Let’s talk! Getting to know each other can help us learn together.
This year, our staff has conducted Morning Meetings every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. For the first fifteen minutes of the day, students circle up, engaging in teacher-prompted greetings and shares.
Greetings may involve practicing a firm handshake while maintaining eye contact. Saying Good Morning or Hello in another language is another way to start Morning Meeting. Students have also done the wave, and I’ve even seen straightforward responses to: “How Are You Doing Today?”
Secondly, students answer a specific question during the share. After one student draws a question slip out of a hat and reads it aloud to the class, each student gets a chance to respond.
Example questions may include:
- What’s your favorite number?
- What makes you angry?
- If you had to eat chicken nuggets or hot dogs for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
- What kinds of exercises do you like to do when you’re not at school?
- Tell us about one of your favorite family traditions.
- What was your favorite part of our field trip or learning experience?
Why Morning Meeting Matters
As a specials teacher, I get the awesome opportunity to visit several different elementary classrooms and experience these interactions.
There are four reasons why I think Morning Meetings are so powerful.
Look again at the share questions above. I left out the most important parts. Really, each Morning Meeting question ends in: “… and why?”
1–Getting to know each other as people can help us grow together as learners.
It’s in the reasons to those why parts where I get to learn about kids in a different way. Often teachers know how well their students can demonstrate and master content knowledge, but not commonly enough–it seems–do educators know the kids themselves.
Morning Meeting is the perfect opportunity to strengthen the classroom climate and bind together as a community of lifelong learners.
2–Daily Conversations Strengthen Relationships
It’s greatly stressed that educators set the expectations for the year from the first impression, from that very first Meet the Teacher moment. Usually this happens in the first two weeks of school, and then we all cross that imaginary finish line.
Yes! We’re done! Check it off the list! Right?
But if establishing classroom expectations was meant for the very beginning-of-the-year moments, then we must also understand that relationships are built one conversation, learning experience, and moment at a time–throughout the entire year.
In 10 Myths About Relationships, it was highlighted how educators can have a tendency to package relationships inside the expectations-setting period of those first two weeks. But growing sustainable relationships takes investment every single day–and that can’t be limited to those getting-to-know-you icebreakers in the first two weeks alone.
It’s especially during those Morning Meetings where we have intentionally planned to connect with each other, helping to sustain relationships.
3–Teachers Get to Know the Students Better
Life changes. Kids change. There are some things you learn about students through daily interactions that just aren’t scripted in their cumulative folders or legal records. Students can speak from the heart, communicating positives and needs in their world.
Morning Meeting opens doors between teachers and students.
4–Students Get to Know Each Other Better
A group of students can be more like a learning community than a classroom. Whereas classroom usually implies structured academics, community encompasses the intangibles, such as character traits and social emotional learning. When students interact with others who are different from them, they gain more than content knowledge.
Morning Meetings are set up to gain perspective by listening to and learning from each other. They help us connect context to content.
Had a great time in @LeannHamstra's classroom building relationships with fifth graders during #MorningMeeting today. We learned how to greet each other in several different languages, & we even learned about each other's favorite cultural foods. #SwimFwd #HamstraHighlights #sel pic.twitter.com/P7qAov5Iwi
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) March 7, 2018
"There's POWER in teamwork!" Loved joining this @DDEDolphins #MorningMeeting! @nolbertz second graders plan strategies to maintain safety & have fun on their field trip @MarblesRaleigh! AND–They'll learn about butterfly life cycles @IMAXRaleigh! #sci2L11 #sci2L12 #SwimFwd #PBIS pic.twitter.com/iQSOQqG7ON
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) March 8, 2018
"Hello. My name is __________. My favorite number is _____, because __________." Had a great time learning about fourth graders' life experiences that may greatly impact number sense in @TomCampbellJr's fourth grade #MorningMeeting. #SwimFwd pic.twitter.com/xTXnUoMRnC
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) March 20, 2018
"My son participated in First-In-Fitness yesterday. If you could choose one #FirstInFitness event to do, which one would you choose, & why?" We're talking health and exercise in our @DDEDolphins #MorningMeeting. Enjoyed getting to know @mrskmarkman's kinders even better. #SwimFwd pic.twitter.com/O9e1Mw9gHj
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) March 21, 2018
This. Girl. Is on 🔥.
I like Indian songs.
Don't. Stop. Believing.
I like Chinese songs.
Can't stop the music.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.
Ice. Ice. Baby.
"What makes you angry?"
Trying to have convos w/my cat.
Fun #MorningMeeting with @kitts_melissa 4th gr. #SwimFwd pic.twitter.com/cOENEloOAT
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) March 28, 2018
"Would you rather live in the arctic or desert? Why? Wow! Including Mr. H, 8/21 people chose desert. That fraction can't be reduced. How many chose arctic?" Really liked how @andreasquiers6 integrated curriculum into her @DDEDolphins #MorningMeeting yesterday. #SwimFwd #math3NF3 pic.twitter.com/X3aDHeQSq6
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) March 28, 2018
"What makes you angry?" It's a question I have never asked students. But I learned a lot by listening to @DDEDolphins third graders when @christylpurdy asked them in #MorningMeeting today. #SwimFwd pic.twitter.com/bxRy4pPimn
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) March 29, 2018
Do you know how to say "Good Morning" in Arabic? A student from Egypt taught me today. We practiced greeting each other with eye contact and a firm handshake. Great getting to know @solgirltweets second graders a little bit better in #MorningMeeting. #SwimFwd pic.twitter.com/AxbKZjhP1c
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) April 10, 2018
After greeting each other with figurative & literal waves, fifth graders reflect on their best, funniest, most memorable, & favorite moments of their @dcherewecomedde field trip. Great time getting to know @DrPowellReads students even better in #MorningMeeting. #dcdde18 #SwimFwd pic.twitter.com/Lqrfdg7Zs1
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) April 17, 2018
"Share one of your favorite family traditions and why it's special to you." With answers like Chinese New Year, Diwali, Hanukkah, birthdays, fireworks, gardening, and vacations, I had a great time getting to know @Pottspod's first graders even better in #MorningMeeting. #SwimFwd pic.twitter.com/2WnEunW7m3
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) April 18, 2018
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) November 7, 2017
"We start every single day with a 15-minute morning meeting, where kids can share what's going on in their lives… Making connections by having this dialogue first thing every morning benefits students' learning overall." We're talking #sel at #edcampvance.
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) March 10, 2018