Morning meetings in elementary schools offer a wide range of benefits for students, teachers, and the overall classroom environment. These daily gatherings provide a structured and positive start to the day, promoting a sense of community, social-emotional development, and academic growth.
So if you are interested in incorporating morning meetings into your daily classroom routine? This is a golden opportunity to build meaningful relationships with your students. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first and just didn't know when I would carve out time to implement a new activity.
Morning meetings set a positive tone for the day, creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where students feel valued and respected. It fosters a sense of belonging and encourages students to be actively engaged in the classroom community.
Morning meetings or class meetings are a great tool to help build a classroom community. How do you know if you need to build up your classroom community? Here are a few questions to consider...What type of relationship do you have with your students? How well do you know your students (not considering academics)? Do your students trust you? Are students clear on your rules and expectations and do they work toward achieving your expectations? Is your classroom chaotic and full of noise and disruptions that hinder student learning? If your answers aren't what you'd like them to be, you should consider incorporating these activities into your classroom.
Take time to invest in your students. You have one school year with them; do not take that time for granted. Build relationships with your students. These activities offer great opportunities to build meaningful relationships with students. Plus, your students will get to know you as well.
ONLINE TEACHER TIP: Morning meetings are perfect for online learning. This time will help you, the teacher, learn more about your students while building and growing a relationship. Enjoying this time with students each day is a great way to show your kindness and concern.
Morning meetings provide opportunities for students to express their thoughts and feelings, share experiences, and practice active listening. This promotes emotional intelligence, empathy, and communication skills, which are essential for building healthy relationships and managing emotions. By starting the day with a focused meeting, students transition from home to school mode, becoming mentally prepared for the day's learning activities. The meeting helps establish a predictable routine, helping students feel more at ease and ready to learn. Morning meetings encourage collaboration and teamwork. Students learn to work together, solve problems, and support each other, creating a strong sense of community within the classroom.
Morning Meetings are a great chance to review things that aren't going well. If students are forgetting to write their names on their paper or getting up without raising their hands, use this time to discuss those issues with your class. This time is also great for teaching students a variety of character traits, such as kindness, respect, responsibility, etc. If you are looking for upper elementary morning meeting ideas, think about what your students need. I teach in a low-economics area, so discussions about showing kindness, offering a helping hand, how to handle money, and showing respect are all important. You know your students and are aware of their needs, so use this time to nurture your class.
Morning Meeting Greetings are fun ways to start the day. You can request your students sit in a circle (for younger students) or stay at their desks (if you are working with upper elementary students). If you choose to have your students sit in a circle, you can ask them to turn to their neighbor sitting on their left or right side and say, "Good morning, friend! How are you today?" Have fun with this and be intentional with who students are near you during this time. If you have a shy student, try to pair them with someone they are comfortable working with. BE CREATIVE with your greetings!
ONLINE TEACHER TIP: If you are teaching online, don't worry! Each greeting mentioned in the picture above can certainly be applied to an online classroom. My advice would be to ask students to choose one of the greetings that doesn't require a partner and use it. Then, say, "After I count to 3, greet someone." If you are using Zoom, you may want to unmute students for greetings. On the other hand, if you are teaching students to quietly greet each other or want this to be a structured time, mute students until they get the hang of it.
Here is where you can customize morning meetings activities. You can choose a read aloud, morning meeting question for students to answer, partner activities, team building activities, or you can discuss character traits or have open discussions about current content or world events. The choice is really up to you, and the sky's the limit. You know what would work best for your students and for your schedule. Adapt as needed.
Click here to read my top picks of Morning Meeting Activities!
Be consistent! Morning meetings can be so effective! However, you have to be consistent to get the full benefit. There is no magic amount of time either. Do what works best for your class schedule and students. I usually spend 5 minutes checking in with my students, do a 15-minute activity, and spend 5 minutes wrapping it up. Again, customize your time to benefit you and your students.
Plan out game and activities to help you be consistent. This will also help you when planning and writing your lesson plans for the week. I recommend planning each week so you can not overlap with lessons and morning meetings ideas.
Turn your morning meeting questions into one of the most important parts of your day. Think character traits, social emotional learning, life skills, etc. Consider topics and have conversations that will help students in their future life. Give examples, situations, and scenarios for students to think through. These questions do not have to be heavy, unless you feel that is needed. I would suggest that you throw in heavy topics to discuss when you feel the timing works.
Morning Meeting Questions should be geared towards what you would like to learning about students. What do you want to learn about your students? Also, think about the skills and content you are teaching. If you can wrap morning meeting questions into content areas, that's an awesome goal!
In conclusion, morning meetings are a valuable and versatile tool for elementary schools. They create a positive, supportive, and respectful classroom culture while nurturing social-emotional development and academic readiness. Through morning meetings, teachers can lay a solid foundation for a successful and enriching learning experience for their students.