Morning Meetings: Building Community in the Classroom


>>Karen: Good morning, Dianelys.>>Dianelys: Good morning, Karen. Good morning, Angell.>>Angel: Good morning, Dianelys.>>Valerie Gallagher: I think
before any learning can take place, the students really need to feel
safe, feel like they’re seen, and feel like they’re cared about. The impact I see from morning meeting
is that classes are true communities. We’re learning from each other’s
strengths, we’re helping each other. It’s a foundation for
everything that comes after.>>Students: Good morning, Ms. Gallagher.>>Valerie Gallagher: Morning
meetings are a really important part of the responsive classroom model, which we use here throughout
Highlander Charter School. It’s a chance for the students to make
that transition from home to school. It’s a way for everyone to settle in and
feel that they’re a part of a community.>>Monica: It puts me in
a focused and good mood. It makes me feel ready to learn.>>Dan Baldassi: So, welcome. I’m so excited to see you guys today.>>Dan Baldassi: Our morning
meeting lasts about fifteen minutes and we have four parts
that we do together. Each classroom might be a little
different the way the teacher runs it. We start with our greeting. The kids choose what their
greeting is for that day that helps them want to participate.>>Student: Good morning, Apple.>>Student: Good morning, Analise.>>Valerie Gallagher:
We make eye contact. We’re having our ears, our eyes and
our brain on the person who’s speaking.>>Student: Good morning, Benjamin.>>Jane Picciotti: “How
are you feeling today? Are you ready to learn?” If you’re not ready to learn,
what can we do to get you there?>>Dianelys: After the
greeting, we do share. I like it when people share because
we get to know them a little better.>>Jamarie: There’s like a
little board and whoever went, you have to check them off and you have
to say what you did on the weekend.>>Student: I went to the movie.>>Student: What was is in the movie?>>Student: When they died–>>Valerie Gallagher: We’ve had
a lot of interesting issues come up through shares, whether it be
deaths in the family, politics and people feeling safe or
not safe because of that– you know, things you might not normally
talk about in a first-grade classroom. Morning meeting gives you the space and
the time to have those conversations.>>Students: Today my
grandparents are coming. I’m ready for questions and comments.>>Valerie Gallagher: They
get to answer questions. “Somebody cares about me. All these hands are interested in me.”>>Student: Didn’t they come last time?>>Student: Yeah, but they had to go back because something happened
in their country.>>Marcella: Morning meeting
makes me feel calm and happy. My favorite part is the glitter jar.>>Dan Baldassi: We shake the glitter
jar, we put it in the middle. The kids have a moment to watch.>>Adrian: Mr. B puts the
timer on for a minute. We reflect on what we can do to
get yourself ready for the day.>>Monica: Today we got to think about
how you can be helpful to your friends.>>Dan Baldassi: So, is there
someone who would like to share? Chrisana.>>Chrisana: If somebody’s sad, you can help them feel
better by playing with them.>>Dan Baldassi: Okay, I like that.
Nice job. Dianelys: After the
share, we get to do a game.>>Student: One, two– Dianelys:
Someone counts without looking and people go into corners–>>Student: — nine, ten! Corner number three!>>Valerie Gallagher: Oh!>>Student: One, two–>>Valerie Gallagher: It really gives
them a chance to get that last burst of energy out before
it’s time for them to sit down to the serious business
of literacy.>>Student: Corner number one.>>Valerie Gallagher: Ooh!>>Valerie Gallagher: Then after
that I go over the agenda every day, knowing what’s going to happen
next is really important to kids.>>Valerie Gallagher: After that is– ?>>Students: PE!>>Valerie Gallagher: Then
we get to eat our– ?>>Students: Lunch!>>Valerie Gallagher: Then
we’re going to have some– ?>>Students: Math power!>>Valerie Gallagher: So
that kind of sets the tone. We’re here together, morning meeting. We know what’s going on with everyone. We’re ready to go.>>Dan Baldassi: So, I know fifteen
minutes can sometimes be a hard thing to try to put in your schedule,
but students in each classroom know that they’re coming into safe places. This is a chance for them to
have voice in their classroom.>>Jane Picciotti: It’s about respecting
each other, respecting your teacher. It’s rooted in positive interactions. It definitely helps set our culture.>>Adrian: I think it wouldn’t be
as easy to do the rest of the day. It helps me a lot.

5 thoughts on “Morning Meetings: Building Community in the Classroom

  1. I hate it when Edutopia assumes that we have classes with only 16 kids. This would look quite different with my 31 kids in a pretty small classroom

  2. Morning meetings also give the chance to the students to look forward with some fun and enjoyment in your life.

  3. I love morning meetings. But, no district who crams 27 first graders into one classroom should then expect teachers to have those gains shown at the end. That first grade class was the size of my remedial reading class! Sorry, we can't afford magic wands when we have so many other things to purchase for our classrooms.

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