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The Morning Meeting

By: Second Grade Teachers Jennifer Boyd and Melissa Kriegshauser

September 15, 2015

Beginnings are crucial — especially for children. The way a child begins the day sets the tone for learning and speaks volumes about how they interact with others. At Rossman, students’ learning begins the second they walk through the doors of the building. Children are greeted warmly by a friendly face at either the front or back door. Although this gesture may seem small, for many, this interaction is exactly what is needed to get the day started on a positive note.

We have found that our second grade students are more focused, organized and relaxed as they start their day when they arrive in our classroom early enough to complete their morning routine (fill in assignment book, sharpen pencils, turn in homework, make lunch choice, do daily edit, put backpack away, etc.). The children are then able to fully participate in our first activity of the day, which starts right at 8 a.m.

Inspired by The Morning Meeting Book by Roxann Kriete and Carol Davis, we have established a wonderful beginning to second graders’ day in the classroom this year. It is called Morning Meeting and it is a great way to build community, set a positive tone, increase excitement about learning, and improve academic and social skills. At 8:00 each morning, a bell is rung and we gather on our rug to meet for 15 minutes. The children are greeted by the teachers and in turn the children greet the teachers and each other in a friendly, cheerful manner. We read the Morning Message on the board, which promotes character education or provides inspiration, an interesting fact or an indication of something special happening. It helps us think about the day ahead. We share interesting news with each other, an activity that which fosters listening skills, helps formulate good questions and helps us learn about each other. The children also have the opportunity to realize that their feelings and ideas are valued and that their teachers and classmates truly care.

“A person who can demonstrate self-control and listen well, who can ask a thoughtful question and pose it respectfully, and who can examine a situation from a number of perspectives will be a stronger learner,” say Kriete and Davis. “All those skills — so essential to classroom achievement — can be modeled, experienced, practiced, extended, and refined in the context of social interaction. Morning Meeting provides the opportunity in which this integration of social interaction and skill development can occur.”

The purpose of Morning Meeting is to:

  • Get to know one another — not just our best friends and people we normally hang out with — so that everyone will feel a part of the classroom community

  • Be able to share different experiences and ideas

  • Learn to have fun together as a group

We follow Morning Meeting ground rules, which also pertain to our regular classroom rules:

  • Listen respectfully

  • Look at the person who’s talking

  • Keep your body in control

  • Raise your hand if you want to talk

  • Keep your hand down when someone is speaking

  • Make room for everyone on the rug

  • Offer thoughtful questions and comments

We have already noticed a change in our students from when the school year began. We will continue to stress the Rossman rules, character education and proper manners, which are all important life lessons.

“Wherever our students journey and whatever joys and challenges their journeys bring, these abilities will serve them and the world they inhabit.”

—Roxann Kriete and Carol Davis

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