Getting Started with Morning Meetings in Upper Elementary Classrooms

 Getting Started with Morning Meetings in Upper Elementary Classrooms

I love holding morning meetings!

Yes, even with my upper elementary students!

Holding morning meetings is NOT just for the primary classrooms.

There is so much goodness that comes out of morning meeting time that I believe one can be held in any grade level to help build a strong and positive classroom environment.

I did not always feel that way.

I used to think that morning meetings were just another thing to try to fit in that seemed to take up a lot of my classroom time and go on and on and on...especially if we got off topic.

I knew that if I wanted to bring value and build a positive classroom community, I needed to make the most of the morning meeting time that I had with my students and make sure that it was not just a "catch-all" type of meeting where we went over classroom housekeeping type of information.  

So I got focused and purposeful!

I came up with a daily schedule of activities that was focused on meaningful quotes to address important social-emotional learning areas and topics that would help me create a positive classroom environment while building our classroom community each morning.

When I had a structure in place, I no longer dreaded morning meetings. Instead, I watched these benefits unfold in my classroom community:

  • our day started off calm and focused
  • our classroom environment became positive and kind
  • students felt valued and that their voice was important and heard
  • students appreciated and looked forward to collaboration and discussion time with their peers
  • our classroom community became stronger than ever

Sounds awesome, right?

I often get asked questions about how I run my morning meeting and the amount of planning that it takes to get one started. I have compiled the most frequently asked questions that I receive about morning meetings and have answered them here! Read on to find out more about what morning meeting time looks like in my upper elementary classroom.

morningmeeting daily activity

Getting Started with Morning Meeting

👉 What are the components of a morning meeting?

Based on the Responsive Classroom, morning meetings are a time for the teacher and students to gather in a meeting area, usually first thing in the morning, to spend time together touching on these four components each day:

  • Greeting: welcome and greet each other by name
  • Sharing: a conversation that develops around important information and events that are shared
  • A focused activity: a quick activity that builds community and includes everyone
  • Morning Message: a teacher note about the day

👉 Why should you hold a morning meeting?

There are many benefits to holding a morning meeting. It is a great way to build community, ease into the day, welcome students, and create a safe and nurturing environment where all students feel comfortable taking risks and feel included in the community.

With the right kind of focus, it is also a great way to help your students manage their feelings and emotions and bring social-emotional learning into the classroom in natural ways.

👉 What is your morning meeting routine?

Our morning routine begins right after the school morning announcements. As soon as those end, students walk to the reading corner where we hold our meeting each day. Students settle into a circle where they sit next to someone new each week.

We start with a simple, respectful greeting that includes students turning, shaking hands, and making eye contact with their classmates as they say, "Good morning _____." Then that student turns to their left and repeats that to the classmate sitting next to them.

As the year goes on, we use other phrases such as, "Hi, how are you_____" It is nice to see you ____, good morning" and any variation of phrases such as those, as long as the student name is included and they make eye contact.

Following the greeting, we say a class pledge, and I share important news or events that the children must know about related to our day and our school. One student then shares something and the rest of the class is responsible for listening, responding, and asking questions. We also alternate student shares with book shares once a week that students sign up to do in advance. Doing this is a great way to bring content areas into the morning meeting time.

Our activity focuses on discussions and tasks related to motivational quotes. I have found that by using quotes we have a focus, it is easy to include social-emotional learning into our daily routine, and students are given the opportunity to reflect on how words of wisdom can be applied to their own lives. We focus on quotes on the same topic for a few weeks before moving on to a new theme or topic. 

Here are the 6 themes we focus on throughout the year:

  • Community Building
  • Friendship
  • Kindness
  • Learning Strategies/Education
  • Work Ethic
  • Motivation and Inspiration

morning meeting weekly quotes

Here are the activities that I do:

morning meeting daily activity

Grab a FREE morning meeting starter kit to try out some of these activities in your upper elementary classroom!

👉 How do you start a morning meeting?

Morning meetings begin with a greeting where each student has a chance to greet another student by name and they get greeted by name. I keep my greetings simple. I have found that the simple greetings we do in class truly carry over to interacting with others outside of the classroom. I see my students greet other students at the school, teachers, and parents with the same warm welcome we do during morning meetings, which always makes my teacher heart happy!

However, there is no right or wrong way to have a greeting each day as long as student names are used. I have seen many teachers get creative with high fives, fist pumps, and elbow taps. Whatever works with your classroom environment, use!

👉 How long does it take for students to understand the routine?

It does not take long for students to learn the routine as long as you are consistent! We start school at the end of August and by the beginning of October, our morning meetings are quick and effective! At the start of the year I set aside about 20 minutes for morning meetings, but once October comes, we usually get it done within 15 minutes. However, the day we read a picture book is the one day a week where the meeting tends to run longer. This is perfectly fine because the book shared is always repurposed later in the day or week for reading and writing lessons.

👉 What is your best tip for running smooth morning meetings?

Keep it manageable! Plan and organize what you think you can accomplish. Don't go overboard or you will find that you will be cutting morning meetings out of your day.

morning meeting set up bulletin board and read aloud

The more structured your morning meeting time is, the less time it takes and the bigger impact it will have on your students and your classroom community. If you want to rev up your morning meeting time this school year, this structure will definitely help you save time planning, get organized, make a difference, and look forward to this important time of the morning each day. 

Get started with focused morning meetings today with the resources HERE.

morning meeting group activities for the week

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Getting Started with Morning Meetings in Upper Elementary Classrooms

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