Listen up, teacher friends. When I say I’ve tried, failed, tested out, scrapped, kept, loved, hated–you name it–all the morning meeting ideas…I am *not* lying. I was a walking, breathing morning meeting guinea pig for many years. The bad news is, this resulted in a lot of morning meeting fails. The good news is, it also resulted in the best gosh darn morning meeting experience once I nailed down all the good stuff.
In the spirit of not wasting years of your own life doing the same, here are 10 of the best ideas and tips I can share with you from my experience in the classroom:
Morning Meeting Idea #1
✔️ Keep a morning meeting toolkit
This little box is one of my favorite morning meeting ideas and will save your sanity more times than you think. While I prefer to stick to a paperless morning meeting, there are still a few physical items required. (It’s important to note that morning meeting slides are paperless in nature but the actual activities are still tactile experiences for the students). I like to keep a little tub of materials by our meeting area. Here’s what’s in my morning meeting toolkit:
- Stack of papers
- Sticky notes
- Expo marker
- Number or name sticks
- Bonus: microphones
- Cube or small item (bonus points for real bone)
- Rare bird jar
- Notebook for you
- Dry erase board + markers for each student
- Bag of tokens/coins (3 for each)
Morning Meeting Idea #2:
This one is huge: a morning meeting idea I loved and have used forever. The year I switched from morning meeting cards on a ring to morning meeting slides on the whiteboard, my life became exponentially easier. The idea of having an entire year of greetings, activities, share questions, and messages at my fingertips feels like a dream–but it’s real life. Whether you make your own or buy them from TpT, morning meeting slides are in my Top 3 favorite school resources! Here are some photos of the ones I use:
Morning Meeting Idea #3
✔️ Implement Kids’ Choice Day
The cool thing about morning meeting is that it’s a collection of activities and greetings that students will cycle through during the year. The more they come to know rules and expectations, their preferences, favorites, and dislikes will emerge. Give students a special day every once in a while and let them choose the greeting. I always loved giving the birthday student their pick of morning meeting components.
Morning Meeting Idea #4
✔️ Take a video of your morning meeting to share with parents
I’m willing to be what parents *think* morning meeting looks like is nothing like what it really is. The power of community-building is so big and real that it’s cool to show that to families. Consider filming all or portions of a classroom morning meeting and sharing with parents at Curriculum Night or through email.
Morning Meeting Idea #5
✔️ Start with a song or other audio cue
I’ve always loved using my hotel bell (the old-fashioned one that makes the great DING sound) to signal our transition from morning journals to morning meeting.
Once students learned to tell time, one of our classroom jobs became the bell-ringer and it was THE coveted title every week.
You can get your own bell here, or use another instrument of your choosing. You might also choose to add a timer, alarm, or chime to whatever morning meeting and/or morning journal tools you use in your classroom.
Either way, this audio cue is a game-changer in the classroom for all transitions–not just a morning meeting idea!
Morning Meeting Idea #6
✔️ Consider an entire morning routine
Like I mentioned above, there’s something about the morning journal to morning meeting transition that just warms my heart. First, students pour their hearts and souls onto the pages of their notebooks, then bond together in the morning meeting. I recommend morning work that is consistent (I’m not a fan of a different worksheet every day–that’s a lot of directions to give and questions to manage). I’m biased since morning journals are very much my thing, but I’ve also heard about teachers giving things like morning tubs a try.
Morning Meeting Idea #7
✔️ Teach your morning meeting all year.
Like any other behavior and routine, this one should be revisited frequently. When various behavior challenges arise, it’s a great time to practice and model the components all over again! This is one of those morning meeting ideas that can be done in various ways. Whether it’s a whole class back-to-basics practice or a fishbowl style modeling session, re-teaching throughout the year is a must for any classroom routine.
Morning Meeting Idea #8
✔️ Have a plan, but be flexible.
I love the consistency and routine of my morning meeting slides. There are never any huge surprises; however, it does happen sometimes that we get stuck longer on the share topic that day because a student shared something especially personal. Or, an activity goes *so* well and it’s such an authentic learning experience that I let the students go a little over our time. It’s good to prepare for that and it’s nice when you’re already so prepared with the slides that you have some wiggle room for instances like this 🙂
Morning Meeting Idea #9
✔️ Have clear, consistent expectations
This is a no-brainer for any part of your classroom routine, but it’s so important for your morning meeting. I love that every component of the morning meeting occurs in the same order every time. I also love using a rotation of greetings, activities, and message themes so students become familiar with the rules and expectations of each game or situation.
For example, the activity seen below occurs in our morning meeting every few weeks. This not only gives students an idea of what to expect, but it also gives them things to look forward to and get excited about.
Morning Meeting Idea #10
✔️ Prep it all at the beginning of the week
If you have slides, there isn’t much to prep: but there are always morning messages to write. I’m a huge proponent of writing them all at the beginning of the week. There’s nothing worse than rushing to write a meaningful morning message 30 seconds before the students arrived and you still have to make copies and heat up your coffee. (ahhh, teacher life). This is one of those morning meeting ideas that can span multiple topics–think about ways you can batch-prep other parts of your teaching day!
Generally, morning meetings just rock. They rank high on my list of “must-haves” in the classroom. And while I’ve always been a fan before our world turned to shit, it’s important to note that the mental and emotional health of our students has never been more at-risk. Morning meetings are an easy way to build community and give students a safe space to feel, learn, share, and grow.
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