Morning Meeting ~ the greeting

Happy Saturday, teacher friends! It is sooo nice to have a long weekend after the first 8 days of school. Eight very HOT and HUMID days of school. In a classroom with 17 second graders. And no air conditioning. In what is truly the hottest room in the building. But I digress...

Do you do a morning meeting with your students? Is there a time when everyone gets together - even if it's not in the morning - and says hello, shares important things and just generally builds community? I have a morning meeting time EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And I - and my students - wouldn't miss it for the world. Morning meeting is how we get to know each other, how we share important things in our school and home lives, and how we learn to work together and appreciate each other. You can read a little more about my morning meeting in general {HERE.}

This blog series is going to focus on each part of my morning meeting in deeper detail. Every morning meeting includes four parts:
In this post, I'm going to share my tips and tricks and fun idea for greetings.

The greeting is how we start our meeting time. Everyone sits in a circle and we greet each other in a positive and cheerful way. On the very first day of school, we talk about how nice to is to be greeted by someone. How does it feel when someone smiles and says, "Hi, Camden!" It makes us smile, it makes the person feel special - and that's what we want to accomplish! But what's the best way to greet someone? I go around the circle and greet students to model this - some I greet with a cheerful voice, looking right at them... others I greet quietly, with a limp handshake and averting my eye. My students can easily create a list of the positive characteristics of the "good" greeting! We work on modeling each of these things at the beginning of the year.

Look directly at the person. This seems easy, but many kiddos tend to look over, around, above - anywhere except AT the person they are greeting. And making eye contact can be hard, especially if students are not used to it. We talk about how it feels when someone talks to us, but isn't looking at us. And we model the incorrect and correct way to make eye contact.

The greeting isn't going to be meaningful if you can't hear or understand what the person is saying! We talk about the importance of speaking clearly (no marble mouth!) and loud enough. Again, for some students, this can be difficult. Practice makes perfect! We also talk about using a cheerful voice. No one wants to be greeted like it's a chore to say hello. Even if the person we are greeting is not our best friend, they still deserve just as cheerful of a greeting as our friends.

That's the wording my kiddos came up with this year for making sure whatever greeting we do has a "just right" feel to it. No squeezing hard with a handshake. No stinging slaps with a high five. But just as important no limp spaghetti shakes, either! Again, modeling goes a long way, here. And SMILE! It makes the other person smile, too!

You may be asking yourself, jeez, do I really need to spend so much time on all these little parts? My kids know how to say hello and good morning and I don't have time for all that practice. What difference does it make? Well... I will tell you.. it makes a HUGE difference! The whole idea of using a greeting in the morning is for every student to feel included, welcomed and accepted. And that's not going to happen if the greeting is mumbled, the handshake is sloppy and there is no eye contact. Kids are acutely aware of people being treated differently. If Johnny smiles and greets one person happily, then turns and greets someone else like he doesn't care as much, that completely defeats the purpose of the greeting. EVERYONE deserves a positive start to their day.

Now comes the fun part - what kinds of greetings do we do? We have simple and quick greetings like
a handshake, high five, fist bump, touch elbows, or wave hello. We say hello or good morning in
different languages - say hello is Spanish, French, German, any language you want! Short on time? Try the "One Minute Greeting" where students walk around and greet as many people as they can in one minute. Or start the greeting in two directions so it goes around the circle faster. No matter which greeting you choose, remember these quick tips:

Greetings that are easy to remember and don't take up a lot of time will quickly become favorites. Use movement and music to spice things up. Ask students for ideas! The more you can get students involved in choosing and creating greetings, the more they will be invested. And remember the ones your students like! When time is short, go back to an old favorite.

Need some ideas for greetings? I've put together a set of cards with 20 different greetings you can use. Some are quick, some are more complicated, but they're all fun! You can download the cards by clicking on the image below.

Now I want to hear from you! Do you have any greetings your kids especially like? What are some of your favorites? Share them with me in the comments so everyone can get some new ideas! The next post in this series will talk about our calendar time (and a little about our morning message). Stay tuned!

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1 comment

  1. I love the variety of greetings you've provided! My second graders are going to love them! I've got 28 this year--in an air-conditioned room--but I think I'd trade the A/C for your class size! Building community and cooperation has been a bit difficult so far with so many!
    Thanks so much for sharing! Can't wait to read the rest of your posts in the series!
    Stories and Songs in Second


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