Kindergarten morning meeting is the best way to start your day. Morning meeting builds classroom community, gives students a sense of predictability and routine and helps them understand their upcoming day. Morning meeting also gives every student a chance to be greeted, which makes them feel valued and welcomed. I learned a lot about morning meeting routines from Responsive Classroom and I highly encourage you to check out their professional development opportunities or their professional learning books to learn more. So, what does morning meeting look like in kindergarten?
The first part of the morning meeting is the greeting. This gives students a chance to greet each other and be welcomed into the classroom. I have a whole blog post on some easy and fun greetings you can use with your students. Even if we are running short on time, I always make sure that everyone has a chance to be greeted.
You can get all of my greetings cards here!
There are definitely different philosophies on doing a calendar routine in early childhood classrooms. I personally like going over which day of the week it is and what our calendar is looking like (what holidays or birthdays are coming up). We also talk about the weather and count the days of school. I do this because children like to know what day of the week it is, because for us, it’s connected to what specials we have and what our schedule looks like. Children also always want to know about upcoming holidays. We talk about the weather because one of our science standards is to observe weather over time and notice changes. This meets that goal. We count the days of school because it helps meet our math standard of counting to 100 and skip counting to 100 by tens. Once we get to 100 days of school, we start skip counting the days of school by tens. It’s a great math connection. The point is, whatever you decide for your classroom, make sure that it has a purpose. If children benefit from it, then do it!
Calendar routines can get boring and disengaging. This is where I used to lose my kids in the routine and it felt like it dragged on forever. So instead, I follow a call-and-response routine with different songs and movements. I keep it fast-paced and the children are participating the whole time.
Every day we read the morning message together. In kindergarten it follows a very simple format:
Good morning _______,
Today is _____.
We will _______.
Have a great day!
I change up the “Good morning” to be a greeting in other languages once we have reached 100 days of school. In older grades I just start right away with doing greetings in other languages. I also change up the words following “Good morning”. Right now it says, “Ciao Cooperative Kids!” because we are focusing on being cooperative. I change it up to match our social emotional theme for the month. For example, “Good morning expected students!” “Good morning problem solvers!”. But for the first part of the school year I usually just write, “Good morning kindergarteners!”
In the older grades, second and third grade, I started looking up the fun holidays and including fun facts in my morning message. The children loved discussing these fun facts and knowing what random special day it was.
I also include a morning message question every day. On Mondays I always ask students how their weekend was. They write their name under “Good” or “ok”. Other days of the week I try to tie in academics. They might write a letter or trick word. They might show a number in different ways or write an addition equation. In our science units I might have them draw something or predict something. We then go over this when we are reading the morning message.
The Share is a great time to let students share a bit about themselves, beyond the academics that you are learning about. It’s a chance to build community and it also lets students work on their oral language development and active listening skills. It can be hard to manage with so many students. Here are some ways I have found to manage having a share in a short (15 minute) kindergarten morning meeting.
Assign students days to share
Break up your class by number, table group, whatever, and then assign them one day of the week to share. Give them one question per week and then give everyone a chance to respond when it is their assigned day to share. Everyone should also have the chance to pass if they don’t feel like responding. The down side to this strategy is that it can be hard to remember who is assigned to what day and what the question is of the week. It’s a good idea to post this somewhere and use those students for other jobs that day, like book shopping or table leader, etc.
Share in partnerships
Ask a share question and then let students respond to their turn and talk partner or in a small group. This way, everyone that wants to gets a turn to share in their group. The down side to this is that students don’t get a chance to practice speaking in front of the whole group. For some students, this is definitely something they need to practice. So, I would mix this up with other options.
Ask a share question that does not take a lot of response – maybe one or two words and go around the circle and quickly give everyone a chance to respond. For example, what do you like better summer or winter? GO! The down side to this is that it doesn’t give students a chance to explain their reasoning. You could then let them turn and talk to their partner about why they answered that way.
Call on a few students
Another way to do a share quickly is to ask a question and then call on just a few responses. The down side to this is that not everyone gets a chance to share in front of the whole group. You may find the same students sharing each time. Pairing this with a turn and talk or speed round is a great strategy.
Combine with an Activity
A fun activity to play with students is “debate” where you ask a question and students then go to opposite sides of the rug or room, depending on their answers. Then, students have to take turns trying to convince the other side to join them. For example, what is better – winter or summer? This gives multiple students the chance to share their feelings. Plus, it is fun to see them try to convince each other and watch as students change their minds.
The most fun part of the kindergarten morning meeting is the activity! This is the perfect chance to build classroom community and for students to just have fun. There are so many different kinds of activities you can do with your class. I have all my favorites written out in my Morning Meeting: Activities product! You can do songs and movements with your students, this is perfect if you are short on time. Movement breaks in general are always fun – Go Noodle is great if you don’t feel like leading one that day. Then there are games you can play, like What’s Different. In this game, one student at a time goes in the hallway and changes one small thing about their appearance. Then students need to guess what they changed. You can also play games that support their impulse control and self-regulation, like Simon Says. Every day should start with some kind of activity and fun. It makes a huge difference to your classroom community.
Kindergarten morning meeting is a must-do in every classroom. Morning meeting builds classroom community and helps students know what to expect each day. It also gives students a sense of predictability and routine, because every kindergarten morning will follow the same general structure. This was just a quick overview, so let me know in the comments what other questions you have about morning meeting and I can go into more depth in future blog posts!
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