Sunday, May 31, 2020

Building Classroom Community Through Morning Meeting (Part 3: Activities)

Today's installment of my series Building Classroom Community Through Morning Meeting is focused on the ACTIVITIES portion.

You can find Part 1 on Greetings HERE. Part 2 on Sharing HERE.

First off: a disclaimer. My ideas presented are just my thoughts and opinions. My way is only one way. There's no right or wrong way to have a Morning Meeting. 

experiment - Chemistry Cat | Make a Meme

Keep your INTENTIONS and GOALS clear at all times and arrive at them YOUR WAY. 

What works best for my kids may not be best for yours. Take gems you find on your journey but remain faithful to your philosophy. Your purpose. You know your kids best.

trust in yourself you must got this you do - Yoda | Meme Generator

When I first started implementing Morning Meeting, I felt they were a bit draggy. No spark. Dry. Didn't flow. 

I didn't feel that I was laying a strong foundation to sustain a thriving community. So I asked a colleague for help.  

Karen opened her smaller special needs classroom to my class for a WHOLE WEEK. Then we joined together each Monday for the rest of the year because our classes benefited from working with one another. 

She changed, thankfully, the trajectory of my Morning Meeting path.

Thank You Quotes for Colleagues and Notes | Short Inspirational ...

Now that's an awesome colleague, isn't it? Asking her for help was the best decision I ever made. 

Seeing Morning Meeting in action helped me understand all of the components and allowed me to see how flawlessly each section could be transitioned into. 

If you are struggling or not feeling that cohesive element, reach out to someone.

What kind of ACTIVITIES can be integrated into Morning Meeting

It isn't always a game and doesn't have to be. As long as you're moving your goals forward, I think it can be ANYTHING that engages students and fosters the positive classroom community climate you're striving for.

Want to see my kids' favorite?

When I first introduced it, they didn't quite believe me but what better way is there to get to know someone and connect? (See the P.S. below for their 2nd favorite game that I want to give you!)

There are hundreds of activities you can implement.  Ask your librarian to purchase these:


You don't need the books though because you have ideas all around you!

Need more time to practice balancing equations and you found a game to reinforce it? Play it!

Need to read The Veggie Monster before Writing Workshop but you have music and snack right before it?  Read it here.

That Brain Pop video that you planned for Monday but it's now Friday and you're nervous time won't permit it? Watch it here.

Your kids loving peer editing journals but there is never time to do it? Bring out the erasers!

You're still incorporating all of the social/emotional skills you want reinforced just in varied ways.

Even though academics are squished in above, I still look at the above examples as bonding time. They're still getting to know, interact, and ENJOY the company of our friends while practicing key social skills C.A.R.E.S.

That's why I love Morning Meeting.

You get to steer the ship and decide which direction to go.

Need to change course?  No problem. I'm always adjusting some part of a Morning Meeting.

Sometimes a time intensive activity will be scraped for a quicker one if our Sharing took additional time.  Other times, I've realized kids were sitting too long and changed my activity to a movement activity.

Trust Yourself - Dr. Benjamin Spock' Magnet - |

There are no Morning Meeting police. And if your principal or supervisor acts as one, then simply be prepared to JUSTIFY what you're doing.

Some Common Concerns I've Heard about Morning Meeting ACTIVITIES?

1. I don't feel like I can justify taking 15-20 minutes out of my day for Morning Meeting. Activities seem frivolous so I often skip them.

I feel I can't afford NOT to spend time engaging in all of my Morning Meeting components. The payoff certainly, in my eyes, justifies the 20 minutes. While I have a 20 minute block set aside for MM, I no longer think of it as a separate entity.

It's an integrated part of our day where I weave a little of this and a little of that from past lessons into present ones. That mindset switch up has made all the difference to me.  My Morning Meeting often infuses our language arts, math, science, social studies, character ed programs, etc. together.

As I mentioned in Academic Shares in my last post, you can incorporate academic activities as well.  In fact, a large portion of mine are.

Traditional Four Corner isn't academic.  Switch it up.  Think of all the possibilities:

Just like you can have Partner and Whole Group shares, the same is true for activities.  And remember when I said you need to see what your own class needs?  Not going to lie...sometimes it's an individual activity.  Those Mother's Day Cards aren't being written themselves.  Just keeping it real.  (To make more collaborative, you could probably let them peer edit, share their cards, give suggestions to each other BUT maybe not.  Depends.)   

2. Kids aren't satisfied with their partners.  They want to pair up with a best friend.

This happens in all areas from time to time. Again, model. Role play what good sportsmanship looks like AND make sure you provide varied partner match ups. Modeling must happen BEFORE you make partners. Be proactive, not reactive.

3. My kids want to play the same game over and over again.

Mine too! Mine would play POP or POP 1-2-3 every single day if I'd agree. If your kids are hooked on some activities, congratulations! You've created a bonding activity that most likely strengthened your classroom community.

What do I do? I play POP a few times a month BUT will use it as a quick Brain Break, end-of-the day activity, or play when we have a few minutes before lunch.

I'm a big believer in using EVERY SINGLE SECOND of the day. Use it for fun? Heck yes! Why not? Remember: keep your goals and philosophy in sight and you're good to go.

4. Some of my kids who need this social interaction the most are being pulled for small groups (Guidance, Instructional Support, etc.) during Morning Meeting.

Ugh. This happens to me. A lot. TOO MUCH. In fact, I voiced my concern that my ELL students were being pulled from an area they needed most: social interaction and use of language. It was finally switched up this year.

It doesn't hurt to voice concerns. Maybe you can adjust your time a bit? Switch times with another grade level? Push back the time by 10 minutes so kids are present for at least a portion of your meeting? Raise awareness and open a dialogue with a proposed plan in place. Good luck!

5. My kids are way too silly during this time.

Model, model, and model again.  Set expectations WITH the kids.  Never assume that they are maturing and will rise to the occasion without modeling.

The first time I played Me, Too it was a disaster.  Can you guess why?

Yep! Kids jumped way too far and bashed into each other. Kids fell all over and one got hurt. Hasn't happened since and my kids know what happens if they get silly. So, yea, expectations and modeling.  Modeling and expectations.

Let me know if you have any questions about incorporating ACTIVITIES into your Morning Meeting.  If you do, send them to me and I'll update here.  (

As I said in my last post, I recently decided to put all of my Morning Meeting materials together and turn them into a paperless/projectable product. (Unless you want to print out.)  It doesn't mean I show the kids each slide each day when up on screen. It depends. But to me, it's having everything in one place to save me time especially since I have Morning Meeting twenty minutes after arrival.  (On those few days when I don't have time to write a Morning Message, I use one of the five pre-made messages.)

I firmly believe that creating a strong classroom community and positive climate shouldn't be overwhelming or frustrating. Here's a ONE WEEK Morning Meeting freebie that you can download now and have it ready in your Back-to-School file. It might just get your juices flowing for some ideas of your own.

If you're a new teacher or someone who's looking to lay a strong foundation to start building your classroom community on Day 1 but are short on time, (your juices have too many places they need to flow!) you may want to peek at my monthly packets or the bundle.

Ready to read Part 4: Morning Message? Click Here!

Any questions or something you want to share with me? Let me know! In the meantime, if you know a teacher who might like or benefit from this post, please send them the link.

Have a great day!

P.S. My kids also love to play I Have, Who Has games for an Activity.  I had a love-hate relationship with them but read this post to see my light bulb moment.   I'd like to send you one of my I Have, Who Has games for free to use during your Morning Meeting just for being a reader of mine.  On that page, pick one of the vowel games you want  (a, e, i, o, or u) and let me know if you want the short or long vowel by emailing your request to me at

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