Morning Meetings: Creating a Safe Space for Learning

Morning Meetings: Creating a Safe Space for Learning

November 16, 2019 12 By Stanley Isaacs


>>Alli: Anybody want to share
about how they’re feeling today? Evan, how are you feeling?>>Evan: Hungry!>>Alli: You’re feeling hungry. Big surprise, right? Owen, how are you feeling today?>>Owen: I’m feeling sleepy,
excited and fine.>>Alli: Wow, you’re feeling
lots of emotions today. And finally, Chloe.>>Definitely noticed a change
in some of my shyer students. At the beginning of the
year they’re really kind of clammed up, and they’re nervous. But then as the year
progresses, they really open up and feel comfortable sharing
things about their family or things that might not be so
comfortable to share. And we become a support
system for each other.>>No matter what kind of morning they
had at home, they’re going to come into my classroom, they’re going to sit
in a circle and be with their friends. Just having that kind of clear structure
and expectation just puts them at ease.>>And I hope you have a great time.>>Thank you.>>Alli: In order to get any kid to
learn, they really have to feel safe. They have to feel respected. Without that, you’re not going
to accomplish much academically.>>The greeting part of Morning
Meeting, it really changes day-to-day. Sometimes we’ll do a Mingle Greeting.>>So today I’m going
to hand you one card. And your job is to try
to find your match. You want to find the person who has the
improper fraction to match your model, or if you have a model, you
want to try to find the person that has the matching improper fraction. You’re going to make eye contact. Give them a little fist
bump to say “Good morning.” And the question I want you to ask
today is just, “How are you feeling?” Mingle.>>How are you feeling?>>Okay.>>How are you feeling?>>Okay, thanks.>>Alli: The more that you
can make the behavioral stuff for your entire classroom, instead
of just focusing on individual kids, it really helps those
kids not feel so isolated, for things that they’re
trying to work on.>>Today is?>>Students: Wednesday!>>Alli: And then I typically
move into Calendar. That’s where I really get a chance
to go over their day with them, so they know what to expect. They don’t have to be on their toes. And then we move into sharing.>>Student: This is a very special
fan, and I can really do this. You can pick up the–>>Alli: Some parts of Morning Meeting
may be longer in certain grade levels, but every Morning Meeting really
has the same structure to it.>>Good morning, Harrison.>>Good morning, Elliot.>>Hope you have an amazing day.>>Thank you, you, too.>>I hope you have a stellar day.>>Good morning, Jason.>>Good morning, Mia.>>Hope you have an extraordinary day.>>Hope you have a great day.>>Thanks, you, too.>>Gretchen: A lot of times, we’ll
include some sort of a question with our greeting, and so the kids
are sharing a piece of themselves. They want to be heard.>>They want to be heard. They want to be seen. They want to make those
connections with each other.>>Student: If you could go
to any State in the U.S., which State would you go to?>>Student: Probably Alaska, ’cause
they have a lot of cool fish there.>>Harrison: I would probably go
to Hawaii, because I like flowers.>>Alli: And then finally, and
probably the most famous part of Morning Meeting, is the activity. We tend to work a lot on teamwork.>>It’s important that we
always know how to be kind to each other, how to work together. We’re going to try our best
to work together as a team, so that we can maybe
exceed our goal of 19.>>In the teacher role, you’re also
making sure that the kids understand, if the tower falls, how can we support
the person who’s putting that block on?>>Nineteen blocks! Excellent! [ cheering ]>>Alli: This is a safe zone…>>Audience is nice and quiet.>>…If the blocks fall, life
will go on, we will be okay.>>Students: Ohhhhh!>>Alli: Oh, that’s okay. That’s okay! [ applause ]>>Give her a hand. That was awesome.>>Gretchen: We try to include
some leadership activities and group challenges
with the 5th graders. So we try to raise it up a level, to think about how are they
communicating with each other? How are they solving
problems as a group?>>With Group Juggle, we’re
trying to safely get our birds to each other, and not touch the ground. What’s your strategy, Mia?>>Mia: Sometimes if you say their
name, it helps them to join in a little if you’re about to throw to them.>>Gretchen: And Calvin,
what do you think?>>Calvin: If somebody
misses, don’t start laughing, because it kind of gets
you all wound up.>>Gretchen: All right, here we go.>>It builds as they get older and
older, they’re more comfortable with it. It helps them with public speaking. They’re not stressed out
about sharing their ideas when they’re right here
in the classroom.>>Alli: I love it. I can see right away by
looking around my circle who’s in a good space, who’s not. So I really use that information to
help with the kids be ready to learn.>>Gretchen: We hold each
other accountable. If I’m going to listen to what
you’re sharing in the morning, you’re going to listen
to what I’m sharing. We’re going to do it in a
respectful way and a caring way. And that respect carries
out throughout the school, and also out onto the playground. And ideally, out into their community.