This year, we are initiating a wonderful way to launch your child's day called Morning Meeting. The purposes of Morning Meeting, which is an important part of the Responsive Classroom approach, are to build a respectful and welcoming community, set a positive tone, increase excitement and engagement with learning and improve academic and social and emotional skills at the same time. In short, daily Morning Meeting promotes a climate of trust, academic growth and positive behavior.
Morning Meeting usually takes between twenty and thirty minutes, and includes four components. Students begin by greeting each other and are, in turn, each acknowledged by classmates in a friendly and inclusive manner. Next, students share meaningful news or ideas with each other in a structured way. Topics can range from personal experiences to connections with academic issues or current events. Sometimes all students share as we go around in a circle, other times a few students share and have a conversation with the class. Sharing builds listening, reflection, analytical and questioning skills, and helps students learn about each other. During sharing, children have a chance to feel that their ideas are valued and their voices heard while they practice active listening and effective communication skills.
After sharing, there is an activity for the whole class that builds on academic skills in a fun and collaborative structure. Students may play a math game, or learn a song. Older students may work together to solve a problem or answer a question posed to them on the Morning Message. The activity time helps the class feel united as a group while reinforcing academic and cooperation skills.
Finally, we read the Morning Message, which helps students think about the day ahead. This can also be a time to review and practice academic skills.
Every day, Morning Meeting lets our students know that school is a place where all children's ideas and feelings are important. The structure is simple but the content can be as sophisticated and complex as the developmental level of the class. In older grades, students eventually take ownership of leading the meetings by inventing greetings, generating sharing topics and initiating activities.
We will be inviting parents to a Morning Meeting parent education event this fall where you will have the opportunity to participate in an adult Morning Meeting and experience the multifaceted and rich nature that this structure offers. You will see for yourself why we are so excited about this start to our day.