, you are Level 0 and actively listening to the person talking. If someone has a follow up question, they raise their hands and the fidget ball is gently tossed to the person called on for the follow up question.
Allow students to choose what they want to share, ensuring it is relevant and meaningful to them. Since I teach Kindergarten, this is a little more guided in my classroom and we follow a routine.
Mindful Monday: Share something from the weekend. It is just about reflecting on the weekend and can literally be anything.
Talk it Out Tuesday: We talk about something that we want to learn or something we are struggling with.
Would You Rather… Wednesday: Students are given two options to choose from. I keep it fun and simple here! For example, cookies or donuts?
Thoughtful Thursday: Share a compliment about someone in our classroom. This really makes them pause and think about the people in our class and how they positively contribute to their day!
Free Friday: Students have the opportunity to share whatever they feel comfortable sharing with the class.
Lead by Example
As the teacher, it’s super important to model effective sharing to demonstrate active listening and appropriate responses. So, this means, you get to share aspects of your life with your Littles… and guess what? They LOVE to hear about what you do when you’re not at school. I’m sure you already know, but believe me when I say, some of your Littles may have never even considered that you leave the school building, like ever! 😂 We have to be willing to open up and share the happenings of our lives with our Littles if we expect them to open up and be vulnerable.
By incorporating sharing into your classroom’s Morning Meeting, you create a rich and inclusive learning environment. This simple yet powerful component helps Littles build self-esteem, communication skills, and empathy. It celebrates diversity and teaches responsibility, setting the stage for these young learners to become confident, compassionate, and effective communicators as they navigate their educational journey and beyond.