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My 3-Step Morning Meeting Routine For 3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders

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Morning meeting has made a huge difference in our classroom community. It has allowed me to talk to my students about some tricky subjects. So if you’re struggling with classroom community, have students fighting with each other, drama, or aren’t seeing a lot of motivation in your classroom, morning meeting can make a huge difference.

The morning meeting is my favorite part of the day. It takes about 10-15 minutes a day, and it helps me feel more positive about our classroom. Also, it’s a great time to remind myself of how amazing it is to have a group of students in the classroom community and to have the time to talk to them.

I know our schedules are stretched thin, but this 10-15 minutes a day creates a change throughout the day to the point where it is worth taking this dedicated time.

3-Step Morning Meeting Routine

1. Greet Students

Many teachers do fun chants to get students excited about stuff. I’ll do that sometimes, but for me, it’s a really simple greeting like, “Happy Tuesday, everyone. I hope you had a great day yesterday. I hope today is going to be an awesome day. We have some fun things going on.”

Greet your students and let them know you are excited to be there and excited they are there. You could also say, “Let me know how you’re feeling today. Give me a thumbs up or thumbs down.” That can be helpful. You could also have them do a fun call back to you. Something quick, so it takes less than a minute but engages the students so you can start the meeting.

If I notice that my students are tired, already disengaged, and having a rough day, I’ll add something to the greeting to get them interested. This could be having them all shout their favorite color or animal or something silly like the animal that scares them the most. It’s just a way to get them to wake up, get excited, and listen to what the other students say. It’s great to get them to share something personal because students are always more engaged when they share something about themselves.

2. Guided Discussions & Journaling

Step two of the morning meeting is when we get into the juicy stuff. We may discuss something as a class, have students discuss something in partners, or journal. I like to mix this up, so it’s not the same thing every time.

We discuss or journal about something important. For example, this could be about bullying if that’s an issue in your classroom. Or, if students are having problems in the cafeteria, you can talk to them about the cafeteria and have them journal about what bugs them. Usually, things about noise or messes will come out. Then, discuss as a class how we can help do our part to ensure things are clean and what the result of doing that is.

I use this a lot when teaching 5th to 8th grade. For example, we talk a lot about relationships because there is a lot of drama and struggle with student relationships. So, instead of constantly talking to certain students about it and having an ongoing nightmare, we can take the time to have students discuss how we can handle certain situations that have been going on. Also, have them talk about how they feel about these situations. This allows us to give them the tools they need to handle these situations better.

Especially related to bullying, this allows us to build better relationships and ensure all students treat each other respectfully.

This is also a time when we can talk about an upcoming event. We can make plans for things coming up in the class. We talk about things we’re excited about or not excited about around the event. I always share openly, so students know it’s not just them feeling how they feel.

This takes about 8-10 minutes, depending on what we’re talking about that day. Sometimes, I’ll have students do this as journaling if I feel it’s something students need to reflect on.

3. Goal Setting

Step three is where I motivate my students for the day. Individually, students will have a goal-setting sheet. Then, they can write down a goal for the day. You can also set class goals if you’re working on something together. I often use project-based learning, and we will set goals in that area.

If you don’t use project-based learning, you could say something like, “Today in math, we’re going to do math centers. We’re going to try to get three centers done.” It doesn’t matter what teaching method you use; you can set a whole class goal or have students set individual goals.

You can also have students set personal goals. So, if you talk about bullying or building relationships, students can write down a goal about that. For example, “I will work to make one new friend.” or “I will talk to someone who doesn’t have someone sitting next to them today.”

Ending the morning meeting

I always end the morning meeting by telling students I care and am there for them if they have questions. I share that we are a community and all here for each other.

This starts our class off positively, and then we can go straight into whatever lesson we’re working on for the day. If you’re looking for more ideas, please comment below and let me know what questions you have or what you’re struggling with.

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April Smith

Curriculum Writer and Online Professional Development Coach. 

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