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The Value of Morning Meeting

October 1, 2015 | Posted in Second, SJCS

I mentioned on Back-To-School-Night that this past summer, I attended a Responsive Classroom training. One component is starting each day with a morning meeting. Morning Meeting is an engaging way to start each day, build a strong sense of community, and set students up for success socially and academically. Each morning, we gather together in a circle and interact with one another during four purposeful components:

  1. Greeting – Students and teachers greet one another by name and practice offering hospitality.
  2. Sharing – Students share information about important events in their lives. Listeners often offer empathetic comments or ask clarifying questions.
  3. Group Activity – Everyone participates in a brief, lively activity that fosters group cohesion and helps students practice social and academic skills (for example, reciting a poem, singing, or playing a game that reinforces social or academic skills).
  4. Morning Message – Students read and interact with a short message written by  the teacher. The message is crafted to help students focus on the work they’ll do in school that day.

The format of Morning Meeting is predictable, but there is plenty of room for variation and change. Meetings reflect the individual style of  teachers and classrooms.

The way we begin each day in our classroom sets the tone for learning about what we value, about our expectations for the way we will treat each other, and about the way we believe learning happens.  It matters to children whether they are greeted warmly or overlooked, whether the classroom feels chaotic and unpredictable, or structured and comforting. When we start the day with everyone together, welcoming each person, sharing news, listening to individual voices, and communicating as a caring group, we send the message that every person matters.

Morning Meeting helps create a climate of trust. In order to learn, students must take risks, and students are more likely to take risks when they know they will be respected and valued, no matter the outcome.

Research is now confirming that social skills are not just something to be taught so that children behave well in school. Rather, social skills are very much connected with cognitive growth and academic progress. These skills must be modeled and practiced in the context of social interaction. Morning Meeting is a form in which all that happens.