Morning Meeting has become a staple in my classroom, fostering a sense of community, setting a positive tone for the day, and providing a structured start to the learning journey. While the typical Morning Meeting includes elements like Greeting, Sharing, and Message, the Activity component often takes center stage. In this blog post, I will explore the importance of the Activity component in Morning Meeting and provide practical ideas for making it more engaging and educational.
Why the Activity Component Matters
The Activity portion of Morning Meeting lasts in my classroom anywhere from 5-8 minutes. It can have academics woven into it or it can just be for fun! The point is to wake the Littles up and energize them to start their full day of learning in a lively and spritely kind of way. When thinking about activities to do during our Morning Meeting, I want something engaging, that will enhance social skills, and sometimes a little academic integration.
The Activity component is a crucial opportunity to engage students right from the start of the day; to break the ice! It helps grab their attention, making them eager to participate and learn through the rest of the day.
Through activities, students develop essential social skills such as cooperation, communication, and teamwork, all of which are vital for their personal and academic growth.
The Activity can be a powerful tool for integrating academic content into the Morning Meeting, making them more than just a social interaction but also a quick and fun learning opportunity.
There are so many ways to execute the Morning Meeting Activity. Here are a few simple ways that you can add it in to your routine.
Align activities with the day’s theme or a broader unit of study. For example, if you’re studying animals, you can play a game of “Guess the Animal” where students describe an animal without revealing its name.
Brain Teasers and Puzzles
Start the day with a fun brain teaser or puzzle. This not only activates students’ critical thinking but also sets a positive tone for problem-solving throughout the day.
Have students contribute to a collaborative story. Start a story and let each student add a sentence or two. This not only fosters creativity but also improves language skills. You might be surprised just how creative Littles get and the gnarly stories that come from this! One year, I turned one of our stories into a classroom book. The Littles, and their families, loved it!
Show and Tell
While I am always careful when doing Show and Tell, because Morning Meeting is NOT Show and Tell, sometimes I do incorporate it during the Activity. It is usually once a month, at the most, so that students keep that clear understanding that when we do it, there is a specific purpose for it and it aids in our learning in some way. Having Show and Tell does encourage students to share their interests, experiences, and unique items, fostering a sense of belonging!
Team Building Games
Play team-building games that encourage cooperation and communication. Activities like “Human Knot” or “Two Truths and a Lie” can be excellent choices!
Morning Meeting Activity Favorites
While we definitely rotate through the list of activities below throughout the year, it is not an exhaustive list. These activities are just some of my absolute favorites! The Littles love them, too! 😊
I Have, Who Has?
We play I Have, Who Has? a lot! We play with letters, letter sounds, ten-frames, shapes… the list goes on and on! That’s what is so great about this game! It is so versatile that it can be adapted for various subjects and age groups. It promotes active listening, quick thinking, and teamwork while reinforcing the content being reviewed. Cards are distributed to all students. Depending on the number of students, some students may receive more than one card. The game begins with one student (usually the teacher or a designated student) by reading their card aloud. For example, if the card says, “I have A,” they would read, “A.” Another student in the classroom who has the answer to the statement just read will respond by saying, “I have B.” The game continues with students taking turns reading their cards and responding to the previous statement until the cycle ends.
Quiz, Quiz, Trade
Quiz, Quiz, Trade is an interactive and engaging classroom game that promotes active learning and peer-to-peer interaction. It’s often used as a review activity to reinforce knowledge on a particular topic or subject. A set of question-and-answer cards related to the topic being learned is distributed. Each card should have a question on one side and the answer on the other. One card is given to each student. If there are more cards than students, some students may receive multiple cards. Students stand up and walk around the classroom, finding a partner. They pair up and take turns asking their partner the question on their card. For example, if the card says, “What is the beginning sound in the word dog?” the student would ask their partner that question. The partner then attempts to answer the question. If they know the answer, they respond with it. If not, the student with the card can provide the answer to help their partner learn. After both students have had a chance to ask and answer questions, they trade cards. One student gives their card to the other, and they find new partners to repeat the process with different questions. This process repeats until time runs out.
The Alphabet Game
This is a simple game of naming the letters of the alphabet, in order. Either the teacher or a designated student names a letter. Then, starting at A, students will name the letters of the alphabet until a student lands on that letter, then they sit, and the process repeats until there is one student standing.
From A to Z
This is sort of a continuation of The Alphabet Game. In this game, students must name a word that begins with the letter. For example, starting at A, a student would say “apple” and the next student in the circle would say “bat,” then the next student would say “cat,” and so on and so forth, until we reach Z.
The Number Game
This is a simple game of counting. Either the teacher or a designated student names a number. Then, starting at 1, students will count and say numbers until a student lands on the designated number. If they say the designated number, then they sit, and the process repeats until there is one student standing.
Going old school is the game of Telephone. I usually start the game by whispering a secret message into the ear of a student. Then, that friend listens carefully to the secret message and whispers it to the friend next to them. This continues all the way around the circle, with each friend whispering the secret message to the next friend. When the secret message goes all the way around the circle and comes back to the first friend, they say it out loud for everyone to hear! We have had many belly laughs with this one! 😜
We all know Simon Says! Everyone stands in a circle or in a line, and “Simon” stands in the middle of the group. Simon begins by saying, “Simon says…” followed by a simple command, like “Simon says, touch your toes.” All students in the group must then follow that command and touch their toes because Simon said to do it. The tricky part is if Simon gives a command without saying “Simon says” first, like just saying “Jump,” then no one should do it. If someone does follow that command without hearing “Simon says,” they are out of the game for that round. The game continues with Simon giving different commands, some with “Simon says” and some without. The goal is to listen carefully and only follow the commands that start with “Simon says.” The last person remaining who hasn’t made a mistake or followed the wrong command wins the game and becomes the next Simon. It’s definitely a fun game to test listening skills and see who can follow the right commands.
Another game we all know and love! “I Spy” is a fun game where one person selects an object in the room and says, “I spy with my little eye, something that is…” and then they give a clue about the object. The other players take turns guessing which object the person is thinking of based on the clue. The person who guesses correctly gets to be the next “spy” and chooses the next object. I have often made sure to incorporate different skills, so we are reviewing what we have learned and having fun!
Categories” is a simple and enjoyable game where someone picks a category, like “Circles,” and then everyone takes turns naming things that belong to that category. For example, if the category is “circles,” you can say “clock,” “pizza,” “cookie,” and so on. The game continues with each student trying to name something from the chosen category, and if someone can’t think of one or repeats something already said, they’re out. The last person remaining in the game is the winner. Sometimes we add in a fun clap to go with it to get the Littles in a rhythm. It’s a fun way to test your knowledge and think quickly about different categories of things.
Remember when I mentioned that the Activity doesn’t always have to be a game or academic related. Sometimes, my Littles just need an extra movement sesh! I usually resort to GoNoodle, Cosmic Kids Yoga, or Danny Go!
Tips for a Successful Activity Component
Keep it Age-Appropriate
Tailor activities to the age and developmental stage of your students. What works for kindergarteners may not work for second graders.
Consider the diverse needs and abilities of your students when planning activities. Make adaptations as necessary to ensure everyone can participate.
Let students take turns leading the Activity. This empowers them, builds leadership skills, and adds variety to the Meetings.
Reflect and Adapt
Periodically assess the effectiveness of your morning meeting activities. You can even ask for feedback from students and adjust accordingly.
The Activity component of classroom morning meetings plays a vital role in creating a positive and engaging learning environment. By incorporating age-appropriate, inclusive, and educational activities, educators can harness the power of morning meetings to enhance social skills, boost academic integration, and foster a strong sense of community within the classroom. So, embrace the potential of morning meetings as a dynamic and educational start to your school day, leaving a lasting impact on your students’ learning journey.
If you’d like to play Alphabet I Have, Who Has? with your class, check out this freebie I have created. Click here or on the picture below!