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The next few posts are explanations of all the stuff I've tried in my classroom this year that has worked, followed by or interspersed with things I need to do better next year.

Brag #1: Morning Meeting

If I had to pick one thing that made a huge difference to my kids' learning and sense of community in my classroom, it would be the consistent morning meeting. It has evolved over the course of the year, with a few things staying the same throughout.

Morning Meeting has a script, which I wrote out in my transcripts on Planboard and then slotted into every MM slot in my day plans automatically. I stopped using the script in October but it's useful to have for supply teachers, volunteers/student teachers, and for the principal to see day plans that look like I actually put time into them.

At the beginning of the year, we started by greeting each student by name and shaking hands. After the first head cold, that became shaking elbows. We sang a song to go with it. Then we read the Morning Message, which I write on the white board every day. The Morning Message follows a very clear format: Dear Students, Today is Monday, May 8th. It is a day 1. We have Drama in sixth period. What are our learning goals? I can write with a capital at the beginning of my sentence and a period at the end. I can use the making tens strategy to add. Our spelling words are: (the Morning Meeting helper writes these in.) Our journal entry is: I have a Youtube channel. I make videos about. . . Have a great day! Sincerely, Ms. S. (and any student teachers/volunteers in my room that day.)

Then we do the calendar, the number of days we've been at school so far, and Explain the Number. (150 is an even number. I know because I looked in the ones place and there's a zero there, and zeros are even. 150 has one group of one hundred, 5 groups of ten, and 0 ones.) We also do some counting on our fingers and by 2's, 5's, and 10's, up to the number of the day. Last, we pick a new Morning Meeting Helper for the next day, and if it's a Monday, we choose new people to do the other jobs, too.  These things have changed very little over the course of the year.

At different points in the year, I've added:

1) Measuring: we went through three weeks when we measured the Morning Meeting Helper every day, and put a piece of tape on the wall next to the tape ruler to show how tall they were. In June, we'll do this again to see how much we've grown since February.

2) Hundreds Chart: Once we started getting good at place value, I took most of the numbers out of my pocket hundreds chart and put them in a bag. The kids picked one number every day and had to figure out where it went, then explain why they put it there. If they made a mistake, we worked through it until they found the mistake and fixed it. Then we cheered for them because making a mistake and fixing it makes your brain grow! 

3) Singing the Days of the Week and the Months of the Year. I took this out just after Christmas, once I was sure all my kids knew it. 

4) To be added: I need to teach reading a clock, so I think I will add a bit of that to Morning Meeting for the next few weeks.

5) Sharing: Shortly after Christmas, I realized that I'd left Sharing (aka Show and Tell) out of the Morning Meeting. So we added it in and assigned each child a day. They're getting good at remembering which day is theirs, though the Monday people feel cheated a lot. 

I keep track of who has been Morning Meeting Helper recently, and we go through the entire class list before anyone gets picked again. 

So that's my Morning Meeting. It takes the better part of a period, but it's worth it for the number of concepts it teaches and reinforces.

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June 2017


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