November 20, 2018
“Ding, Ding, Ding.”
The sound of the bell signals morning meeting, a great way start to each day. A strong sense of community is built, and it sets students up for social and academic success. Every morning, students and teachers gather together in a circle for 10 to 20 minutes and purposefully interact with each other.
To begin the morning meeting, students greet one another by name. This creates a welcoming environment, along with an atmosphere of politeness. Not only are the important social skills of making eye contact and shaking hands reinforced, but students develop a sense of community when they interact with their peers in this way.
Songs, chants or poems should be recited together after the students greet each other. In my classroom, we have a daily repertoire. First, we sing our school song together. This tradition was put into place to instill a sense of pride in our school and community. After that, the students recite a chant about working hard and doing your best.
Next, the students chant a piece
from Rita Pearson’s “Every Kid Needs a Champion”
Ted Talk. These powerful words set the tone for the day and remind each student of their importance in our classroom. Early in the school year, we create a class mission statement together. This mission statement is used in place of a list of rules in our classroom. We review it throughout the day as needed, but also read our mission statement out loud during our classroom meeting. There is great value when students play an active role in writing a class mission statement and have ownership over their environment.
Sharing is the next critical component of an effective morning meeting. At this time, students share information about important events in their lives. The teacher models appropriate empathetic responses and asks clarifying questions, at first. Eventually, the teacher gradually releases that responsibility to the students when they begin to respond in this way to one another without teacher assistance.
The time that a teacher invests in morning meeting will pay dividends throughout the day. Every child plays a vital role in this part of the day, regardless of academic ability. Every child contributes. Every child feels part of the bigger classroom community.
When children feel loved and cared for during the daily routine of a morning meeting, it takes away the obstacles that prevent them from feeling engaged at school. It creates a safe space for classmates to take care of one another and to do their best learning. When we are all connected, learners can thrive and community can continue to become stronger and stronger.
Let’s connect! I would love to hear about the ways you have implemented a morning meeting in your classroom.
Laura Chang is Michigan’s Teacher of the Year for 2018-19, and Meemic is proud to partner with the Michigan Department of Education for the program. Laura is entering her nineteenth year of teaching at Sunset Lake Elementary in Vicksburg Community Schools, where she is currently a K-5 interventionist.