July 29, 2020

morning meeting upper elementary

Do you want to know my favorite part of the school day? You guessed it, morning meeting! A morning meeting is a chance for the whole class to come together and learn in so many different ways.  

A daily morning meeting provides an opportunity to discuss important topics, improve teamwork and collaborative skills.  It’s also a time to encourage respectful learning and behaviors, support academic, social, and emotional learning, as well as an opportunity to have FUN together! 

I didn’t start implementing a daily morning meeting until a few years into my teaching career.  I always had decent classroom management and tried to build strong bonds and relationships with my students.  However, it wasn’t until I consistently held a daily morning meeting in my classroom that I started to see a distinct difference in the way students interacted and bonded with one another and with me.  Additionally, I believe that the mutual respect built and social skills gained from our morning meetings made a significant difference in managing daily behaviors.  

Now that morning meeting is a part of my regular classroom routine, I wholeheartedly recommend that all elementary teachers set aside at least a few minutes per day to dedicate to a morning or classroom meeting time. One of my former students put it best when she said, morning meeting helps turn a class into a family.” I mean.. if this is not the #goals, I don’t know what is!

morning meeting family

After modeling how to run a morning meeting for a few weeks in the beginning of the year, I start allowing students to take over and become the morning meeting leaders. Students absolutely LOVE being in charge for those short 10-15 minutes.  They take their responsibilities very seriously.  Not only is it fun for them to take on the teacher role, but they also learn valuable skills such as patience and leadership. Having a student leader run morning meetings is a wonderful way to also build self confidence, classroom community, and student ownership.

So now that you understand WHY morning meeting is a beneficial part of the daily routine, you might be wondering what actually takes place during a morning meeting.  

Allow me to explain.

I break up our daily morning meetings into five different parts:

  1. Announcements
  2. Greeting
  3. Self-reflection
  4. Discussion
  5. Game/activity

Not each component needs to be included every single day, but I do find that it works best if the general schedule stays as consistent as possible each day.  However, some days I dedicate more time to one of the parts of our morning meeting than others.  I still usually go through each part of the meeting every day, but may not spend a lot of time on each one. For example, if I know we plan to have a long discussion on a particular day, I will plan to do a quick greeting and fast game that day. Likewise, if we plan to play a game that is more time consuming, we will select a fast greeting and not so heavy discussion topic. 

1. Class Announcements

When students first gather for our meeting, I use the first few minutes, sometimes even only seconds, to make any important class announcements that we may need to discuss.  It could be anything from changes to the daily schedule, to announcing a new monthly character trait focus, to simply selecting the student leader for the meeting. 


2. Morning Meeting Greeting

Next, we go right into the class greeting.  The purpose of a morning meeting greeting is to set the tone for the meeting and the day.  It teaches students how to politely interact and communicate with their peers.

During the greeting, I emphasize that students should make eye contact and greet their peers by name.  If the specific greeting we chose did not specify who they should greet, I often encourage students to go out of their way and greet students they do not frequently talk to in class as a way to build their social skills and get to know their classmates better. 

Some greetings are quick and short, while others can be more time consuming.  

A quick and easy greeting can be something as simple as turn the people on either side of you and say good morning.

Other times, you can engage in a longer greeting such as the Spider-Web greeting. During this greeting, students roll or throw a ball of yarn to one another across a circle and greet each other when they receive the yarn.  As a bonus, you can have students reverse the order of the greeting and unwind the yarn.  

The time you have dedicated to your morning meeting will play a factor as to which types of greetings might be appropriate for that day. 

circle time greeting


 3. Self Reflection

After a greeting, taking a few minutes for students to self-reflect is a powerful and beneficial exercise. I even do it myself, too! I ask the class to do the following:

Think about one thing you did well yesterday.

Think about one thing you can do better today.

Sometimes we share our reflections, while other times we do not.  Again, that depends on timing.  However, I generally select up to 3 people to quickly share. When students are sharing, I encourage them to share their answers using complete sentences. I try to sneak in academic lessons and modeling into our morning meeting as often as possible! I find that the more students practice speaking properly and in complete sentences, the more it will become normalized and also translate to their writing. 

4. Discussions & Share

After students take a moment to reflect and plan for the day, it’s time for a class discussion.  

I have monthly sets of discussion questions that I use for this portion of the morning meeting.  I select one question from the month’s set and display it on the smartboard. 

These questions cover a range of topics.  Some days they are silly or fun, while others they are more purposeful or serious.  The discussion part of morning meetings is when I often teach or discuss character education, making smart choices, work habits, or sometimes even review academic content.

After students are presented with the daily discussion prompt, they turn and talk to discuss their responses.  While students are talking, I walk around and listen and perhaps chime in, if appropriate or necessary. 

After a few minutes, or when conversations start to die down, I select just a few students to share with the class if they choose.  I find it important to have students turn and talk during the discussion so that even if they are not selected to share with the entire class, they still had an opportunity to share their thoughts with a partner. 

Because this discussion time is a chance for growing and learning, some days it may need to be longer than others.  If I know the discussion is going to be an important and long one, I select a greeting and activity that is on the faster side. 

class discussion prompts

5. Morning Meetings Games and/or Activities

Last up is arguably one of the most anticipated parts of a morning meeting.  Students love playing games. A lot of the morning meeting games and activities require students to work together with their peers.  As a result, they are practicing important social skills.   Additionally, playing a game in the morning gets students excited and often puts them in a good mood.  Now, isn’t that a great way to start off the day?

Again, just like the greetings and discussions, some games or activities are simpler,  while others are more complex and time consuming than others.  

Twenty-One is ALWAYS a class favorite every year.  

How Much Time Should I Block Off for a Morning Meeting Every Day?

My district has dedicated ten minutes every morning to hold a morning meeting.  However, I would say that on average, our meetings typically range anywhere from 10-20 minutes. We aim to keep it under 10, but sometimes life happens.

If you have the time to host a 20 minute morning meeting, I say do it! Your students will appreciate it and you certainly won’t regret it.  I find that the extra time spent building that classroom community is totally worth it in the long run. On the other hand, if you only have 5-10 spare minutes, I still encourage you to give it a try.  Just rotate through the different components of the morning meeting on different days. Something is better than nothing!

If you’re planning to implement morning meetings in your classroom and are looking for resources to get you started, check out my Morning Meeting Bundle.  It contains a set of Morning Meeting Greetings, Games and Activities, Daily Discussion prompts organized by month, and even Morning Meeting Assignment Slides.

morning meeting activities

Comment below with any questions you might have!

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morning meeting upper elementary