Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The best ways to help morning meetings run smoothly this year

Have you ever tried class meetings in your classroom? Do you wonder how to make the most of them?
Morning meetings and closing circles have become a staple in our classroom. This is a time that my
students look forward to each morning and afternoon. It is also a time of day that I get to just sit back
and appreciate my students because they lead the class meetings. You are probably asking, “How does
she do that?” Well let me tell you, it does take some training at the beginning of the year, but you can do
it this year too! It can even be done with distance learning.  Sit back and relax, as I tell you all about
how I run our class meetings each day. 


   
   The first thing you are going to want to do is research what the different parts of the class meetings
are. At the bottom you’re going to be able to download my class meetings packet, so don’t worry, it will
all be there for you. After some research, you are going to want to let the parents of your class know
what you are planning to do. I have also included a letter to parents or guardians to help you out. The
letter should explain what the parts of the meeting are, and how you plan to run them in your classroom.
The letter will also give directions to the parents explaining how the students will participate in the
meetings. 




   For the first month or so of school, I lead the meetings. This allows me to teach the students how the
meetings are run. We always start the meeting with a greeting. This is a time for the students to say Hi
to their classmates. They love getting to go around the room and say Hi to their friends. After the
greeting, I ask a “getting to know you” question. The question lets us all learn a little more about each
other. When we are not in the middle of a pandemic, I have the students sit in a circle around the
carpet. But this next year we will stay seated at our desks, and our greetings will include social
distancing. I will have the students give air hugs, air high fives, and waves to each other. Then I will
let them walk to one or two friends, remembering social distancing, and give their greeting. Then, all
of the students will return to their seats. I will have the students answer our question for the day from
their seats. 


   If you will be starting with distance learning, class meetings can still be a part of your day. You can
have the students take turns giving their greetings and answering their questions while you are on your
meeting platform. The students will love being able to share, and also seeing their classmates. 




   Eventually, you can choose a student leader and decide if you will have the student lead each day,
or for the whole week. I have included two different planning sheets for you. Each of the sheets have
each part of the meeting. The students will use the provided greetings and questions to decide what they
would like to include for that day. Sometimes students like to come up with their own greeting or
question, and I am fine with that. I like to give the forms to the students a week or two before their
scheduled time to lead. This gives them plenty of time to decide what greeting and question they want
to use, and it also gives me time to review what they want to include. I am also able to check if the
greetings and questions they came up with are appropriate. 


   


   The last thing that I do to get ready for our daily meetings is use slides to give the agenda for the day.
I type in the questions that the students want to use for each day right into the slide. This lets all the
other students know what the question is and lets them start thinking about how they would like to
answer. Now I never force anyone to answer the question. They can always say pass and we move
on to the next person. I like to come back around and let the students that didn’t answer have another
opportunity, or for others to add on to their answer based on what other students had to say. I usually
have some type of object that acts as our talking stick. At the beginning of the year, we talk about using
the talking stick and how you must be holding it to speak. So we do a lot of practicing with the talking
stick and raising our hand to be handed the talking stick in order to respond to the question, or add
on to another student's answer. It takes a little bit of time for the students to get used to using the talking
stick, but once they get the hang of it, it works out great! 

   Class meetings are an excellent way to get to know your students and learn more about them. The
students love to learn about one another as well. Every year this quickly becomes one of our favorite
times of the day. I know things are going to look different this next year, but we can still use class
meetings to build community in our class. If you would like to give morning meetings a try, click below
to get your free sample to try it out! 




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