Is your Morning Meeting mediocre? Do you wish your group time was more memorable for your students? Are you looking for ways to make Morning Meeting marvelous?
Then incorporate these five must do’s and watch the magic happen at your next Morning Meeting!
1. Be Predictable in Your Morning Meeting
Your Morning Meeting needs to be predictable. Students thrive on procedures, consistency, and knowing what to expect. By having regular components that you do day in and day out, your Morning Meeting will be a success.
One way to be predictable is with songs and monthly poems which are part of our daily routine. Each morning, we sing the monthly song and recite the poem. We add motions and movements as we learn the words. An added bonus is when we use the poetry pocket charts to focus on learning letters or sight words. Children love poetry and can often be heard reciting our poems throughout the school day!
Another predictable part of our Morning Meeting is the Question of the Day. I started using a Question of the Day when I taught kindergarten but incorporated it with four year old preschoolers and in a Young 5’s class, too. Students always look forward to answering the Question of the Day! Teachers love how much they can learn about the class from the responses! Plus, it’s a good way to integrate your themes and learning concepts. And finally, the Question of the Day helps young readers with the predicable text and picture cues.
I realize there is some controversy to the appropriateness of Calendar Time in preschool but I always found it to be a beneficial part of Morning Meeting. For me, the key was keeping it relevant and suited to my students. I believe teaching the calendar should be short and sweet!
In addition to quickly talking about the calendar and weather, we go over the day’s helpers, too.
One important element of calendar time is Counting the Days of School. Students get really excited as they see the number climb! Use it as a mini lesson for counting, number recognition, and counting by 10’s on the ten frames. If you celebrate the 100th day of school, having a system in your Morning Meeting to count how many days you’ve been in school is vital.
2. Make Morning Meeting Fun
In addition to being predictable during your large group time, you must make it fun and exciting!
Circle Time should have a steady momentum and be purposeful. It shouldn’t be slow and thoughtless. Our goal is to educate our students and sometimes that means we need to entertain them, too!
When we see kids who are bored or misbehaving during Morning Meeting, we need to ask ourselves “What can I do to make this better?”. For example, maybe you need to mix things up. Or quicken the pace of group time. Do you need to establish class rules for your group time? Perhaps adding a fun movement activity or silly song will do the trick.
Another way to make things fun while keeping everyone interested and engaged is by playing group games! Children of all ages enjoy games with their classmates! These pocket chart games are a great way to practice and review the alphabet and numbers at your class meeting.
3. Learn Something New at Every Morning Meeting
Another must do of Morning Meeting is to ensure your students are learning something new every day! Have learning goals for your preschool standards. Know what you expect your class to learn each day, each week, and each month. Set goals for each theme as to what you want your class to learn. There are several ways to be sure learning will occur during your Morning Meeting.
First, I like to utilize a Focus Wall in my large group area. A Focus Wall is simply a small bulletin board space that highlights your key learning concepts. For instance, our color and shape of the month are featured on the Focus Wall. In addition, the sight word for the week is posted. If you teach a letter of the week, you can include it, as well. The Focus Wall will change weekly and/or monthly and will serve to be a good visual of what your class is learning.
The next way to provide learning opportunities at Morning Meeting is by using predictable charts. This example shows a predictable chart when we were learning about the color yellow. Students helped create the chart during our large group time by choosing clip art pictures from a tray and putting them on the chart. The predictable text helped students “read” while reinforcing the color word. Predictable charts such as these provide plenty of learning experiences for your students.
Thirdly, create anchor charts at your daily circle time to show what your class has learned about a specific theme or topic. Record what each student says they have learned. Read the chart together and refer to it during subsequent Morning Meetings.
4. Make Them Feel Special During Morning Meeting
- The next must do of your Morning Meeting is to make your students feel special. Gathering together as a class is a wonderful opportunity to build a community. It’s a time to create a positive learning environment. Morning Meeting is the ideal time for getting to know students and establishing relationships. Whether you’re reading and singing The Hello Book or discussing who’s at school, making your students feel important is a key part of your daily large group time.
During Morning Meeting you can also focus on the line leader or student of the day. Perhaps they will do a special job during large group or they get to sit in a special place. Or the song or game is the leader’s choice. Maybe they get to bring a Show & Tell item to share with the class. Whatever it is, your students will look forward to their turn to be in the Morning Meeting spotlight!
5. Keep Them Coming Back for More
Lastly, you must make sure your students want to come back for another Morning Meeting! If you have engaging, interactive, and fun experiences, then chances are they’ll be looking forward to more! But if you want to add an element of suspense and anticipation, then try one of these ideas!
Have a teaser for tomorrow’s Morning Meeting by placing an item in a bag, box, or class mailbox. You might put in a book, game piece, puppet, or story trinket. Describe the item or show a portion of it. Create suspense of what’s to come! Let your students know how special the next Morning Meeting will be!
Here’s a cute little song to sing to build the excitement of what’s in store! Just insert your name where it says “teacher” and sing to your class as you hold the Surprise Sack or Magic Bag at the end of Morning Meeting!
Put these five must do’s to work and have fun at your next Morning Meeting!