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Morning Meeting Activities
5 Tried And True Morning Meeting Activities (for kindergarteners)
15 Jul, 2016. 8 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Back to School, First Grade, Kindergarten, Preschool. Posted By: Kristen Smith

Morning Meeting Activities

I absolutely love using a morning meeting to begin our day.  In the book it says, “morning meetings help to create a climate of trust that encourages children to take risks.” I 100% agree with that statement. It does so much to enhance, improve, and support your classroom community. I blogged about the structure and how I run a morning meeting last year. (You can read that post here.) One of the key components that helps build this climate of trust is the “activity.” The first year that I ran morning meetings in my classroom I found that I struggled with coming up with fresh and new ideas for the activity time. However, now that I have been using this structure for a few years, I have found a few “tried and true” activities that students love and that really help build your classroom community.

Songs

Especially at the beginning of the year, I use many songs during the activity time. Songs encourage inclusion and cooperation and strengthen academic and social skills all at the same time.

I chart these songs and keep them on my easel. They are great for helping kids with phonics, rhyming, sight words, etc.

Here are some of our favorites:

We Are Here

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

“Viktoria is here”

“Viktoria is here”

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

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!

Down By The Bay” (Raffi)

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
“Did you ever you ever see a goose
kissing a moose?”
Down by the bay

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
“Did you ever see a whale
With a polka dot tail?”
Down by the bay

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
“Did you ever see a fly
Wearing a tie?”
Down by the bay

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
“Did you ever see a bear
Combing his hear?”
Down by the bay

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
“Did you ever see a llama
Eating pajamas?”
Down by the bay

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
“Did you ever have a time
When you couldn’t make a rhyme?”
Down by the bay

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do

Willoughby Walliby Woo” (Raffi)

*Great for rhyming!! {Insert the names and rhymes for the friends in your class}*

Willoughby walliby wee
An elephant sat on me
Willoughby walliby woo
An elephant sat on you
Willoughbly walliby wusten
An elephant sat on Justin
Willoughby walliby wangya
An elephant sat on Tanya
Willoughby walliby wenny
An elephant sat on Jenny
Willoughby walliby woal
An elephant sat on Joel
Willoughby walliby wong
I hope that you sing along
Willoughby walliby week
A singa linga longa with me!
Ratatatatat a lalalalalala
Doodaloodoodaloo boobooboo
Babababababoom

The Ants Go Marching 1 by 1” (Cedarmont Kids)

*I don’t usually use this song until later on in the year when we have established our classroom expectations, how to find friends, and act during an activity.*

For this song we add in a lot of movement. (I play this on a CD.) The way it works is that whatever the ants are marching by, they have to get in a group of that many students. If someone is left out, they go to march in a hula hoop that I lay out on the floor until the next group needs to be formed.  They all act out what the “little one” does and then march back to their carpet spot on “and they all go marching down to the ground to get out of the rain, Boom, boom, boom.” Then they have to make a new group. Since they have to find the groups QUICKLY it takes a bit to get it going but once the kids “get it” it is super fun!

The ants go marching one by one.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching one by one.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching one by one;
The little one stops to suck his thumb,
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching two by two.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching two by two.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching two by two;
The little one stops to tie his shoe,
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching three by three.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching three by three.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching three by three;
The little one stops to climb a tree,
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching four by four.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching four by four.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching four by four;
The little one stops to shut the door,
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching five by five.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching five by five.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching five by five;
The little one stops to take a dive,
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching six by six.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching six by six.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching six by six;
The little one stops to pick up sticks,
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching seven by seven.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching seven by seven.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching seven by seven;
The little one stops to pray to heaven,
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching eight by eight.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching eight by eight.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching eight by eight;
The little one stops to rollerskate,
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching nine by nine.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching nine by nine.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching nine by nine;
The little one stops to check the time,
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching ten by ten.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching ten by ten.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching ten by ten;
The little one stops to shout
“THE END!!”

Other favorite songs include “Who took the cookie from the cookie jar?,” “A tisket a tasket,” “A sailor went to sea,” “Tooty Ta,” “Deep and wide,” “Where is thumbkin?,” “Open/Shut them,” “Late Last Night (Joe Scruggs),” and anything by Greg and Steve.

Quiz-Quiz-Trade

5 Tried and True Morning Meeting Activities

For the game “Quiz-Quiz-Trade” you are going to get your students up and moving while they practice talking to each other. This is a Kagan structure that I use OFTEN in my classroom. Here’s how you play:

1. Create Questions

Provide each student with a flashcard. This can be anything! At the beginning of the year I use picture cards and have students work on the beginning sounds they hear in the word. As a fun getting to know you activity, you can print and laminate student pictures and use them as the flashcards to work on student names!

2. Pair Up

To pair up you can do a variety of things. I have used freeze dance where I put on music, kids dance around, and as soon as the music stops they need to partner up with the student who is closest to them or you can use the stand up/hands up/pair up method for students to find a partner. Once they have a partner, Partner A holds up the flash card to show or ask Partner B the question. {At the beginning of the year, I coach my students saying, remember, the question is: “What is the first sound you hear in my word?” or “What is this friend’s name?” Partner B answers. Partner A praises if correct or coaches if incorrect.  They switch roles and Partner B asks Partner A the next question.

3. Hands Up

After thanking each other and switching cards, Partners A and B raise their hands to find a new partner and repeat the process for an allotted amount of time.

The beauty of this activity is you can use this with anything! Some examples include: What does my picture rhyme with? Who lives in my habitat? What is the job of this community helper? Is this living or non-living? Can you read this word? Can you read this sentence? Is this a noun or a verb? The possibilities are endless!

Find My Match 

5 Tried and True Morning Meeting Activities

This is another cooperative learning game that I use often. For this, you are going to want to make sure you print out matching cards. (rhyming words/pictures, capital and lowercase letters, pictures and words, numbers and dots, colors and color words, addition equations and answers, etc.) For this game I hand one card out to every student and then put on some music. The rule of this game is that when the music is on, my students have to walk around trading cards with whoever they walk by. (This shuffles the cards and increases engagement!) As soon as the music stops, they need to look at their card and then try to find the friend who has the other card that matches their card. When they find their match, I have those two students sit down criss cross applesauce and discuss how their cards match. As soon as they are finished discussing, they put two thumbs in the air to signify that they are ready for the next round.

Survey The Class

5 Tried and True Morning Meeting Activities

Survey the class was a HUGE hit in my class last year. For this game, each child will need a dry erase board and a marker. (Make sure you teach what a T-chart is before you introduce this game!) Then, students make a T-chart on their white board and ask all of their friends (one at a time) which item they like best. Students then draw a tally mark on the side of the item that they choose. Students mingle around the room asking each friend their question and then sit back down once everyone has drawn a tally mark on their board (or time is up).

5 Tried and True Morning Meeting Activities

At the beginning of the year you can have everyone ask the same or a similar question. Examples include “What is your favorite color?” “What is your favorite animal?” “What is your favorite season?”

After the data has been collected, you can turn it into a graph!

5 Tried and True Morning Meeting Activities

Poems and Rhymes

5 Tried and True Morning Meeting Activities

Much like using songs, using poems and rhymes are a great way to foster active and engaged participation as well as strengthen academic and social skills. Above, my students were acting out the ‘poem/song’ Five Green Speckled Frogs. (This also helped us with subtraction!)

5 Tried and True Morning Meeting Activities

Using this chart we retold the sequence of events in the story, “Mushrooms In The Rain,” practiced dialogue, and reading with the correct “voice.”

5 Tried and True Morning Meeting Activities

Here my students were each given a part of the pledge of allegiance and had to work together as a team to put it back in order.

Some of our favorite poems and rhymes included nursery rhymes, poems by Christina Rosetti, and seasonal poems. (5 Little Pumpkins, I’m a little snowflake, etc.)

Team Building Games

5 Tried and True Morning Meeting Activities

I try to complete at least one team building activity a week. The one pictured above was definitely one of our favorites. This game I titled, “Who is the leader?” For this game, we would ask one student (the guesser) to go stand in the hallway for a few seconds while we picked a “leader.” The leader would then lead the class in a rhythm. Everyone joined in using their sticks. They would have to carefully watch the leader because they would change the rhythm occasionally. After the rhythm began, I got the student from the hallway and they had three guesses to try to figure out who the leader was! If they guessed correctly, the whole class celebrated! (“Yayyy!!!”) The leader would then go out in the hallway and become the guesser.

Another favorite activity (for later in the year) was the human knot. This is a popular camp game that we played often in quarter three and four. Here’s how to play:

1. Have all of your students stand in a circle, facing inward.
2. Tell everyone to reach their right arm towards the center and grab someone else’s hand. Make sure no one grabs the hand of the person right next to them.
3. Next, have everyone reach their left arm in and grab someone else’s hand. Again, make sure it’s not the person right next to them.
4. Now, the fun begins! The kids need to work together to untangle the human knot without letting go of any hands. The goal is to end up in a perfect circle again. They can go over or under each other’s arms, or through legs if needed! Encourage them to do whatever they want, as long as they don’t break the chain in the process.

Another fun team building games is Mingle and Count. You can watch this video to see how it works. I LOVE this video and game! https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/mingle-count-a-game-of-number-sense (This is a great game to teach before you play the ants go marching game.)

Conclusion

The activity is such a FUN and important part of our morning meeting and I hope that this list gives you some new ideas that you can add to your repertoire! Please remember, that like all things, modeling is essential to the success of your activities. I start off very slowly with a few familiar songs. We model how we move safely through the circle, how to keep our bodies in control, and how to make everyone feel included. Another important point that I stress in my class is that we are now a family and we take care of one another. We talk about what to do if someone makes a mistake and how we can be a helper. On the first day of school, I tend to start off with “Simon Says” because everyone knows how to play that game. It is also an easy activity to “calm down.” (Typically my last “Simon Says” is “Simon says sit down.”)

Here is a freebie for you! Click on the image to download a printout of these ideas. You can place them on a binder ring to have a quick reminder of the activities!

Morning Meeting Activities.001

Do you have a favorite activity that you use in your classroom? Comment below!!

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8 Comments
  1. Barbro -

    HI Kristen, What book are you referring to at the top of your post? Thanks, Barbro

  2. THANKS! I love having a morning meeting, but as you mentioned the activity was hard for me! I love these ideas. They are perfect for Kindergarten and add a lot of components of content that can reinforce those ideas! Love your blog. So happy to have this right before school starts.

  3. I like your ideas; thanks for sharing. I also have my children greet each other during circle time. We reflected on the fact that everybody deserves a greeting. If they greet their teachers, why not their friends? We agreed on greeting each other. It is part of our routine and they love it! They feel important :) I am happy to try your ideas.

    • Rossy!! Yes! That is part of the morning meeting! First we greet, then we share, then comes the activity, and last we read the morning message! I love having students greet one another!

  4. I love this post! Some great ideas and really has me excited to use some of these activities this new school year. Thank you!

  5. I love this post! I am excited to use these ideas with my students during this new school year. Thank you!!

  6. anne -

    Thank you for sharing some of your activities! I will have to add these to the mix! One of the songs that we do at the start of the year is Color Farm by Dr. Jean. We sing along, clap and use the color words/pictures on the wall. As a fun following directions/reward they LOVE Bear Hunt by the Learning Station! I pull it up on the Smartboard and I have to say that it is their favorite!

8 Comments

  • Barbro -

    HI Kristen, What book are you referring to at the top of your post? Thanks, Barbro

  • THANKS! I love having a morning meeting, but as you mentioned the activity was hard for me! I love these ideas. They are perfect for Kindergarten and add a lot of components of content that can reinforce those ideas! Love your blog. So happy to have this right before school starts.

  • I like your ideas; thanks for sharing. I also have my children greet each other during circle time. We reflected on the fact that everybody deserves a greeting. If they greet their teachers, why not their friends? We agreed on greeting each other. It is part of our routine and they love it! They feel important :) I am happy to try your ideas.

    • Rossy!! Yes! That is part of the morning meeting! First we greet, then we share, then comes the activity, and last we read the morning message! I love having students greet one another!

  • I love this post! Some great ideas and really has me excited to use some of these activities this new school year. Thank you!

  • I love this post! I am excited to use these ideas with my students during this new school year. Thank you!!

  • anne -

    Thank you for sharing some of your activities! I will have to add these to the mix! One of the songs that we do at the start of the year is Color Farm by Dr. Jean. We sing along, clap and use the color words/pictures on the wall. As a fun following directions/reward they LOVE Bear Hunt by the Learning Station! I pull it up on the Smartboard and I have to say that it is their favorite!

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