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Morning Meeting is actually just a component of the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching. This is a whole new system of discipline in the classroom, which promotes student responsibility and reflection on their actions. I was trained in Responsive Classroom in 2006, and have incorporated many of these strategies into my classroom. Although many people haven't heard of Responsive Classroom, they have heard of Morning Meeting, which is just one element of this approach to teaching, however it's critical to bringing your class together as a community. Many people have asked me how to do Morning Meeting, and I hope that this information is helpful to you!

Knowing The Rules of Morning Meeting

I have certain rules for each of the components of Morning Meeting. Every day, you should review the rules of each component and ask the kids to tell you what you're looking for.
Morning Meeting Rules:
*  Students will sit next to different people each day, so as to have the opportunity to greet a variety of friends.
Greeting Rules:
*  Students will smile at one another while greeting
*  Students will give a firm handshake, not too limp, not too hard.
*  Students should have the intention of making their partner feel welcome when they're greeting them.
*  Students will make eye contact while greeting.
*  Students will speak loudly, so that everyone can hear them.
Share Rules:
*  Students who are listening are making eye contact (or looking at) with the person who is sharing.
*  Students who are sharing should call on a variety of people for "questions and comments", so that a variety of people will get to ask questions and share their thoughts.
*  Students will speak loudly, so that everyone can hear them.
*  Students will share about things that are appropriate for school conversations.
*  When you're "commenting or questioning" make sure you stay on topic.
Activity Rules:
*  Students will play fairly, and not cheat.

The Components of Morning Meeting

Morning Meeting has 4 parts: 

1.  The Greeting
2.  Share
3.  Activity
4.  Morning Message

Before starting Morning Meeting, you might want to develop some type of signal (bell or song)
to tell children it's time to meet on the carpet in a circle.

Ok, so now that you know the rules, you're ready to start. You should start the first week by focusing on the Greeting. Review and model the rules. Maybe do a few "fishbowl" greetings with kids who you know can do it correctly for the others to see what you expect. The first week, I'd just do a simple, "Good morning, so and so." and shake hands. This is just the basic greeting, around the circle. Do this until the kids get more comfortable, and then start adding in some fun greetings. My favorite greeting is on Monday Mornings when we do "What's the News?" Students say, "Good morning so and so, what's the news?" and the other student says back, "Good morning so and so, this weekend I went to the beach with my family!" This allows students to talk about their weekends, which they can't wait to do anyway! You can also do different languages.
(3-5 minutes, depending on the greeting)

Once they've gotten the Greeting down, move onto the Share. Make a laminated "share schedule" so that 5 kids can share daily and you can wipe it clean at the end of the week. Create a space at the top for the "topic of the week". You can always do a "free share" and kids have the option of sharing for that week. (We usually do that on short weeks) Usually the first week we do share, I do "Share Your Garbage" and they bring in 5 pieces of their garbage from home that represents them. Do some type of "getting to know you" type of share. Now, the other part of share is after the students sharing have completed their talk. Then they must say, "I'm ready for questions and comments." at which point the other students will raise their hands and either ask questions or comment on what's being said. They must remember to stay on topic though, sometimes kids tend to veer off in another direction! The student who was sharing may take 3 questions or comments and then they end their share by saying, "Thank you, that was 3."
(10 minutes typically (2 minutes per child), but you can tone it down by having short shares, or not doing "questions and comments" or just one question or comment, etc...)

Share Topics1
Share Topics 2

Ok, so once they're comfortable with share, add in the activity portion of Morning Meeting. This is basically a way to bring the class together. They learn to play by the rules, and play as a class.
(5 minutes)


News and Announcements (Morning Message):
Now the Morning Message, you should be doing every single day, starting from day one. Basically, you should write the kids a letter telling them about the day ahead. You should model things that they should notice, such as new word choices, paragraphs, cursive handwriting, etc... Each day, there should be something interactive about this Morning Message. It can be them correcting grammar or spelling, or them adding better word choices to your "boring words". You can also have a question/poll at the bottom of the message, where they have to come up and write their opinions or vote on something. You can use this information to create graphs, or use in the day's lesson. You read this Morning Message together as a class at the end of the Morning Meeting.
(3-5 minutes, depending on how interactive it is)

Meeting Closing:
I always close my Morning Meeting with our Class Pledge (hands over your hearts!):
"I pledge today to do my best, in reading, math, and all the rest. I promise to obey the rules, in my class and in my school. I'll respect myself and others too, I'll expect the best in all I do. I am here to learn all I can, to try my best and be all I am."

Other Morning Meeting Ideas

Advice Box
To avoid "tatteling", I have an "Advice Box". When conflicts arise, children are encouraged to write an anonymous question (without mentioning names) that they can bring to the class to help them solve. This can be a problem with school, home, friends, homework, etc... I read the questions aloud during Morning Meeting, and then the kids raise their hands and say how they would solve the problem. At the end, I then state my opinion on the best way to handle the issue based on our class discussion. This is a great way to solve issues because they're anonymous, the kids are responsible for coming up with ideas for solving the problem, and if it's not a big issue to begin with, children will just not want to take the time to write it up, and they'll forget all about it. No more tattling! Tell it to the advice box!

Calendar Activities
I don't know much about this, since I teach 3rd grade and we don't have daily calendar activities, but this would be the ideal time for them. Mrs. McDowell has some great ideas for Morning Meeting Calendar Activities on her site.

Morning Meeting Must-Reads


Morning Meeting Websites

Responsive Classroom


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