"The Morning Meeting" submitted by Jill Katrin

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Responsive Classroom Paper Submitted by Jill M. Katrin

Morning Meeting

The Morning Meeting is one of the six key components of The Responsive Classroom. In this paper I will discuss its importance, how it addresses the needs of the children, and how I will use this component with my classroom during the upcoming year. I will also discuss what I have done in relation to the Morning Meeting in previous years.

The format of the Morning Meeting consists of four components: greetings, sharing, group activity, and news and announcements. The class gathers in a circle formation for meeting time. The circle provides a variation to the standard of desks in rows. This formation heightens the feeling of being part of a group, increases visibility, and helps students keep their focus.

The anticipatory prompt is the classroom chart that is displayed and changed daily. The chart consists of a greeting, date, names of leaders, review, and daily news and announcements. The chart gives students an opportunity to read the answer to the number one question asked daily, What are we going to do today teacher? It also provides the teacher with think time to prepare for daily activities until it is time to circle up.

Morning meeting usually begins shortly after all students have arrived, and typically lasts between fifteen and thirty minutes. Doing the Morning Meeting at the same time every day may be a challenge due to late buses, scheduled specialist time such as gym, music, library, Title I Reading, etc. There is flexibility in completing the components in one sitting. For example: a simple greeting could be done right away and the rest of the components could resume later in the day.

The Morning Meeting begins with the Greeting. The greeting helps students learn each others names, and provides a sense of recognition and belonging. It also sets a friendly tone for the rest of the Morning Meeting. What a great way to welcome each other and visitors on a daily basis!

Sharing is another component of the Morning Meeting. This follows Greeting. Students present news they wish to share and respond to questions and comments. Students learn more about one another and visitors during this special time. Sharing strengthens vocabulary development and reading success. Students practice speaking in front of a group during this time. The skills of caring communication are developed as children listen respectfully.

Group Activity and News and Announcements are two more components of Morning Meeting. Group activities provide active and engaged participation by the entire class. Playing a simple game within the circle would be an example of a group activity. Group activities encourage cooperation and inclusion. Group activity builds cohesion, group participation, and respect for individual differences.

News and Announcements are written by the teacher and posted on the chart. The chart is moved to the circle and read as the last part of Morning Meeting. News and announcements eases the transition into the classroom day and informs students about what they will be doing for the rest of the day. Academic skills can be developed and reviewed in the News and Announcements. Group activities and news and announcements help with listening skills, following directions, exercising self-control, and skill building.

During Morning Meeting, children have the opportunity to share things, events, experiences, feelings, community news, and news about family and friends that matter in their lives. These language- building activities develop the students ability to speak in a group. The list of topics to focus on is endless. Playground rules, fairness issues, moral judgement, multiculturalism, etc. are possible areas to focus on. Specific topics alleviate typical toy sharing during this time. Special days or weeks for toy sharing can be noted for this sharing.

The Morning Meeting provides children the daily opportunity to practice greetings, conversation, sharing, listening, self-expression, problem-solving, and respectful behavior. It motivates them to meet the academic challenges of the day ahead, and builds a sense of community where everyone feels a sense of belonging. Student participation is valued and respected. Students can be active participants by both listening and sharing. Beginning each day with the Morning Meeting gives students focus and direction. The fun, friendly activities set a happy tone for learning. Doing the Morning Meeting daily builds a sense of stability and establishes a climate of trust.

The Morning Meeting reinforces listening skills, reviews academic and social learning, allows individual as well as group sharing, provides fun, friendly, and self-affirming activities, increases attention, and builds a sense of cooperative interaction. Social issues such as teasing and playground behavior issues can be addressed. Children learn to care about themselves and each other when these issues are addressed.

Daily review of academic concepts in Reading, Math, Language Arts, Science, and History can be accomplished with Morning Meeting. The Morning Meeting teaches the following academic skills: listening, speaking, problem-solving, following directions, decision-making, reading, language arts (spelling and writing), and math skills.

The Morning Meeting encompasses both academic and social learning. Social learning is as important as academic learning, and Greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction were two principles stated throughout this week of training. It is these powerful statements that I hope to be reminded of daily as I build the foundation of social learning and interaction in my classroom this year.

I choose to discuss this component because this is the component I am most anxious to use in my classroom. I work with seven and eight year old children. Developmentally speaking, seven year olds love routine and the structure of school. They also enjoy teacher-directed activities and child-initiated learning. They also show interest in learning more about the world around them. The Morning Meeting will help with these developmental characteristics of seven-year olds.

Morning Meeting reminds me of Circle Time when I was an Early Childhood teacher/director. We gathered in a circle to sing, share, discuss, etc. The same social skills are modeled. All children make important contributions. Their unique contributions are recognized, appreciated, and respected. It is their special time to be heard. We learn so much by sharing with each other.

During the last three years that I have taught second grade, my students and I began our day with Star Helper activities such as: calendar, weather, hot lunch menu, birthdays, morning exercises and daily news and announcements. Fifteen minutes of sharing would take place after the Star Helper activities. I found that the children arrived bursting to share about themselves, friends, families, etc. Allowing this sharing time early in the day opened up their mind for academic learning.

This year I am incorporating all areas of the Morning Meeting with my classroom. The children look forward to the daily chart, greeting each other in different ways, sharing, and the daily news and announcements. I can see how each students social skills work hand in hand with the academics throughout all components of Responsive Classroom.

-- Anonymous, November 15, 1999


Dear Mary Ann, This paper is for my grade A proposal, Part I. Jill

-- Anonymous, November 15, 1999

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