So I would have to say, of all the parts of my day, Morning Meeting is my all time favorite! Part of the appeal is knowing that each morning is like a fresh piece of notebook paper- everyone gets a fresh start- no matter what did or didn't happen the day before in the classroom. But I think an even bigger part of the appeal for me is the reality of the impact that morning meeting can have on my students. For many of them, the greetings they get at school are the first kind greetings they are getting for the day. For many of them, school is their safe place. For many of them, the classroom is the place they count on to provide them with their daily dose of structure, validation, and acceptance.
This is what Morning Meeting looks like in our classroom...
When the students come in each morning they unpack at their lockers and come into the classroom. They turn in any notes, lunch money, or homework they have and then find a place in the morning meeting circle. (At our school we do not start the day with morning work. It is the philosophy of our school that all students should begin each day with a soft landing. The majority of our students walk to school and have breakfast at school as well. Many students (our building is K-6) attend various morning study and counseling groups before coming to their classrooms each day. Once the morning bell rings, I take attendance, by greeting each child with "Good Morning ____ , I am glad you are here today!", and then our morning meeting can begin.
We start off each morning with some songs to liven things up! A couple good morning songs and of course OUR ABSOLUTE FAVORITE "I SAID BOOM CHICKA BOOM!" If you aren't familiar with "I Said Boom Chicka Boom", it is an old camping/scouting song that involves echo voices and a whole lot of silliness...just what the doctor ordered to wake up a bunch of sleepy six year olds at 8:30 in the morning!
You can check our our Morning Meeting Songs HERE
I SAID BOOM CHICKA BOOM HERE
After we sing our songs (and giggle our heads off), we say our greetings to each other. We do this while we are still sitting in our Morning Meeting circle. We use our friend Tapioca Tiger to help us with our good mornings each day. Whomever is holding Tapioca will turn to their neighbor and while making eye contact, greet them by "Good Morning _______", and then give them a compliment or a well wish for the day. (For example, "Good Morning Ben, I hope you have a great day." "Good Morning Addy, thank you. You look very nice today." It absolutely melts my heart to watch and listen to them give each other genuine compliments each morning. I JUST LOVE MY FIRSTIES! (insert tears and sniffles here.) Tapioca is often heard adding his two-cents as well!
When we finish our greetings, then we move into our regular rug seats for the Morning Message. The children love the morning message because each day it is different, each day they get to share the pen, and each day one lucky firstie gets to take it home to share it with their family! (What family wouldn't want this huge chart hanging on their living room wall?) I love the morning message because it is a great way to do a quick review or introduction of the skills we are doing in class, all while incorporating our schedule or plan for the day and any important news I need to discuss with them.
Then it is time for The Joke Of The Day! I have been doing The Joke Of The Day now for as long as I can remember...well to put it into perspective...I have a student this year whose mother had me in first grade....GASP! (I know...impossible, right?!) and she still remembers doing Joke Of The Day!) Anyway, it is an absolute highlight of each day! I put on my "joke glasses" (I have a treasure chest full of different ones) and I choose one student to wear the "student joke glasses"- (Target for the win!) I read the joke and the student helper calls on students to guess the answer. We then discuss what the joke meant and why it was funny. I mean, because honestly...who doesn't love a good joke?
You can check out our Joke Of The Day Set HERE
So, after Joke Of The Day, we then move on to Fact Of The Day! These are "Weird But True" Outrageous Facts, so they require us to wear some outrageously "smart" glasses and a headband with "brainwaves" shooting out of it! (Also, Target for the win!) These are a great tie in to science, health, and social studies, as well as just plain old good for making you think a little harder each morning!
You can check out our Fact Of The Day Set HERE
We then move on to The Advice Of The Day. These are life lessons written in kid language that we can think about, talk about, and plan to teach others. My firsties really love figuring out the meanings and trying to come up with different examples to use to explain them. I love listening to their conversation abilities grow as they discuss The Advice Of The Day each morning. These are great practice for comprehension and inferencing, as well as speaking and dicussion skills!
You can check out our Advice Of The Day Set HERE
You can check out our Question Of The Day HERE
You can check out our Writing Journals HERE
We end our morning meeting every day with the Pledge of Allegiance and Our Class Pledge. We spent a great deal of time at the beginning of the year learning about the meaning of the words in the Pledge of Allegiance and the words in Our Class Pledge so that when we stand and recite these each day, our words have meaning and purpose.
You can check out Our Class Pledge HERE
I like to tie my morning meeting in with my day in some way so that my day flows nicely. So whenever possible, I connect the day's lessons into the morning message through a skill review or introduction, or connect our journal writing for the day with the Question Of The Day. Occasionally, I tie my science, health or social studies lesson to the Fact Of The Day, or even connect the daily read aloud with our morning routine.
Recently, one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE READ ALOUDS actually tied in perfectly with the Question Of The Day..."What is something your family does together that you love?" This was a FANTASTIC segue into The Tub People by Pam Conrad
Have you read it? It is a must read!
These little tub people live on the edge of the tub. When the boy is not playing with them they have adventures together. The book talks all about what they love to do together. But, during the story, the Tub Child gets lost down the drain and the family is very worried and sad until he returns again. My firsties could not get enough of this story...edge of your seat I tell you!
You can find The Tub People by Pam Conrad HERE
The sequel to the story is The Tub Grandfather by Pam Conrad
In this book, the family finds the Tub Grandfather under the radiator covered with dust. He has long been forgotten, but the Tub Grandmother could not be happier to have found him. They reminisce and dance and the family is all happy to be together again.
(This book is actually out of print, but can be found used on Amazon.)
As for the little tub people in the pictures, I have a really good story behind those. So many moons ago, when I was in college pursuing my Bachelors Degree in Education, I was given an assignment to make props to go along with a story. I chose to use the book The Tub People. Having a very talented, artistic mother, who,when I was a child, I had sat along side trying to imitate for many hours on end while she painted on ceramics, and wood, and fabric, and while she sewed clothes and quilts and costumes...I knew exactly what I wanted to make! I had my dad cut out the wood I needed and I borrowed the painting supplies from my mom. I got to work. I made a model bathtub with a shower curtain, a replica of the soap they played on in the story and the washcloth that they used as a raft. I even made the Tub Grandfather to use in my future classroom with the sequel book because I loved the story so much....
I bet you think you can guess the ending of this story right?
The professor raved about the project and put it on display for everyone to look at and gave me an A+ ...
What actually happened was I got called into the professor's office to answer questions about where I actually got the little people for this project, because she felt there was no way possible that I made them. ( I reminded her that this was the third class I had with her, and that she knew what kind of student I was, she know what kind of work I produced, and she knew what kind of character I had.) She reminded me that she took that all into consideration, but she had even asked other professors and they all agreed these were too well done to be handmade. WHAT???!!! She told me she had to think about it some more and in the end, I got the project back with an
with a note..."the minus is because I am still not sure these were not store bought."
I tell you this story as a way of reminding you...
Everything you do as a teacher shapes someone in some way.
Everything you do as a teacher leaves an impression on someone in some way.
Wouldn't you rather the things you do leave good impressions and guide your students to the actions they want to repeat in their lives
the actions they want to avoid repeating in their lives?