I absolutely love doing morning meeting with my students. It’s a way to welcome your students to a new day, builds a great sense of community and it’s fun. There are a few steps to make this smooth and easy.
Before we get into the steps, let’s discuss seating. Sitting in a circle is the best way (in my opinion) to hold a classroom morning meeting. All students can see each other, and you want everyone to feel included in the meeting. We have a big learning carpet in the front of our classroom where we hold morning meetings. Students know the routine by the end of the first week of school; after they sign in, they find a spot to sit on the perimeter of our learning carpet ready for morning meeting.
Step 1: Morning Meeting Greetings
We always start with greetings. Saying good morning to everyone in our group is important. I want every student in my class to know we are all happy they came to school today. At the beginning of the year, when students don’t know each other yet, I lead a chant or song to sing to each person in the group as our greeting. The students are welcome and encouraged to join me in the chant, but they don’t have to. My usual go-to chant (sung to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb):
(name)came to school today, school today, school today.
(name) came to school today to draw and learn and play.
I do this for the first couple of months of school, changing up the chant or song a couple of times. Then I move on to a greeting around the circle. I start the greeting with the student next to me, then they turn to the student on the other side of them, and it goes all the way around the circle ending with me again. As we do the greeting, we usually say, “Good morning, (name)”, or “Hi (name), I’m glad you came to school today” or “Hello (name), it’s nice to see you this morning.” I change it up every few weeks or let them choose.
Morning Meeting Greeting Ideas
- Butterfly (hook thumbs together and wiggle fingers)
- Fist bump
- Elbow bump
- High Five
- High Ten (using both hands to high five)
- Tilt of the hat (pretend we have a hat on, and tilt the hat towards the person we are greeting)
- Side bump
- Wiggle up and down
- Favorite dance
Step 2: Community Building
From day 1 of morning meetings, I let students know that this is our class family. We treat all students in our class as they are part of our family. Get these free morning meeting discussion questions to have on hand when you are running your class meetings.
Morning Meeting Questions
During our community building section of the meeting, I like to ask questions to have them think about how we treat others in our community. I first pose the question and give them some time to think about it. Then I might have them share with a partner before calling on a few to share with the group. Once we’ve done morning meeting for a few months, I sometimes open it up after think time and let the students discuss out in the group. If this ever turns into kids talking over each other, we go back to calling on one student at a time to share.
Possible Morning Meeting Questions
- How can you be kind today?
- What are you thankful for?
- What is something that makes you happy?
- What can you do to be a good friend?
- What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
- Why is it important to have school rules?
- How can you show someone that you care about them?
- What does sharing look like?
- What is something that was hard for you at first, but you kept trying and you got better at it?
This goes along with the Morning Meeting Questions. I usually use questions for real life situations happening with my students. If I had any students coming up to me after recess or any time throughout the day complaining of a situation, I often use morning meeting to address those problems. I don’t name the students involved, I just bring up the topic like that’s what we were planning on discussing for the day. For instance, if I had a student that came up to me, saying no one wanted to play with her/him. During the next morning meeting, I might say, “What can we do if we are outside at recess and we don’t feel like anybody wants to play with us?” Then I have students come up with solutions. Then, I would ask, “What can you do if you see someone who has no one to play with?” I usually try to address situations from different angles. And again, have students come up with solutions.
Problem Solving Questions
- When you get outside you run straight to the swing, but you get there at the same time as someone else. You both want to use the swing. What do you do?
- You see someone being mean to another student. What do you do?
- Your friend wants to play blocks today and asks you to play with them. But you really want to go the art center. What do you do?
- A new student has joined our class. You notice them standing alone at recess. How do you think they are feeling? What can you do?
- You are building a great tower of blocks, and another student accidently knocks them down. How are you feeling? What do you do?
- Your best friend is playing with someone else today. How do you feel? What can you do?
- The teacher says it’s time to clean up, and just as you were about to pick up your Legos, a friend comes by and grabs them to put them away. What do you do?
- You see someone climbing up the slide and you know the rule on the slide is to only go down the slide. What do you do?
Step 3: Fun Activity
I like to add in a little movement to our meeting. So, I do a few yoga poses with my students each day. I am also a certified yoga teacher, so I model and show them how to do the poses myself. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, there are some great videos and yoga cards that can assist you. Or choose to do other types of movement here.
Smile and Learn has some great videos that are short to teach your kids yoga. Like this one:
I used these yoga cards by Yoga Pretzels during my centers. Kids would choose a card and do the pose. You can certainly do this in your morning meeting. Click on the picture to purchase these from Amazon. If you make a purchase I will get a small commission with no additional cost to you.
Step 4: Schedule of the Day
In this part of the meeting, you are going over what your students will be doing for the day. I have always found that students work better when they know what they are doing ahead of time. So, go over the schedule in as much detail as you can so they know what to expect throughout the day. I have a chart with the schedule in front of the class. I point to this as we go over our day. If you want more information onf creating a daily schedule for kindergarten, read our blog post: Your Schedule for Kindergarten.
Step 5: Mindfulness
Our last part of morning meeting gets kids ready to learn. I tell my students to sit in a comfortable position, close down their eyes (if they can, I definitely don’t force this), then take a few breaths. “Breath in like you’re smelling a flower, breath out like you’re blowing out a candle.” After sitting quietly for about 30 seconds, I say “Now our brains are ready for learning.”
End of Day Meeting
At the end of each day, I bring students back together and ask, How did you do with the question of the day today? So, if the question was, what is one thing you can do to be kind? Have students share out how they were kind. Then I make sure to get excited with them and ask how that made them feel. “That was kind of you to ask Clara if she wanted to go in front of you for the swing. How did that make you feel doing something so kind?” Coming back to the question at the end of the day motivates students to act upon it. They want to be able to share out what they did, and they like when the teacher and other students give them praise.
I actually stop my whole class when I see something positive going on in my class. “Whoa, I just saw something… Ben was using the blue marker and saw that Ruth wanted it and let her use it. Ben did such a great job of sharing!” I am a true believer, the more positive things you notice, the more they happen, and the reverse is true as well, so I definitely want more positive than negative.
Invite your students to sit in a circle. Then follow the steps above.
Absolutely. There are times it might be shorter, like if we have to leave quickly for a field trip. But I try to at least go through our greetings to welcome them.
No. This is how I run morning meeting and it is just a suggestion. Take the steps that you like and you think will help your students. And feel free to add additional steps that are not included here.
Yes. You’ll be surprised how quickly it becomes a routine for your students even if you start in the middle of the year.
If you decide to try these steps out, please let us know how it goes. We love to hear from you. If you are looking for more great resources, click on the Blog tab at the top of the page. We love providing helpful information for parents and teachers. Here’s a couple of quick links to some of our popular posts: