Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How Do You Start Your Day? {FREEBIE!}

Hey there! It's Gina from Miss Peluso's Kindergarten here today {and the 11th of every month} to share a tiny piece of my little teaching world with you. My question to you today is: How do you begin each day? In my classroom, Morning Meeting is a vital part of our morning routine. With so much emphasis on goals, test scores, and student achievement, many teachers think that there is no time for Morning Meeting. Little do they know, our current educational status is exactly the reason why Morning Meeting is so important.
So, what is Morning Meeting? Morning Meeting is a meaningful way to begin each day as a community of caring and respectful learners. There are 4 components of Morning Meeting:
These 4 components provide students with opportunities to practice the skills of greeting, listening and responding, group problem-solving, and noticing and anticipating. Most importantly, regular practice of these 4 components helps to create a positive classroom climate in which children feel safe to take the risks necessary for learning. So, like I said before, in a new educational world that is so focused on achievement, Morning Meeting definitely has an important place. And, whether it's your first year or your fortieth, it's never too late to start!
I like to have my students sit in a circle so that everyone can see each other, but I do not require them to sit criss-cross. I recently made this change this year. I found that my students were more engaged and better listeners when they were allowed to sit in a way that was comfortable for them.
The main rules of the greeting are: listen when others are talking, look at the person you are greeting, and say their name.
These rules help to set the framework for a respectful greeting. But, greetings don't have to just be waves or handshakes! There are a million different ways students can greet each other, and I have had SO much fun creating new and exciting greetings that go beyond the Morning Meeting book!
I created this little flip book so that 1) I don't forget all of the possibilities and 2) my helper of the day can choose the greeting that (s)he wants to do! They LOVE getting to be in charge of our Morning Meeting greeting- it's like being the mini teacher!
Lucky for you, these greetings are my primary free download in my TPT store! These aren't even all of the greetings.. I ran out of ink!! Click {here} to download it for yourself and create your own little flip book.
After the greeting, I have a few students share. I keep a list of student names and cross off names with a dry erase marker when they've shared. This way, I make sure that everyone has at least one turn before someone gets a second. But, not all students have to share. If I am down to the last few students who haven't offered to share, I will ask them if they'd like a chance. They can simply say no, and then I will just cross their name off. Knowing that it is a CHOICE if they share or not helps to create a community in which they feel safe and comfortable.
My favorite part of the share is that students get to choose how they would like the rest of the class to respond to them. Before the student shares, (s)he will tell us how to respond {ex. clap, say woohooo! say I'm sorry!, do the wave, ANYTHING!}. After they share, we respond like they requested. This allows each student to get what (s)he needs.
I have to admit that I don't do this part every day. In kindergarten, my students need short bursts of learning, and it is very important to me to get to part 4. So, we usually don't do this as part of our morning meeting, but we will do it as our brain break right after we read our message.
Some examples of group activities are
-write CVC, vocal words, math facts, etc. on a beach ball and toss it around.
-follow the leader (coseeki)
-guess the number
Sometimes, these activities can also be work double time as greetings. For example, we play When A Cold Wind Blows as a greeting!
If you'd like more information on group activities, feel free to email me at!
This part of Morning Meeting is just chock full of academic connections! I like to write my messages on chart paper so that my students know that they are important enough to not erase! You could use a dry erase board or interactive white board if you'd like, though!
The most fun thing about morning messages is that they look SO different as the year progresses!
At the beginning of the year, I used 3 sentences that only slightly changed. I greeted them, told them the day of the week, and mentioned one thing that we would do during the day. I read each line, and then the students choral read after me while I pointed to each word.
Then, our messages started to get a little longer. I still greeted them and told them the day of the week, but now I told them 2 things that we would be doing during the day. I also started adding some sort of response at the end {a question where students would tally under yes/no, a question where students would tally under multiple choices, writing a specific letter or number, finding a letter, or posting a picture and having students write the first sound} depending on what we were learning at that point. Some days we would choral read, but some days they would read with me!
Now, our message are not only longer, but the students write ALL of the sight words! I write the framework and leave blank lines where a sight word goes. When we get to a blank, a student comes up and writes the word. I have also given up the power of pointing to the morning message {this was hard!} Now, my helper of the day points to the words as we read. This is a great way to help reinforce 1:1 correspondence and reading from L to R!

Morning messages can look however you'd like them to! Obviously, in fifth grade, you would not be focusing on the same skills that I do. When I interned in 5th grade, many of the teachers would print out copies of the morning message and have students edit their mistakes! The ideas are limitless!
I think that one of the most important things about Morning Meeting is having everything at your fingertips. You don't want your helper of the day to choose a greeting, and then have to run around the room to find the supplies that you need! There are two ways that I combat the organization of Morning Meeting.
I keep ALL of my Morning Meeting supplies in a three drawer Sterlite container. I keep these drawers right under my easel for easy access!
You can find everything in there.. name cards, pointers, fun glasses, the talking stick, a fake snowball, our sharing ball, I Have Who Has games, number cards… everything!
I just changed to this system this year and I love it!!! I was the one running around my room trying to find supplies last year.
All of my Morning Meetings greeting are held together on a binder ring like I shared with you before! How does this help me so much? If you download my FREE product, I not only supply you with the greetings and directions, but I tell you what you need to prep ahead of time and what materials you will need to do the greeting. You will never be left unprepared and if you have a substitute, they will know what materials they need {and can find them in your Sterlite drawers!!}
So are you completely convinced to start Morning Meeting in your classroom if you haven't already? You won't regret it! Your students will build positive relationships with YOU and one another, and will have a positive start to the day, no matter how their day was before they entered your classroom! If you need a little FREEBIE to get you started, click {here} to head over to my TPT store and grab my I Have Who Has Valentine's Edition for FREE! What's better? It's completely editable to work for ANY teacher in ANY grade level!
Thanks for letting me talk your ear off about my favorite part of the day! Don't forget to visit me at Miss Peluso's Kindergarten!

1 comment:

  1. This past year many of the teachers in my building were trained in responsive classroom, and do a morning meeting in their classrooms. I teach pull-out groups and do a shortened morning meeting (greeting and quick share) and it really gets my groups off on the right foot. Thanks for the sharing your greeting cards, that is an excellent idea!