Contract for Grade Assignment #1 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

The Morning Meeting

How the morning meeting meets the needs of students

The morning meeting component of the Responsive Classroom is based on the premise that the social curriculum and the academic curriculum are of equal importance and should be fully integrated. The morning meeting consists of four different parts: Greetings, Sharing, Group Activity, and News and Announcements. It provides children the daily opportunity to practice greetings, conversations, sharing and problem solving, and motivates them to meet the academic challenges of the day ahead. Goals of the morning meeting include: to create communityto provide a sense of belonging, significance and fun, to foster responsive interactionssharing, listening, inclusion and participation, to teach the skills needed to be a responsive member of a classroom and school through daily rituals and patterns. Morning meetings provide for childrens social and academic needs in the classroom by:

 Providing both individual and group participation, teaching children that they have important things to contribute to their group

 Teaching children to care about themselves and each other

 Establishing rituals and routines

 Having a varied, fun content

 Creating an attentive, alert, responsive and friendly tone for the day

 Teaching important skills for academic success such as listening, speaking, synthesizing information, problem solving, following directions, decision making, reading, writing, spelling and math skills

Morning meetings should be held shortly after the school day begins. The meeting should stay between 15-30 minutes in length, and should take place with the children gathered in a circle. What I have done in the past to meet the needs of students

In the past I established a structured routine each morning with the intention of creating a sense of community and belonging. The routine consisted of attendance, hot lunch count, calendar activities (done by the helper), and the Pledge of Allegiance, before beginning our reading lesson. The children knew what to expect each day and I felt that the rituals created a sense of security for my students. Unfortunately, sharing had to wait until free time or Show and Tell (once a week), and this is where I provided students with the opportunity to practice speaking and sharing in front of a group, as well as listen actively to presenters. It was difficult for my first graders to wait that long to share and often they blurted out during reading or math lessons because they could wait no longer. I tried to incorporate fun into my lessons as well as during little movement and song breaks throughout the day, as I noticed students looking restless. Unfortunately, I taught skills such as how to care, problem solving, listening, following directions, and listening as I noticed they were needed. Usually that would be after some kind of misbehavior had occurred and the lesson seemed relevant. All of my academics were taught separately from social issues, although social issues interrupted our academics quite often.

Now as I take a look at how and when I was incorporating these important elements into my day, I realize that I had good intentions of creating a positive, cooperative classroom environment, but no real structure for implementing it. My method of creating a sense of community really had nothing to do with the CHILDREN and their relationships with each other. I wasted a lot of time addressing issues after the fact that should have been proactively addressed before the fact. I wanted my students to behave appropriately and cooperate, yet I did not teach them adequately or allow them to practice the guidelines and rules of behavior.

How I will meet the needs of my students in the future

I plan to implement the morning meeting component of the Responsive Classroom, as my initial step towards creating a classroom community that cares. I understand now how important it is to clarify and structure how social goals will be met. I will introduce the morning meeting step by step, carefully making sure each step is mastered and understood before proceeding on to the next. Since I am working with first graders, I will introduce the components in a different order, just because some may take more time to master that others.

The first step that I will take myself, is to practice and learn several different types of greetings. I will carefully train my students to walk to the front of the classroom, take a carpet square and form a circle. This will take a great deal of practice for first graders. Then, we will work together on greetings and the behavior expectations of morning meeting.

After the greetings each day, I will introduce a fun, short group activity. This will include everyone, as did the greeting, and will be a nice way to start the day.

After about a week or two, if I see that the students are doing a nice job with the greeting and group activity, I will proceed to introduce the next step, which is sharing.

Sharing is a component that I feel will take a tremendous amount of time and practice for first graders. They have a strong need to share a lot of stories and share often. Someone elses idea may trigger a related thought and they are bursting with the need to share that as well. This will also be an important time to work together to establish rules and consequences for breaking the rules during morning meeting. I may have a schedule for sharing, such as pulling popsicle sticks or nametags out of a basket, which may help with the issue of a few people sharing all the time, and others not having an opportunity. I see sharing as a good opportunity to discuss any concerns a child has, such as problems on the playground or difficulties with a friend (although it would be the students choice of what to share). It would be a great proactive tool to enlist the help of the other students in helping to solve dilemmas such as these. I will spend a great deal of time problem solving, modeling and practicing with my students, how to share appropriately and how to present thoughtful questions and comments. Hopefully, they will have had enough practice in two to four weeks, and we could move on to news and announcements.

News and announcements will be the fourth component that will be added to create a complete morning meeting. I am planning to enlist the helper of the day to fill in some answers to questions on the chart, so that turns will be systematic. On the top half of the chart I will begin simply by writing a greeting such as Good Morning Busy Bees! and state who the helper is for the day, ask some personal questions about the helper, such as favorite color, shape, etc. I will add the date so students can become familiar with it, and eventually write it in. I will save the bottom half of the chart for academic questions to be answered by any volunteers. In the beginning of the year, the news and announcements chart will not be extremely full, but as the year progresses, I see it as being a valuable tool. For example, in January I have students fix sentences that dont have periods or capitals or I have them solve short math story problems.

I am very excited about implementing the morning meeting into my curriculum. As with any new teaching approach, I have questions such as how much time it will really take to fully implement and concerns that I will leave out important elements. At this point, trying it out and learning from each new experience is the only way to answer my own questions and relieve my concerns. I believe this is the first step towards creating an effective, positive, cooperative, and caring environment for learning.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 1999

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