Leadership · Curriculum · Lifelong Learning

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.

The Greeting

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?”

The Share

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.

What are your thoughts? Comment here!

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