Monday, March 14, 2016

How Morning Meeting Saved My Classroom {freebie too!}

Do you do a class meeting?  Morning meeting?  Afternoon wrap-up?  Whatever you call it... this has saved my classroom this year.

When I taught 1st and 2nd grade, I always had a morning meeting.  Every day.  We loved it!  But, when I moved to 3rd grade 4 years ago, I just couldn't find the time.  I would start doing it but something would come up or students wouldn't be done with their morning work or or or or... there was always something and, eventually, morning meeting would fall by the wayside.

This year I have quite the group.  I love them, like I always do.  But, the first few months were much more exhausting than normal.  To top it off, our class sizes are huge and I have 31 friends in my class.

In November, I was just tired.  My classroom had ceased to be a community.  I was nagging them all day, which isn't me.  My classroom management has always been on point so I couldn't understand what I was doing wrong this year!  I decided to bring back morning meeting and, this time, to stick with it.

Instead of doing morning work (which I realized during this time that I was really having them do so that I could have a few minutes to get lunch count, attendance, etc... done), they get 25ish minutes to go to the library and work on AR.  While they are doing that, I can still get all of my "clerical" stuff done that I need to do for the day... it's great!  And they can be 100% independent with AR and library visits.

After that, it's time... morning meeting!!!

It has made a HUGE difference.  We operate as a community.  We have time to talk about behavior expectations.  We get to work on social skills.  We share ideas.  We learn grammar skills.  Check it out...

We start out here.  Students have assigned spots on the rug and they sit in their spots, facing the chair and easel so we can go over morning meeting expectations.

We go over the "Morning Meeting Rules" on this chart.  I say the words in blue.  Students finish each rule by stating the part in pink.

Then we transition into a large circle.

We do a greeting.  Everyone goes around the circle, shaking the hand of the person next to them and saying, "Good Morning, (student name)."  We've been able to practice an appropriate handshake, eye contact... and you should see the smiles around the circle each morning!

After that, we do a quick activity.

I have lots of "stuff" under my easel...

After the activity, students transition back to their spots and we get the "News of the Day" from the leader.  This is something I did in 1st and 2nd grade and I worried that it would be too juvenile for 3rd graders.  But, they like it so much and the amount of learning that we are able to do is incredible.

Here's how it works...

Students chorally spell while I write.  I write exactly what they spell and punctuate so, if it's incorrect, I write it anyway.  We find and fix errors at the end.

We start with the date.

Then, the leader gets to tell us something.  It can be anything... what he/she did last night or ate for breakfast or about a pet or a parent... I have a set of news idea cards the leader can refer to if he/she can think of nothing to share.  Keep reading to grab that freebie!

After the leader tells us his/her news, they chorally spell while I write.

Check out this news from last week... awwww!

Then we find all sorts of parts of speech.  We find adjectives and common/proper nouns.  We can identify whether we have written a simple, compound, or complex sentence.  We find linking verbs and helping verbs and talk about verb tenses.  Taking the "News of the Day" to this level, has made my students experts at 3rd grade grammar.  Seriously.  They are the ones who come up to the chart and circle/underline and they love having the ownership of this.

After the news is done, the leader comes up to the chart and uses a pointer to guide the class through a choral reading of the news.  We work on inflection and fluency... pacing and intonation.  I love it!

The next item on the agenda is a poem and/or a passage.  Last week, we worked on context clues.  So, we had this poem up and we worked on determining the meanings of the underlined words.  At the end of the week, poems are moved to the partner reading table so pairs can read them during ELA time.

We read the poem together, talk about stanzas, get volunteers to read it to us, etc... This week, our poem focuses on onomatopoeias and strong verbs.  We LOVED reading this one.  So fun!

We also like to read a passage from this book.  I read it on Mondays and then we answer the questions as the week goes on.

After that, we go over our class behavior expectations.  These are five goals that we came up with together during the rough patch of behavior we were experiencing at the beginning of the year.  To be honest, we have met all of these goals by now, but the students like having the daily reminder.  Our goals are...

*We will have quick and quiet transitions.
*We will raise our hands to speak.
*We will worry about ourselves.
*We will not argue with the teacher.
*We will treat everyone with kindness and respect (even if they are not our best best friends).

Last, we say our class motto... this is something I heard a while ago and shared with my students.  They have even made up motions for the motto and everything.

"Good, better, best.  Never let it rest.  Until your good is better and your better is your best!"

That's it.

Would you believe the whole thing only takes about 20 minutes?  And... if we're in a hurry, I can get it done in about 15.

So, there you have it.

Morning meeting saved us.  You should try it!

Looking for the "news idea freebie"?  Here it is!


  1. Love this! I am a 1st/2nd grade looping teacher and will definitely us this next year. My question though is who is spelling out loud? All the students or just the helper? I can see my low kids spelling one way while the higher ones correct them lol. Also, I clicked the freebie and it goes to Pinterest. Am I doing something wrong?

    1. I fixed the freebie... it works now! :)

      Everyone is spelling outloud. Even when I taught 1st and 2nd, I did it this way. By now, we don't have many errors but... in the beginning, we had lots! I love that they are using the language of the punctuation marks. They also have to say "capital" or I don't start words with a capital letter!

  2. What a wonderful routine! I love morning meeting, especially when it includes social skills. Great post!


  3. You must have read my mind! I was just thinking how to vamp up my meeting! My kinders are ready for more. Thanks for sharing.

  4. OMG... you have the same students I have!! I love these structures of your morning meeting. I also was a 1st and 2nd grade teacher who left and moved to 4th and had every excuse why we "couldn't fit it in"....boy I am going to turn the apple cart upside down and start this NOW!!! Thank for motivating me. :) Have a great end of the year.

  5. Great post Christina! I'm a huge fan of meeting and developing social skills.
    The Write Stuff Teaching

  6. I love this! I teach 2nd grade and I felt that something was missing from my daily routine. In my building, we are told that each subject gets an allotted amount of time per day (math = 75 min, etc.), so my community building got pushed aside this year. I need to make this work in my room for next year and these are fabulous ideas! Thank you for sharing!

  7. We used to have morning meeting in 6th grade and we've done away with it the last couple of years. Teachers are asking for it again, and I think you hit the nail on the head with the difference the meeting has made in your room. Kids feel more a part of a group when they have this quick and kind start to their day! Great blog post, thank you!

  8. I teach Kindergarten and we do a morning circle. I had to work hard to keep it in my schedule but the students are so connected by it that we cannot skip it or the entire day is thrown off. We do a hand hug around the circle wherein we "wish well" to any student or adult absent, family members that might be sick, etc. We then review the day and begin small groups. It is such a lovely and peaceful start to the day.


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