Sunday, September 7, 2014

~Morning Meeting Made Easy! Set 1 Ready~

It's finally finished! My Morning Meeting Made Easy set is ready to go for your classroom community meetings!

First, let me say, I call my morning meeting by a few different names: morning meeting, classroom meeting, and community meeting. Having our classroom meeting in the mornings doesn't always fit into our schedules, right?

Last year, I decided to try a theme-based morning meeting and loved it! I created a list of themes for personal development, came up with related vocabulary words, and found quotes to match the themes. I created posters for each theme so that I could display our community themes all year for us to refer back to. I also used key read alouds to initiate my discussions with students about the theme. From this idea grew "Morning Meeting Made Easy." Not only does the set include the posters for each theme, but I created student journal pages and teacher overviews that suggest read alouds, possible activities, and videos or songs that connect to the theme. This product is seriously READY to GO, except for grabbing the picturebooks! I'm so excited to have this set completed because Morning Meeting will be so much easier for me to plan for this year!

My morning meeting may be a little different than what you are used to seeing (google morning meeting and you may find calendar lessons, name games, get-to-know you activities, and morning messages). I have found morning meeting to be more typical of a lower-grades classroom, but I wanted my morning meetings to focus less on getting to know each other and more on getting to know ourselves and more about humanity. How do humans treat each other, why do we act the way we do, and what can we do to act more like how we believe we should? I also use classroom meetings to problem solve any classroom issues that have popped up.

My first morning meeting set focuses on belonging, kindness, compassion, conflict, and perseverance. I think all of these themes are important to discuss at the beginning of the year!
The shift in how I use and plan for my mornings meetings actually aligns perfectly with what I have done in past years with personal goal setting. For each theme, students have a journal page where they self-reflect and set a personal goal for improving in that theme. At the end of the week, students return to their goal to reflect on how they have improved or how their thinking has changed. (Students should have lots of ideas and opportunities to make improvements on the goal because you have continued the conversation all week!) Through our classroom meetings, I encourage personal improvement, character development, and community building.
Each theme's journal pages include a cover page with the theme, quotations, and key vocabulary, a self-assessment/reflection page, a 3 questions and illustration page that helps students analyze the theme and think of real life examples, and a quotation and video reflection sheet. Other goodies include sheets for making connections between read alouds and quotations, word brainstorms, and beginning middle, and end sheets. You will surely see many ways to extend the lessons and journal pages for your students. These journal pages are meant to support your instruction and classroom discussions.
To have a quick reference for teaching through each theme, I put together teacher overviews. Instead of having to search for read alouds, videos, and related songs to use, you have a quick list to get you started and can add to this with books you are already familiar with.
In my next post, I share a day-by-day possible teaching sequence. Two sets of Morning Meeting themes are now available. If you want to check out the theme sets up close, you can download my belonging set freebie!

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