Morning Meeting: Slowing Down to Speed Up

One year, I decided to drop morning meeting from my classroom. Honestly, I thought it was a tool better served for the primary classroom and I was starting to feel it was a waste of instructional time. I quickly learned  that morning meeting was one of the most important parts of my instructional day, even if I only spent 5 minutes setting the tone for the day's learning. The morning meeting is a great tool to bring a  class together as a cooperative and collaborative team.  

Each day, my students would enter my classroom in all types of moods. A few were elated and bouncing off the walls, one may have overslept and skipped breakfast, while others may have experienced domestic abuse or were homeless the night before. The morning meeting was important to me because it gives the chance to look each student in the eye and relay the message that I was glad they made it to school that day.

 Lesley Baxter, a veteran teacher in Nashville, uses morning meeting to establish a safe social and motional climate with her students.

Lesley Baxter, a veteran teacher in Nashville, uses morning meeting to establish a safe social and motional climate with her students.

As I've mentioned in the past, I love mentoring new teachers. One of those standout educators is Lesley Baxter, a veteran teacher from Metro Nashville Public Schools. Lesley utilizes morning meeting to establish a social and emotional climate that makes all students feel safe and comfortable in the classroom.

"Morning meeting consists of three different parts. The three parts give the students the opportunity to talk with one another, to prepare themselves for the day and also gives the students a safe space to share and by doing this I feel the kids are prepared for the day ahead of them," explained Baxter.

Lesley uses morning meeting to allow EL students to practice their speaking in a comfortable and safe environment. Baxters uses a simple greeting each day, such as Have a Marvelous Monday, that each student to repeats aloud. "What I realized from this, which is very sad...a couple of my students, this was the only time they spoke out loud all day."

She also allows this to be a time for students to get out anything they need to say that could potentially distract the student or other students throughout the day. "If you have a 9-year old that got a new puppy over the weekend, they are not going to do anything for you until they can tell the entire class about the puppy," stated Baxter. 

For me, the most important part of my 5-10 minute morning meeting was the ability to communicate our schedule and expectations for the day. Kids love structure and routines and they like to have control over their environment. By giving the students a preview of the day, they were more likely to get on board mentally and with their behavior. 

I initially dropped morning meeting because time is valuable and I wanted those 5-10 minutes back for instructional time, however, spending those 5-10 minutes slowing down and coming together as a class allowed me to focus my students for the day. The ripple effect was attentive, focused students that felt they were a welcomed member of our learning community.

Here are a few of my favorite morning meeting resources:

Articles

What Is Morning Meeting? by Responsive Classroom

Books

The Morning Meeting Book 3rd Edition by Roxann Kriete and Carol Davis

80 Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades K-2 by Carol Davis

80 Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades 3-6 by Carol Davis

Teachers Pay Teachers

Morning Meeting Greetings & Activities by Sarah Gardner

Morning Meeting and Back to School BUNDLE!  by Brooke Brown - Teach Outside the Box

Whiteboard Morning Meeting {40 Weeks} by Erin Waters

#Hashtag (Instagram)

#morningmeeting

#morningmeetings