This year, I started a year with a class that was unkind and disrespectful to one another. I heard about something called Morning Meetings while doing some research and knew it was something I wanted to implement in my classroom. I found a way that made it easy on me and fun for the kids. It has been one of the best things I have done in years!
How to Have a 10 Minute Morning Meeting
My morning meeting has six steps. We start right after the announcements come on over the intercom each morning. The kids know that by the time the announcements are over, they need to be seated at the carpet in a circle so we can begin immediately.
Before I go over the steps, I’ll explain what my class leader is. I have a classroom leader that leads the morning meeting the entire week. They help lead the whole morning meeting while I do last minute things. For example, like taking attendance and talking to any students that just walked in the door late. I sit with the class for morning meetings every Monday to make sure our new weekly leader has everything under control. Then Tuesdays-Fridays, it is all on them! I have a jar that my kids can write their name on a sticky note and drop it in. I then pick a sticky note out each week for a new leader!
Step 1: Class Rules
I use whole brain teaching in my classroom so the first thing we do is recite the rules of our classroom. This helps remind anyone who might not be over at the carpet to hop on over there and is a great reinforcement of my expectations on a daily basis.
Step 2: Greeting
The leader pulls a greeting out of the jar. The We use a ball and pass the ball around the circle to greet each other. My morning leader will say “Good morning, (name), how are you this morning?” while following the directions on the greeting card. Sometimes they have to say hello in another language, wink at each other, say it in a silly voice, or something different. I just made up some silly greetings and printed them out. Once the leader asks the first person the question, the person has to reply and then ask the question back. The ball is passed around the circle with that same question being asked of each person. They know this step shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes. I really emphasize that the only person who should be talking is the one with the ball and to address each other by NAME.
I use “hands, ears, and eyes” in my classroom which means the students have to have their hands in their lap, their ears open to the speaker, and their eyes on the speaker.
Step 3: Question
At this point, the class knows they all have to stand up. The class leader pulls a question out of our jar (I use the questions from 3rd Grade Thoughts Morning Meeting product). These are questions that should tell the class a little more about that student. The kids know only the person with the ball can talk and your answer shouldn’t last more than a few seconds. This step shouldn’t take more than about 4 minutes total.
The class leader starts with the ball and throws it to the first person. They ask the person the question and also use their name (example: Sally, what is your favorite sport?). The class leader then sits down in the circle. The person is supposed to respond using the class leader’s name (Bob, my favorite sport is soccer.) They then throw the ball to another person and repeat the same (John, what is your favorite sport). Then it continues around the circle. They can choose to throw the ball to whoever they want. We have also had to have mini-lessons on appropriate ways to throw the ball! Having them USE EACH OTHER’S NAMES and USE SENTENCE STARTERS has really opened up the communication in my classroom. I’ve realized many third graders don’t know how to talk to each other. We have to teach them how to ask and respond to one another.
By the time this section is over, every child should be seated on the carpet. I can also tell how many people we have left depending on how many people are still standing.
Step 4: News
This is the time where my class leader turns to me and asks if there’s any news that day. This is when I tell the class if anything important is coming up that day/week. I may mention picture day, if field trip forms are due soon, or if our schedule will be any different. It’s a great way for me to tell the whole class something without repeating myself 392039 times when each child enters the classroom that morning. This lasts no more than 30 seconds.
Step 5: So Long, Farewell
My class leader than does a “so long, farewell” (basically, it’s our goodbye and ending to morning meeting). I found a list of silly ways to say goodbye to each other, typed them up, and put them in our goodbye jar. The class leader pulls one out and tells everyone if we will say goodbye with a fist bump, hug, or high five goodbye. The kids then turn to the person on their left and the person on their right and say the goodbye (example: better swish, jellyfish!) and then do the gesture the leader assigned. The silly goodbye ALWAYS puts a smile on everyone’s face and gets everyone’s day off to a great start. This should take about a minute.
Step 6: Start Our Day
At this point, the kids know to get up and start their day. We switch for science and social studies with another class right after morning meeting. So, they know they are to report back to their seats, get out their stuff, and line up at the door.
-The picture above shows:
-where they sit in yellow. where I keep my jars in pink
-our morning meeting schedule for my leader to look at in blue
-the class rules on the wall in blue
Having those things on the wall has been really helpful to classroom leaders! 🙂
I also bought and read the book called Morning Meeting by 3rd Grade Thoughts. This gave me some great ideas of how to keep my morning meeting under control. It’s a great resource and I highly recommend it 🙂
Let me know if you have any tricks for morning meeting! The first week, it took us about 15 minutes. But by the end of the second week, we were doing this routine in under 10 minutes every day. The key is to train your class leader every Monday so they follow your high expectations the rest of the week and you can do what you need to do while they run the meeting for you! My class leaders also know that if they don’t run the meeting as I expect, they will lose their privilege and I will take over. None of them want that so do a great job making sure everyone’s being quiet, on task, and respectful to the speakers. Let me know in the comments if this helped you at all! And make sure you keep in mind that morning meetings in everyone’s classroom looks DIFFERENT and that’s okay! 🙂 Do what works for you and your students!