One of the easiest ways to build a positive classroom community is by planning morning meeting activities that are fun, engaging, build rapport, character and work in math and literacy activities to help meet standards. Morning meeting activities allow us to make connections with our students and our students make connections with each other! While going through your morning routine the goal is that your students each feel valued and respected. It will only take 10-15 minutes but ideally setting aside 20 minutes is perfect for your morning meeting. With careful planning, I promise you it will be a time that everyone looks forward to.
Classroom Arrival Procedures
In kindergarten kids need a lot of visuals so that they know what is happening and what needs to happen. When you pair visuals with a lot of modeling you have the recipe for success. Establishing these routines and procedures early in the year is important. A good arrival procedure for students can look like 1) Enter the room – it is best if you can stand at the door each morning to greet your little ones upon entering 2) Hang your bag and coat, 3) Hand-in your folder & sign in, 4) Complete the lunch procedure of choosing your meal, 5) go to your seat and start your good morning work.
Signaling Morning Meeting will Begin
Signalling the start of morning meeting activities is a personal decision. You can either play a song or you can sing a song.
Sing to the tune of Frere Jacque:
Morning meeting, morning meeting
will begin, right now.
Come and take a seat, at the carpet,
Next to me – Let’s begin.
Morning Music & Movement
Once your students have had the signal to come to carpet – it is a fun time to get some energy in the room with music and movement. I like to choose songs that are either a good morning song, a character building song, sometimes a song that helps with math / literacy, or songs that are holiday themed. Keeping the same song consistent for one week allows the children to really learn the song and internalize it – makes it a lot more fun too when you finally get the lyrics!
I believe the greeting is an important part of morning meeting because it is a time for each child to be acknowledged. I would start with one greeting and use that one till the children are comfortable with it. Then you can teach a different one. Once you have a couple mastered you can mix them up. After your music and movement portion is completed, say: “Good morning, everyone.” Prompt them to say good morning. “Now we will start our Morning Meeting – we always start our morning meeting with a greeting!” Later on you can ask them “What time is it?” They will say “Morning Meeting!” and then you can ask them “How do we start our Morning Meeting?” and they will say “with a GREETING.” – Great way to add some rhyming in! “Meeting & Greeting – Rhyme!”
Morning Meeting Greeting Activity “Around the World Hello”
Choose a language and learn how to say hello in that language. Teach it to your students. Then they will say it to their neighbor, then that person says it to their neighbor and go around till the circle is finished.
Morning Meeting Greeting Activity “Butterfly Greeting”
After the greeting, you will do a group activity. There are so many activities you can think up – you can play a quick phonemic awareness game, you can do an “I have – who has” card game, you can take a survey and do a four corners activity where students will choose a choice and go to a corner of the room. One of many favorites are clapping games – this site has a ton to check out! If you do a clapping game, a good way to set it up is to have the group split into 2 equal circles. One circle stays put while the other circle will move after doing the clap with one person to the next person. A favorite of many kids is DOUBLE DOUBLE THIS THIS DOUBLE DOUBLE THAT THAT. Giving everyone a chance to do a clap with the person on the outside circle. The group activity is really endless and up to your own imagination and what your student needs are.
When setting up your classroom, I suggest that you have your calendar in the same area as your morning meeting and think about including it in your morning meeting routine. It is unbelievable how many standards your calendar routine can address. In the beginning of the year, you will complete all calendar tasks together, such as the month, day of the week, year, season, and weather, etc. As the year progresses, students gradually take parts of calendar time over until they finally complete it independently. I will complete a separate blog post on my suggested calendar routine later. It really covers lots of components and I love it.
The purpose of morning message is to give students an overview of what will happen that day – basically highlights so they know what special events, special activities, etc will be happening. My digital morning meeting has a template for you to fill all of your morning messages in saving you time and it also helps to guide your morning meeting so that it is seamless.
Literacy & Math Activity
Using your standards and curriculum map, map out what skills you want to focus on throughout the year and add these to your morning routine. I recommend creating a PowerPoint to keep track of your morning routine. Each day before doing the literacy activity, we will go through our linking chart routine. Here is my breakdown for kindergarten skills for the year:
Brainstorming words that start with letter
More or Less
Make an equal group
sounding out words
Counting backwards from 10
Tracing sight words in the air
Count and write the number
Sounding out words using beginning, middle, end
Fix the sentence (conventions)
Plus / Minus 10
Counting Base 10 Blocks
Opposites / Antonyms
Sums of 10
Write a sentence
What comes before/after a number
Correct the sentence
What set has more
Choose the noun
Count how many
Making nouns plural
Follow the Math Rule
b, d, p, q differentiating these difficult letters
Count the money
Unscramble the sentence
Break up the clovers
Less than Greater than
Choose the picture
Think & Share
Each day it is also important to get your students thinking about parts of their life and coming up with various answers and forming opinions. You can do this by having a daily Think & Share. During a Think & Share they will be encouraged to think out of the box. The procedure for this portion of your morning meeting activity is having 2 students face each other knee to knee and using their talking and listening skills to answer the daily prompt.
Morning meeting is an important component of community building and showing each student that they are wanted, they matter and what they say and think is valuable. I can’t begin to express how important it is and I really hope that this blog post gave you some tips on how you can put together valuable morning meeting activities. If you would like to run morning meetings that already have prepared templates, curated music and movement, daily oral language prompts, daily math and literacy activities and morning work, please check out my Morning Meeting Bundle for Kindergarten.