Morning meeting is such a critical time of the school day. It sets the foundation for building connections and relationships with students, as well as sets the tone and expectations for the day. Children benefit from a consistent routine and starting every day with a morning meeting is the best way to offer this. So how do we translate our close, community-building, morning meeting to the computer? Well, I’ve got a few ideas! Responsive classroom also wrote up some tips you should check out!
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Translating Morning Meeting to a Digital Platform
The most helpful thing for me when remote teaching was to have everything I needed on Google Slides (learn more about using Google Slides here). I made a slideshow that where each slide held a different part of the morning meeting routine: the greeting, share, activity, and morning message. During the meeting, I share my screen with my students to help guide us through the meeting, share visuals with the students to help them focus, and have all the links and videos I need in one spot! I also created a digital Calendar! This will be so helpful for leading morning meetings remotely!
Every morning meeting should start with the chance for students to greet each other. In the classroom, when we could have physical interactions, there were so many possibilities for greetings. Translating these favorites to a digital or distance platform can be difficult. I’ve thought about ways to have digital greetings and will share more specific details in a following blog post.
Greetings should be a chance for students to show appreciation and excitement for their friends. It can be a time for silliness, fun, and/or building classroom community. Sometimes we can feel pressure to be constantly changing up the greetings and activities, but there is power in repeating greetings from week to week. The children appreciate routines and they feel safe exploring and experimenting when they know what to expect. The first time you try a greeting, they might be hesitant to try or show their full personality, so definitely try it again and see if they like it better the next time!
Some things that work well for digital greetings are songs, chants, guessing games, and greetings in other languages. I always had the words of the greeting and/or a visual to signify the greeting on my Google Slides to help students know what was coming, to help other teachers or parents supporting students, and to help myself remember the greeting! It also serves as an extra practice for reading fluency.
The share portion of morning meeting is a wonderful way to get to know our students. I like to ask open-ended questions, especially opinion questions. Shares are also a perfect way to practice conversation skills with your students. They learn to listen to questions, respond to questions, and listen to their peers’ responses. Shares can also easily be connected to different educational themes or curricular focuses.
With the smaller group that I had over summer school, it was easy to do a different share every day. However, with a whole group, this would just take too long to hear everyone’s responses. You wouldn’t be able to get to anything else! I am going to try for one share for the whole week, asking a few students to share each day. I will keep the same schedule from week to week so that students know when they will be sharing. When students feel comfortable and feel like they know what to expect, they are able to share more.
It is also important to give students the share prompt ahead of time, so they have time to process what they will say. Not every student needs this, but many benefit from it, especially students who are learning English and students with special needs. During remote learning, I always shared these prompts with parents ahead of time so that every child was prepared with something to say. I sent the prompt with the meeting link.
The activity portion of morning meeting is the chance to get children moving and to have fun! It’s the perfect way to build a relationship with them and to form a classroom community. There are several fun activities that can be easily done over a computer, and I will share some specifics in a following blog post. Guessing games are an easy and fun activity for students, and can be easily connected to different content areas. These could involve asking questions, giving clues, or acting something out.
We don’t always know the set up that students have in their homes. They may not have a ton of space to move. I tried to make it optional for students to move in their seats or to get out of their seats and move. Or you could ask families ahead of time to find a space to move if there is an activity that needs a lot of movement.
The morning message is the opportunity to tell students about their day and help prepare them for what they will be doing, especially if there are any changes coming up. It is also a wonderful opportunity to practice academic skills, especially literacy. You are pointing to words as you read, rereading familiar phrases, and can hunt for letters, sounds, or sight words.
Normally in the classroom, I always have a question on the morning message. I haven’t tried a way to do this digitally, but you could possibly have an interactive Google Slide where families move their names on the board or type in their response.
The morning meeting is a wonderful time of day to build relationships and classroom community, as well as set the tone for the rest of the day. Morning meeting can be done over the computer with just a few tweaks and changes! If any of these tips help you out, please share them with me! I’d love to know what works for you!