Do you start your days with morning meetings? Morning meetings are a great time to review previously taught lessons, work on community building and student concerns, and most importantly, set expectations for the day. In this post, I want to share something I think you might just LOVE for this special time of the day.
At the start of the year, most teachers work on community building with interactive games, teamwork activities, and get to know you ice breakers. With students coming to school from different neighborhoods or from other schools, it’s very helpful for them to get to know each other and/or new things about those they know already. Community building activities also help teachers see student personalities and how the personalities in the class will mesh for optimal work.
Working as a team requires class norms. All students need to buy in to the class norms and have the capacity to follow the expectations. Sometimes we get lucky and have a group that embraces the plan, but sometimes it takes frequent reteaching to keep all team members working together, and that’s where THIS RESOURCE comes in handy.
My Character in the Classroom Poetry Bundle was developed with a few students in mind. These kids struggled with self control, emotional regulation, and peer relations. They also struggled in other academic areas too. I found using poetry for quick lessons helped these students work on vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, AND daily life application!
There are 32 poetry sets in the bundle (approximately one per week). Each poem focuses on a different character trait, so you can tie in literature that highlights the same themes and use the books as read alouds or in your mentor text lessons to extend the theme across the curriculum. In fact, the graphic organizers could also be used with literature for an interactive read aloud. (project the organizer and use group discussion to record students’ ideas.)
Once in a while, we have students who have specific issues they face outside of school. Maybe there has been a death in the family, stressors that cause anxiety for the child, or quarrels in the neighborhood. Kids tend to share these worries with their teachers and sometimes their friends. These issues hit a child’s basic need for love, safety, and calm. Morning meetings can help provide students with coping skills to handle challenges beyond the classroom. The morning meeting can give your kids a feeling of support, and to me, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT job we have as teachers. Kids must feel connected to learn and grow, and we know this from Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. These needs must be met for a child’s brain to be receptive to other learning. If we can work into our daily routine, lessons that serve a dual purpose of building students up emotionally as well as working on reading skills, then I see it as a win-win.
Guidance Lessons and the Morning Meeting
Your morning meetings can partially fill that void and/or extend your guidance counselor’s lessons. In fact, a few guidance counselors have found these poems helpful in working on themes such as cyber bullying. February is anti bullying month, so you might consider partnering with your technology specialist and guidance counselor to work on this topic. The poem, What’s Your Digital Footprint?, is all about social media and being a good citizen. You could use it and the book, Bully by Patricia Polacco or The Technology Tail by Julia Cook to work on this topic and teach your kids BEFORE they hit middle school how they should interact with others on social media.
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Morning meetings can’t last all day, so it’s important to get the biggest bang for your time allowed, and sometimes, you might find other times of the day works better for your students. Regardless, you’ll want to spend just 15-20 minutes on your meeting. Therefore, it has to be organized well for focused discussions. For additional ideas on how to work in character building, check out these posts:
I’ve shared what I see as the benefits of morning meetings or class meetings. What benefits do you see, and what skills do you try to include when you meet? Please share your thoughts in the comments.