Build a strong classroom culture using these 7 morning meeting activities
My morning meeting has been a great way to cultivate a strong classroom culture! In our Cultivated Classroom Membership, we provide seven activities designed to build a successful classroom culture offering warm greetings, brainstorming ideas with the class, using music and movement activities as learning tools while promoting social emotional skills; even incorporating vocabulary and phonics games. It’s fun AND educational—the perfect start to any school day!
1. Use these greetings for morning meeting to keep your students engaged
Taking time to greet each other during morning meeting is an important social and emotional learning (SEL) skill that can help promote an inclusive and supportive atmosphere in the classroom. It is a great way to create an inviting and positive atmosphere to start off my students’ school day. It gives them a chance to greet each other, practice class values, establish connections, share ideas and more.
I greet all my students by their names. They love hearing their names and I love seeing their smiles when I greet them. This is so important! Yes some of their names may be more challenging than others, but make an effort to say them correctly. A name is a big part of your student’s identity, culture, self-worth, and learning their names quickly will show them how much you care. I do chants, sing songs, or play different games to make greetings more fun.
To make greetings even more engaging, teachers can encourage students to greet in different languages or create fun icebreakers that involve creative greetings like using sign language, drawings or symbols.
When greetings for morning meeting are done with Social-Emotional Learning in mind, they can become meaningful moments of connection, creating trust and rapport between students and teachers. I know they set the tone for the rest our day, helping to foster relationships among my classmates and myself while also deepening their engagement in their learning.
2. These brilliant morning meeting share ideas will motivate all your students
Morning meetings are a great way for groups of people to come together and share ideas. An effective morning meeting should include a discussion about topics that students can use to fuel productivity and collaboration. The morning is the perfect time for classmates to check-in, focus on their goals, and generate creative solutions for any current or upcoming projects. It’s important to be mindful and respectful of everyone’s ideas when sharing during morning meetings.
I have my learners answer one of our thinking questions by turning and talking to a neighbor about how they think they should act in school. I give them a few minutes to talk. They begin by telling their friends their names and what they think a quality student is. This is such a great way to make sure all my students are talking about what they are learning, and it also helps my shy students who don’t want to talk in front of the whole class.
I like to do a thinking question for one of my morning meeting questions because it gives my students the opportunity to share what is on their minds and by sharing those thoughts it helps their friends expand their thinking. It is such a wonderful way to increase social emotional learning.
Another morning meeting share idea that my students love is sharing their readers. We have emergent readers that include our vocabulary that we share as one of our morning meeting activities. Students will sit in pairs and read the short books to each other. They discuss the vocabulary words and find the words in their books that we are discussing.
Morning meeting share time helps create an atmosphere of trust and respect among students, setting the stage for successful problem solving throughout the day.
3. Why movement breaks in the classroom aren’t only good, they’re necessary.
Incorporating movement breaks in the classroom during morning meeting provides a great way to keep students engaged and energized. These movement breaks can take many forms, such as stretching, walking in place, or even dancing if desired! All that is necessary is at least five minutes of allotted time for movement and it can have positive effects both socially and academically. Morning meetings are the perfect opportunity to begin each day with movement so that students start off ready to learn.
4. Use music in the classroom for a little learning magic
Music has long been a part of the classroom. Whether it’s the music used in morning meetings to foster a positive classroom culture, or music playing while students are completing tasks at their own pace, music can be an invaluable tool in helping create memorable learning experiences. Incorporating music into the classroom helps children express themselves and develop strong connections with music concepts and other topics they are learning.
Benefits of music and movement activities:
- Stimulate and engage the brain
- Improve coordination and physical abilities
- Strengthen social skills
- Teach emotional expression in a healthy way (Bear Paw Creek)
Additionally, music can give students an opportunity to collaborate with one another which is important for building teamwork, communication, and trust between peers. Music in the classroom doesn’t have to just be limited to listening; teachers may also choose to incorporate music production activities or involve students in writing their own songs related to specific topics or lessons.
One way that we incorporate music into our morning meeting as well as science or social studies is to sing a song that comes from the words in our emergent readers. The song includes the vocabulary words I mentioned earlier. My eager learners get so excited singing these concept based instructional songs. It also helps them to remember the words from their readers. I like to make posters of the songs, so students can circle the words we are working on, then we sing the song.
Ultimately, introducing music into the classroom provides unique learning opportunities that make each school day meaningful and engaging for all students.
5. Try some games for Morning Meeting for easy assessment and tons of fun
Morning games are a great way to kick off the day with an injection of enthusiasm and foster an inclusive classroom culture. Ranging from word games, such as making up short stories from randomly chosen words, to movement games that get students up and moving, games for morning meeting can help liven up the start of the day and increase student engagement overall. Not only do games for morning meeting bring energy into the classroom, but they also provide a sense of routine and allow students to build relationships with each other. Plus, participating in games helps build a sense of community among students, helping them to bond with each other while learning social skills such as turn-taking and teamwork.
“Games are a far less stressful way for students to demonstrate their knowledge, skill, and understanding of a topic. Being less stressed helps students have a more positive perception of their learning environment and give a more accurate indication of their learning(Victoria, Teach Starter, 2021).”
In this article from Edutopia, Hoa P. Nguyen states, “Research shows that using games in teaching can help increase student participation, foster social and emotional learning, and motivate students to take risks.”
Learning with games requires kids to pay attention because the games move quickly. This increased focus on each game’s details helps students pay more attention to other classroom activities throughout the day.
Morning games have been a great way to get my students engaged and bring my classroom together. Through games, they learn about each other, build rapport, and find joy in the activities. Activities like scavenger hunts, charades, and even practicing introductions has given me insight on the extent my students are able to interact with one another.
Games for morning meeting can also help break down boundaries that may inhibit student interaction throughout the day in order to create a more supportive classroom culture.
6. Building a vocabulary is the littlest known secret to upleveling your classroom culture
Building a vocabulary is an important element of my strong classroom culture. We do this in our morning meeting every day – often, we’ll select one or two words to focus on that apply to the current activities we have going on. We’ll look at the definition of the word, think about its significance and how it might be relevant to us, and come up with ideas for how to use it during the day. This method has been totally successful in building our classroom’s understanding of language and building our collective vocabulary!
Developing a rich vocabulary is an important step in building the intellectual capacity of any learner. While building a vocabulary can take some time and effort, there are great benefits to making it part of the classroom culture. One way that teachers can make building a vocabulary fun and accessible to all students is by integrating it into their morning meetings. Through games active learners use descriptive language, teachers can foster a positive classroom environment which encourages learning new words. By building a wide range of vocabulary into day-to-day activities, soon students will discover many more opportunities for expression in the language they use.
7. Did you know phonics awareness can be an integral part of your morning meeting?
Phonics awareness is a key element of any successful classroom. Morning meetings are an excellent way to encourage phonics awareness in the classroom, as they help to create a positive climate and build community through critical thinking skills. By exploring phonics, classrooms can start conversations that are focused on understanding what phonemes (the individual sounds of language) exist and how they work together within words.
Phonics awareness and vocabulary are essential building blocks for students to learn and expose them to the world of literacy. A great way to engage young students in phonics awareness and vocabulary is through morning meeting. By having phonics and/or vocabulary-based activities every morning, teachers can create an environment that values phonetics and vocabulary, while also making it fun! Including phonics awareness and vocabulary into morning meeting creates a classroom culture of growth and exploration. Students of all backgrounds can find joy in language development when given resources within a safe space with their classmates.
I actually incorporate phonics every day when we break down the parts of our vocabulary words, and clap the syllables in morning meeting. This isn’t my complete phonics instruction by any means. It is just a quick way I like to get some extra practice in. My students always love it because I call them my word detectives or word scientists as they analyze words each day!
These 7 morning meeting strategies have worked together to help build my strong classroom culture. Creating a warm and welcoming environment is the first step in setting the tone for the rest of the day. Morning meeting is a time for students to share their ideas, thoughts, and feelings. It’s also a time to foster social emotional learning by incorporating movement, music, and games into the daily routine. If you’re looking for more information on how to make morning meeting more effective in your own classroom, join our VIP list today. You’ll be glad you did!
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Have a great week,