Morning Meeting - Teacher Talk Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, again, folks! Wow... I just realized that I haven't posted since LAST Tuesday's Teacher Talk! The first week of school had me exhausted and it was all I could do to stay awake until 8:30! I have a wonderful group of kiddos this year - very sweet and caring and they all just LOVE school. I am really looking forward to everything we can do together this year.

Since it's the first Tuesday of the month (September already!), that means we're talking about classroom community... and what better way to build community than with a morning meeting. I know so many of you do your own version of morning meeting. My morning meeting combines a lot of Responsive Classroom and a little of me - and of course, my kiddos!  I find morning meeting to be one of THE most important ways to not only set the tone for the day, but also to find out a little more about my sweeties and to make those all-important connections. We do morning meeting first thing in the morning, but if we have to miss it for some reason,  we always make it up late in the day. I know one of the teachers in my building did an afternoon meeting right after lunch one year, because that was the way it worked best in her schedule. WHEN you do a class meeting is not as important as the fact that you DO it.

Here's a brief rundown of my morning meeting time. (Clipart from the always adorable Melonheadz!)

It is so important that every student - and adult in my room at that time! - gets greeted each morning with a smile, eye contact and using their name. We start right away on the first day of school talking about how nice it is to hear your name and be greeted. We model a good handshake, making eye contact, using a clear voice and how to smile. We have simple greetings that go around our circle, such as a handshake, a wave, saying "hello" in different languages... and we also have more complicated greetings that involve songs and movement. One favorite greeting is the "shoe greeting." Everyone takes off one of their shoes and adds it to the pile in the middle of the circle. Students each take a turn choosing a shoe and greeting that person. Another favorite (that I have to do with the door closed!) is our "rally greeting." We stand in a circle and shout, "2,4,6,8 who do we appreciate? Linda!" Then Linda moves quickly around the circle slapping everyone's outstretched hand, until she gets back to her spot. You can read more about how I keep my greetings fresh and grab a freebie from this post.

Calendar skills are still part of our day in second grade, but I do the calendar on the Smartboard, and as we go through the year, we bring in different skills. We do a couple quick questions about the calendar in general (What will the date be 3 weeks from today?), add a day to our count (we start counting backwards when we get to 100), do the weather (including the temperature - what would 5 degrees warmer be?) and a page with one other math or spelling skill. You can see more about the calendar part of our morning meeting in this post {HERE}.

Everyday, there are 3-4 students who share. I have a sign-up sheet by our meeting area for students to choose a day that week. At the beginning of the year, I limit it to sharing once a week. Right now, there is no topic for their sharing. I like to see what my kiddos feel is important to them to share with the class. Later in the year, we will work together to decide on different sharing topics that students have the option of signing up for - all about me, sports and clubs, expert talents, etc. The sharing part of our morning meeting is a window into my student's lives and really brigs out their personalities, likes, dislikes, etc.

We end our meeting with a group activity.  Sometimes it's a fun game, such as "Four Corners", "Zoom" or "Find a Friend." Other times the activity has an academic component - reviewing math skills, spelling words, science concepts, etc. Many of the games involve music, movement and cooperation. Either way, the idea is to finish with something the whole group is a part of. We have different games we do all year and a list of favorites we go back to when we need a quick filler. Read more about my favorite games and the resources I use to find games in this post.

Morning meeting is such an important way to set the tone for the day, to build connections among peers, to teach and model social skills and to have fun! This Saturday I'll be starting a blog mini-series about my morning meetings. Until then - I want to hear from you! I always get so many great ideas from other teachers about how to make my morning meeting even better. What does your meeting look like? Do you have a favorite part of the meeting? What greetings and activities do you kiddos like best? Share your ideas in the comments - or add your post to the linky below. I started by sharing a few other great posts about morning meeting. I can't wait to hear your ideas!

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