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Morning Meeting In Kindergarten
How to set up a morning meeting in your kindergarten classroom
14 Jun, 2015. 38 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Back to School, First Grade, Kindergarten, Preschool. Posted By: Kristen Smith

A few years ago, I dabbled in using a morning meeting in my first grade classroom. I wrote my students a message every day and occasionally did team building activities in our circle. However, over the last two years, I have read many of the Responsive Classroom books and jumped head first on day one last year with using their “morning meeting” in my kindergarten classroom. After a year of using it, the verdict is in. I will never, ever NOT use a morning meeting again. In other words, I LOVED IT.

morning meeting.001

You might ask yourself, “what is a morning meeting?” The morning meeting is a way to build the community in your classroom. It is a way to help our students be known by their peers, develop into responsible, caring, and kind citizens, and build connections with one another. It is a time where students will develop a sense of belonging and have fun!

It is composed of four elements:

1. The Greeting

2. The Share

3. A Group Activity

4. The Morning Message

In my kindergarten classroom, I started this routine off as I do all procedures. SLOWLY! Slow and steady wins the race every time when setting up procedures! My students had used the morning meeting last year when they were in Preschool so they were familiar with sitting in a circle and greeting their peers. Therefore, I started the year with the greeting and the morning message. After a week, my students were ready to move on. We then added a “sign in,” a share, and finally added in the group activity.

How and where can students sit?

A Day In First Grade-8

To begin, I assigned every student a spot on our carpet. (I used blue painter’s tape last year to do this but I know other teachers who made each student their own sit spot.) I made sure that from every spot every child could see everyone. This is really important. The purpose of the morning meeting is to include everyone and to build community. However, if a child is in a spot where they can’t see or be seen, this defeats the purpose of your morning meeting. Last year I had an oval shaped rug and I will be honest, I had to adjust some of my student’s spots due to this reason. I am looking into buying a circular rug this year just for our meeting spot.

Once everyone had a spot on the carpet, we learned that there were three ways that they could sit: criss cross, mermaid, or mountain. (Criss cross: criss cross applesauce; mermaid: knees both facing to one side and their feet tucked next to them; and mountain: bottom down, knees up and arms wrapped around their legs right under their knees. {The boy in the airplane shirt is sitting mountain.})

The Greeting

promoting peace in the classroom.005

The greeting is the time in the morning meeting where students will greet each other daily. This was a new endeavor for me this year. When my school told us that we had to incorporate this into our day, I was worried that they might get bored of this. However, I was proven wrong. I wish I snapped pictures of my students greeting each other because every day, without fail, when it was time to pass around the greeting, each student’s eyes LIT up. They loved this and it developed such a nice report amongst my kindergarteners.

To kick off the greeting, we start by simply learning our friend’s names. We did this a few ways. One way was by using chants and poems. Here are some of our favorites:

We Are Here

(sung to the tune of “The Farmer In The Dell”)

“Isaiah is here”

“Isaiah is here”

“It’s a great day because Isaiah is here”

In the beginning of the year, you can have the child who you are singing about wave to his friends, and have everyone give him a thumbs up. As the year progresses and your students feel comfortable with each other,  the child can step inside the circle and either hop around the circle, skip around the circle, give high fives, or dance.

Another great beginning of the year greeting is:

Bumblebee

“Bumblebee, bumblebee, tell us your name!
Say it real loud, and we’ll do the same!”

(The student says their name and everyone responds with, “Hello, _______”)

Another favorite is called “Our Class.” (Tune of Old MacDonald)
There was a class that had a boy/girl
and _____ was his/her name-o!
Jump, Jump ____
Jump, Jump ____
Jump, Jump ____
We’re glad you’re here today!

Once your class is familiar with everyone’s names, you can practice going around the circle and saying “Good Morning, ______” in a kind voice. I make sure the students look their friend in his or her eyes as they greet them. As the year progresses, I teach my students how to shake their friend’s hands, introduce a pinky shake, an elbow shake and many other variations!

 

The Share

A Day In First Grade-58

Sharing is when students get a chance to be heard. This time in your classroom allows your students to share news, events, their point of view and so much more. In the process, your students will truly get to know one another and practice careful listening. (Yes, that’s a common core standard!!) In the beginning of the year, I present a question and then have each student answer the question around the circle. These questions are usually “getting to know you questions.” Some examples might be:

“What is your favorite ice cream flavor?”

“Do you have a pet?”

“Did you go on a vacation this summer?”

Before I ask a question, I remind my students the rules of our circle: We look at the person who is speaking and listen without talking. This is hard for kindergarteners at first– they are very eager to jump in when they hear something that reminds them of themselves.” To avoid this “jump in and respond” I teach my students a hand signal that means, “the same as me!” I don’t have a picture of it but hopefully my written description will make sense. To show agreement or a connection I have my students put their index, middle, and ring finger down and their pinky and thumb out. (It looks like the “hang ten” sign.) They then move it towards the sharer and then back towards their body a few times.  This means, ” I am the same as you!” We use this ALL.THE.TIME. Students are eager to make connections and this is a way students can do so without having to use words. It takes some practice but I promise you it works!! Another motion I teach my students is if I raise a peace sign (which I call my ‘quiet rabbit,’) everyone needs to silently put their quiet rabbits up, too. If everyone starts talking at once, this is a quick way to silence the class, regroup, and move on. With these tools in place, share time is very successful and students LOVE to share about themselves!!

As the year continues, I teach my students how to ask questions about what was just shared. After a student shares I have them say, “I am now ready for questions and comments.” We practice how to make thoughtful and empathetic comments and talk about things that we can ask our friends (and how to stay on topic!) I tell my class that coming up with questions and comments is part of their job as good listeners.

As the year progresses, some sharing ideas include:

*Sharing art work

*Bringing in pictures of their family

*Sentence frames (You can hold up a cone and say, “I know this is a cone, but it could be a ________”)

*Students could share a fun fact that they learned

After “The Share” it’s time for the “Group Activity.”

Group Activity

A Day In First Grade-27

For this game I gave my students a magnetic ornament and they had to hide it behind a Christmas tree while their friends’ eyes were shut. Once they hid the ornament they would then say, okay, “open your eyes!” And the studets would raise their hand to guess which tree it was under by reading the blend. The hider then picks a friend and they come up, read the blend, and peak under the tree. If they were correct, they got to hide the ornament next.

The group activity can be SO many things. It’s a way to provide all class members to learn a common set of poems, songs, and games as well as a way to foster cooperation and inclusion. You can play academic games or team building activities.

Some of our favorite activities last year were learning new poems and songs. My class loved singing “Aroostasha” early on in the year. (as a note, in my class I don’t use the word “butt” I use the word bottom.)

We also love the tooty ta and Greg and Steve’s listen and move! (I LOVE my Greg and Steve cds– we use them OFTEN!!)

*Switch Spots!

To play this game, one person will stand up in the front of the class. They will say one truth. (I have a brother, I like to play soccer, etc.) Whoever connects to the statement has to stand up and switch spots with another person who agrees with the statement. As people switch spots, the person who spoke tries to get in an empty spot. The person who is without a seat gets to share next.

A Day In First Grade-11

An academic game that we play is mix and mingle (I give everyone a card/object) and they have to go and ask their friends something about their item. Ideas include: what is the beginning sound in this picture? What sound does this letter make? What is a word that rhymes with my picture/word? Is my word a real or nonsense word?

Finally, after the  group activity comes the morning message.

The Morning Message
A Day In First Grade-31

The morning message provides information to the students through a letter written by the teacher. This is an easy way to reinforce skills that you are learning about and actively engage your students. On the following chart we had learned how to write a capital D, F and R. I had different students come up and trace my yellow letters. I had different students pick out their favorite (scented) marker and circle a certain letter. (this serves as a quick assessment as well!) Finally, we practiced our sight words together.

A Day In First Grade-29

In this next letter, I used the morning message to intrigue my students as to the book we would be reading that day. My students guessed what book it might be based on my illustrations. (We’re Going On A Bear Hunt)A Day In First Grade-28

 In my classroom, after the morning message is over, I have my student of the day dismiss us from the carpet and sign our sign in chart. One way that we do this is by using bells. To do this, I hand my student the bells and have them walk to a friend without making the bells jingle. Once they get to their friend they tap the friend on the shoulder with the bells and go sign in. This continues until everyone has gone to sign in.

A Day In First Grade-44

At the beginning of the year, I write all my student’s names on post it notes and they pick how they answer the question with their post it note. After they get the hang of signing in, they sign their names on the chart or white board. (As they wait for their friends to finish, they practice their grace and courtesy lessons.)

A Day In First Grade-59

Then they get to work to choose a center activity!

A Day In First Grade-72

I hope you enjoyed this post!

If you are looking for more resources for understanding the morning meeting, I highly recommend this book!

(affiliate link)

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38 Comments
  1. Your morning meeting sounds great! I have used morning meeting but now I see how I can extend it and make it better from your post. How long does your morning meeting take ? I know at the beginning of the year it would take longer. So average from beginning of the year to the end of the year how long does it go? Thank you so much for sharing how you do your meetings.

    Kindly,
    Juliana Jett

    • Juliana- I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post! The morning meeting typically takes about 20-30 minutes. In the beginning of the year I would say about the same amount of time b/c I don’t do the whole meeting until we have the routine down.(It still takes about the same amount of time because I’m teaching procedures.) Also, in the beginning of the year, my messages are shorter than at the end of the year!

  2. Thank you for this post!! I’ve been wanting to incorporate Morning Meeting for awhile, but wasn’t clear on what it should look like so I was too overwhelmed/intimidated to try it. I love the structure you offered especially the heavy emphasis on building community. I will definitely be kicking this off next year. Thank you!

  3. I love your thoughts on morning meeting. I was curious when or if you do calendar and weather. We sometimes do this during our morning meeting and it hasn’t been working too well so I was wondering how you do this. Thanks for your wonderful posts and beautiful pictures.

    • Andrea! Thank you for your kind words!! You just made my day! I do my calendar and weather during my math meeting which is when I teach my whole group math mini-lessons before guided math. I found that squeezing all of that into morning meeting was too much for the kids to sit through.

  4. I love your morning meeting time! I would love to see an outline of your daily schedule

  5. Jeannette -

    Thank you! I love your morning meeting & would really like to incorporate this in my classroom. I was wondering when you do the greeting song & sharing do you have all students take a turn everyday? I’m just trying to figure out how to squeeze this in. What do you do when children are sharing & talk too long? Thanks for your help!

  6. Lisa -

    thank you so much for sharing! I absolutely love the greeting songs, switch spots activity and yes/no question with the post its! I can’t wAit to try some of this in my room! Love new ideas!

  7. What a great post! I learned several new things! I loved the 3 carpet positions – it is refreshing to be able to give them options other than criss cross… I also loved your name song to the tune of the Farmer in the Dell. In my preschool class we sing, “Look who came to school today, school today, school today. Look who came to school today – SARAH did!” Thanks for the tips!

  8. Thank you for sharing this in detail and giving suggestions–I have been teaching kindergarten for 3 years now and was ready for a new element, and the “community-building” emphasis of MM is just the ticket! I have several ESL students every year (Native American heritage) and this really gives the children a very intentional opportunity to speak, listen, and respond.
    I love the “Mix and Mingle”–a great alternative to the ‘worksheets’ I’ve seen in other kindergarten settings, and so much more engaging! I was wondering if you teach 1/2 day or full-day sessions of kindergarten? It seems like Morning Message maximizes the time the children have each day in a learning setting–thanks again for helping me recharge my routine!
    I am also wondering if the class size makes a difference on the efficiency of allowing each child to share EVERY day? I have had 23 students in each of my a.m./p.m. sessions, and I’m a little concerned that it might not be feasible?
    Thanks for your suggestions and any possible feedback!
    Sincerely,
    LeeAnn Parker

    • I have taught in a school where responsive classroom was our main form of behavior rules. I knew what morning meeting was supposed to look like, but it was always hard to fit all of the pieces in. I currently work in a school that wants all of the components of a responsive classroom morning meeting, but they have not taught us any training. I was lucky enough to come across your blog and re-learn what it supposed to look like and feel like for the kids. I am very excited to start implementing this on the first day of kindergarten! I work in a school with a high ELL population and I am excited to have a meaningful greet, share, activity, and message. I really appreciate how you included pictures and specific examples of shares and sign-ins you use! Visuals are always helpful.

      Thanks for the great post!
      Katie

  9. Hi! I really enjoyed all of this info you shared! I’m planning for a new year right now, and was curious how many kids are allowed to share during the morning meeting time everyday? Also, if a child who is speaking & sharing keeps going and going do you have a signal you use that politely lets them know they need to wrap it up? :)

    Charissa

  10. Love your ideas for extending Morning Meeting. Do you use any Kagan structures? Several are perfect for the group activity. Thanks again for your great ideas.

  11. I am in the same situation as LeeAnn Parker, plus I have 15 minutes overlap time with my partner’s morning Kinders.

  12. So many great ideas to “borrow”! This is only my second full year in K so I am soaking up all this knowledge :) TY!

  13. Thank you so much for taking the time to write down your ideas! I love them and will be using a lot of them in my kindergarten class.

  14. Laura -

    Thank you for so many wonderful ideas. I teach first grade and this is my first year implementing morning meeting. We are 8 days in and loving it. I really think it’s helping us build a stronger community. I’ll be incorporating many of your ideas soon!

  15. Nic -

    Hi! Thanks for this great info. Where did you get your classroom alaphabet from? I love it!

    Thanks!

    • I made it! It’s available in my blog store (below) and also in my TpT shop! :)

  16. This was unbelievably helpful! I’m adjusting for Pre-K. Thanks

  17. Lucy -

    This sounds fantastic !
    I am teaching Prep (Australia) which i am guessing is the same as first grade in US, for the first time this year.
    Just wondering if you or anyone has tried this with team teaching classes ( 2 teachers, 40 kids) before ?
    Do you think that having 40 students is too many for morning meetings ?
    I LOVE THIS but having trouble thinking i am going to translate it into a larger group environment.

  18. I found this extremely helpful! A great way to bring kids together.

  19. OH. MY. WORD. This post is AMAZING!!! I have taught 1st grade for 8 years and will be teaching Kindergarten this fall. This post had SO many tips/tricks! I wish I would have read this sooner b/c I could’ve used the “3 ways to sit” in first grade! All these years I’ve been set on them sitting body basic (criss cross). LOVE the other two choices! :) THANK YOU for sharing!

  20. Matt -

    Hi Karen,
    I’m just coming across your blog and love this post about Morning Meetings. Next year will be my first year in a classroom and I am teaching kindergarten (I’ve taught ESL for four years). I would love to learn more about morning meetings and it looks like there was once a book posted that you learned some of this from. Could you share that title with me?

    Thanks! – Matt

  21. Amy -

    I am a Pre-K teacher and am so very grateful to have stumbles upon your blog via pinterest today! Thank you for giving me much needed inspiration and organization for my mornings next year!

  22. I LOVE this idea. You have explained morning meeting really well and I cannot wait to use it with my Kinders this year. Thank you so much for sharing!

  23. Thank you for the great tips! Have a wonderful school year.

    P J Gruben

  24. Thank you for sharing. My Principal is wanting to me add in some of the very things I read about in this article. Thank you!!

  25. han -

    Thanks a lot for these great tips.

  26. Wendy -

    Thank you so much for this post. It was VERY helpful!!!!!!

  27. Leah -

    So many great ideas and you painted such a clear picture of morning meeting. Thank you!

  28. Kristen your morning meeting is explained so well. I have often wondered how to implement my morning meeting with efficiency. I think that now I can design a morning meeting that is meaningful and exciting for my students without the look of “This Again?’ Thank you kindly for sharing this part of your day with the world. This is great reading.

  29. Allison -

    I love your alphabet chart in the group activity photo…where did you find that?

  30. Ana -

    Hi Kristen!

    I’ve read this post many times and I always find new inspiration for morning meeting! I’m curious about the “grace and courtesy lessons” you mention your students doing as they wait their turn to sign in. Can you tell us about that? Thanks!! Ana

  31. judi -

    your morning meeting post inspires me… i am a english teacher for kindergarteners in thailand . they do know a bit of english, but it is a struggle for me to keep my students interested and quiet. but you gave me a few tips and pointers. thankyou judi

38 Comments

  • Your morning meeting sounds great! I have used morning meeting but now I see how I can extend it and make it better from your post. How long does your morning meeting take ? I know at the beginning of the year it would take longer. So average from beginning of the year to the end of the year how long does it go? Thank you so much for sharing how you do your meetings.

    Kindly,
    Juliana Jett

    • Juliana- I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post! The morning meeting typically takes about 20-30 minutes. In the beginning of the year I would say about the same amount of time b/c I don’t do the whole meeting until we have the routine down.(It still takes about the same amount of time because I’m teaching procedures.) Also, in the beginning of the year, my messages are shorter than at the end of the year!

  • Thank you for this post!! I’ve been wanting to incorporate Morning Meeting for awhile, but wasn’t clear on what it should look like so I was too overwhelmed/intimidated to try it. I love the structure you offered especially the heavy emphasis on building community. I will definitely be kicking this off next year. Thank you!

  • I love your thoughts on morning meeting. I was curious when or if you do calendar and weather. We sometimes do this during our morning meeting and it hasn’t been working too well so I was wondering how you do this. Thanks for your wonderful posts and beautiful pictures.

    • Andrea! Thank you for your kind words!! You just made my day! I do my calendar and weather during my math meeting which is when I teach my whole group math mini-lessons before guided math. I found that squeezing all of that into morning meeting was too much for the kids to sit through.

  • I love your morning meeting time! I would love to see an outline of your daily schedule

  • Jeannette -

    Thank you! I love your morning meeting & would really like to incorporate this in my classroom. I was wondering when you do the greeting song & sharing do you have all students take a turn everyday? I’m just trying to figure out how to squeeze this in. What do you do when children are sharing & talk too long? Thanks for your help!

  • Lisa -

    thank you so much for sharing! I absolutely love the greeting songs, switch spots activity and yes/no question with the post its! I can’t wAit to try some of this in my room! Love new ideas!

  • What a great post! I learned several new things! I loved the 3 carpet positions – it is refreshing to be able to give them options other than criss cross… I also loved your name song to the tune of the Farmer in the Dell. In my preschool class we sing, “Look who came to school today, school today, school today. Look who came to school today – SARAH did!” Thanks for the tips!

  • Thank you for sharing this in detail and giving suggestions–I have been teaching kindergarten for 3 years now and was ready for a new element, and the “community-building” emphasis of MM is just the ticket! I have several ESL students every year (Native American heritage) and this really gives the children a very intentional opportunity to speak, listen, and respond.
    I love the “Mix and Mingle”–a great alternative to the ‘worksheets’ I’ve seen in other kindergarten settings, and so much more engaging! I was wondering if you teach 1/2 day or full-day sessions of kindergarten? It seems like Morning Message maximizes the time the children have each day in a learning setting–thanks again for helping me recharge my routine!
    I am also wondering if the class size makes a difference on the efficiency of allowing each child to share EVERY day? I have had 23 students in each of my a.m./p.m. sessions, and I’m a little concerned that it might not be feasible?
    Thanks for your suggestions and any possible feedback!
    Sincerely,
    LeeAnn Parker

    • I have taught in a school where responsive classroom was our main form of behavior rules. I knew what morning meeting was supposed to look like, but it was always hard to fit all of the pieces in. I currently work in a school that wants all of the components of a responsive classroom morning meeting, but they have not taught us any training. I was lucky enough to come across your blog and re-learn what it supposed to look like and feel like for the kids. I am very excited to start implementing this on the first day of kindergarten! I work in a school with a high ELL population and I am excited to have a meaningful greet, share, activity, and message. I really appreciate how you included pictures and specific examples of shares and sign-ins you use! Visuals are always helpful.

      Thanks for the great post!
      Katie

  • Hi! I really enjoyed all of this info you shared! I’m planning for a new year right now, and was curious how many kids are allowed to share during the morning meeting time everyday? Also, if a child who is speaking & sharing keeps going and going do you have a signal you use that politely lets them know they need to wrap it up? :)

    Charissa

  • Love your ideas for extending Morning Meeting. Do you use any Kagan structures? Several are perfect for the group activity. Thanks again for your great ideas.

  • I am in the same situation as LeeAnn Parker, plus I have 15 minutes overlap time with my partner’s morning Kinders.

  • So many great ideas to “borrow”! This is only my second full year in K so I am soaking up all this knowledge :) TY!

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to write down your ideas! I love them and will be using a lot of them in my kindergarten class.

  • Laura -

    Thank you for so many wonderful ideas. I teach first grade and this is my first year implementing morning meeting. We are 8 days in and loving it. I really think it’s helping us build a stronger community. I’ll be incorporating many of your ideas soon!

  • Nic -

    Hi! Thanks for this great info. Where did you get your classroom alaphabet from? I love it!

    Thanks!

    • I made it! It’s available in my blog store (below) and also in my TpT shop! :)

  • This was unbelievably helpful! I’m adjusting for Pre-K. Thanks

  • Lucy -

    This sounds fantastic !
    I am teaching Prep (Australia) which i am guessing is the same as first grade in US, for the first time this year.
    Just wondering if you or anyone has tried this with team teaching classes ( 2 teachers, 40 kids) before ?
    Do you think that having 40 students is too many for morning meetings ?
    I LOVE THIS but having trouble thinking i am going to translate it into a larger group environment.

  • I found this extremely helpful! A great way to bring kids together.

  • OH. MY. WORD. This post is AMAZING!!! I have taught 1st grade for 8 years and will be teaching Kindergarten this fall. This post had SO many tips/tricks! I wish I would have read this sooner b/c I could’ve used the “3 ways to sit” in first grade! All these years I’ve been set on them sitting body basic (criss cross). LOVE the other two choices! :) THANK YOU for sharing!

  • Matt -

    Hi Karen,
    I’m just coming across your blog and love this post about Morning Meetings. Next year will be my first year in a classroom and I am teaching kindergarten (I’ve taught ESL for four years). I would love to learn more about morning meetings and it looks like there was once a book posted that you learned some of this from. Could you share that title with me?

    Thanks! – Matt

  • Amy -

    I am a Pre-K teacher and am so very grateful to have stumbles upon your blog via pinterest today! Thank you for giving me much needed inspiration and organization for my mornings next year!

  • I LOVE this idea. You have explained morning meeting really well and I cannot wait to use it with my Kinders this year. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Thank you for the great tips! Have a wonderful school year.

    P J Gruben

  • Thank you for sharing. My Principal is wanting to me add in some of the very things I read about in this article. Thank you!!

  • han -

    Thanks a lot for these great tips.

  • Wendy -

    Thank you so much for this post. It was VERY helpful!!!!!!

  • Leah -

    So many great ideas and you painted such a clear picture of morning meeting. Thank you!

  • Kristen your morning meeting is explained so well. I have often wondered how to implement my morning meeting with efficiency. I think that now I can design a morning meeting that is meaningful and exciting for my students without the look of “This Again?’ Thank you kindly for sharing this part of your day with the world. This is great reading.

  • Allison -

    I love your alphabet chart in the group activity photo…where did you find that?

  • Ana -

    Hi Kristen!

    I’ve read this post many times and I always find new inspiration for morning meeting! I’m curious about the “grace and courtesy lessons” you mention your students doing as they wait their turn to sign in. Can you tell us about that? Thanks!! Ana

  • judi -

    your morning meeting post inspires me… i am a english teacher for kindergarteners in thailand . they do know a bit of english, but it is a struggle for me to keep my students interested and quiet. but you gave me a few tips and pointers. thankyou judi

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