I love love love morning meeting! I feel like during this 15-20 minute block, I get to teach to change the world, the reason I became a teacher in the first place. This year, I decided to devote a few more minutes to morning meeting and to focus my morning meeting on one theme all week. I even decided to have students keep a "Morning Meeting" marble notebook for our lessons. Focusing on one concept all week has worked out well to develop a better understanding, and I feel like the themes we have touched on so far--kindness, belonging, legacies, compassion, and goal setting--have really stuck with students.
I began with themes that I thought were critical for kicking off our year, use them to piggyback on things we are learning in readers' workshop, and to focus on issues we are having in class. (In comes "conflict" as a theme this week because it became evident that we needed to have a "classroom community" and how to deal with conflict conversation).
Last week, our morning meeting lessons focused on personal goal setting. We discussed how important it is to take our dreams beyond "wishes" by learning how to set goals, develop strategies and plans to achieve them, monitor how we are doing, and adjust course as needed. It is important to remember that goals can be achieved by asking for others to support us (I think we sometimes forget this). It is also important to believe in ourselves and to make sure FEAR does not hold us back from pushing ourselves forward.
We watched the video titled Finish Strong earlier this year. It contains many inspirational quotes and a great message about persevering through adversity and challenges.
During the viewing of Finish Strong, we decided the Anatole France quotation was our favorite.
Each morning meeting focus includes key words. Goal, Accomplish, Strategic, and Intentions are our key vocabulary words for Goal Setting.
I believe that in the journey of being human, the true goal of any individual is to work on ourselves to the point that our inner self shines through on the outside--that our actions represent who we believe we are on the inside. I love having morning meeting each day because it gives us time to talk about how to help our true selves shine through. I think goal setting is a crucial classroom conversation that needs to happen on a regular basis. It is embedded throughout my classroom routines and language and we reflect on our goals (just two) once a week. Students write about what they have done so far to work on their goal and their plan for moving forward. I encourage them to believe that just because you did nothing to work on your goal last week does not mean you should quit. (This is true for weight loss, exercising, giving up smoking, and more!--just because we fall off of a wagon for a few days DOES NOT mean we should stay off of it for the rest of our lives. We have to learn to release any guilt so that we can move forward.)
I am working on a pretty extensive set of morning meeting focus materials. I hope to have these ready soon! Keep following along as I share more of our morning meeting lessons. Our next morning meeting theme is another great one...CONFLICT!