Morning meetings are a time set aside by the teacher at the beginning of the school day to build classroom community. As Healey grade 3 teacher Julia Hermann explains, “We take the time to greet each other, share our thoughts and ideas based on a question of the day, and enjoy a shared experience with a class activity.”
Ms. Hermann noticed early in the school year that her students particularly love to discuss anything to do with animals. She recently used this interest to take the students on a virtual field trip to the Grand Canyon. They watched a short video featuring animals such as mountain lions, burrowing owls, and bison. This visit, she explains, then “sparked a lot of great discussion about different types of animals, habitats, adaptations, and students’ personal experiences with animals. It was a great way for students to take part in a shared experience and to share their own thoughts and ideas.”
Other morning meeting conversation starters have included questions such as, “What music would you like to have play whenever you walk into a room?” or, “If you had to give up screen time or candy for a year, which would you choose?” These prompts and classroom conversations get the ideas flowing and the students sharing ideas.
Another bonus? “It’s also helpful for kids who are a bit more shy. If they speak during a fun morning meeting activity first thing, I find they are typically more comfortable speaking again later during our academic time,” says Ms. Hermann.
Why do morning meetings matter? As Ms. Hermann explains, “It sets a great tone for the day and gets kids talking and listening to each other.” Since students aren’t in the classroom together, there are more limits on what teachers can plan for the class for morning meetings. But they are just as, if not more, important during this year of remote learning.
--Abby Luthin, Writing Communications Specialist