Don’t ya just love some great alliteration! I sure do, clearly! While titling the blog was fun, truly digging into the content of it has been even better. I won’t lie, I have been trying to nail this down for weeks. To backtrack a bit, lets start from the beginning. This spring I started talking with another teacher in my school about culturally responsive classrooms. At that time I was planning a move from my technology specialist role, back to my love, teaching 3rd grade. Our discussions made me dig deeper and take time to look into what might be relevant in my #JVand3rd classroom this fall. In no time at all, I fell in love with the idea of morning meetings and closing circles. Herein lies the planning vision of the past weeks!
Let’s start with morning meeting. It is designed to build a strong classroom culture, social emotional skills, teamwork, and communication. It rides on basic expectations and can be set up in a variety of different ways. It teaches kids (and adults) to have eye contact, to give speakers their true attention, and to engage in 15 or 20 minutes of becoming a stronger team. Here is my 5 step plan.
- Greeting – Students greet one another in a variety of ways. I watched a great video on Twitter of a hand stack greeting, and there are tons more on You Tube! What an amazing way to make every child in your class engaged from the start of the day. How many kids come into classrooms and don’t feel like others see them, or don’t feel like they are a part of the group. Why not eliminate that in your morning meeting?
- Skill- Our meeting will have us circled up on my carpet, and of course kids will find their friends to sit by. This second part will mix them up. Using index cards I will choose an academic skill and put the individual parts on a index card. Every student will get one card, and then they need to find their partners. Say students have the following cards:
You can probably see we would be reviewing place value and expanded form. The kids with these cards would need to find each other, then share something with one another. I may just have them share their favorites in week one. It will help them learn more about each other. Then those kids will sit down together for the rest of the meeting. I can switch up the skill and the share every day!
3. Team Builder – I saw a few neat ideas here.. puzzles they must work together to put together, class jenga, kerplunk.. so many choices. What a great way to teach cooperation, as well as supporting all members of them team, especially when your tower falls!
4. Share – Each day up to 5 kids will know in advance it is their day to share. It can be anything they want us to know about them. This is going to help us learn so much about each other, and give all kids a voice! This won’t be a show and tell… they won’t bring anything to morning meeting, rather they will learn to share from the heart. Sure they can tell us about their soccer accomplishment, but it won’t be about a trophy, it will be about THEM!
5. Day Preview/ SeeSaw Review – As we wrap up, I will give us a view of the day. Knowing what is coming takes so much pressure off the day. It will also be the time we review our learning challenge replies on SeeSaw. In lieu of homework, we will have weekly learning challenges. That blog is to come. I will share what we will be doing over traditional homework, and WHY checking in each day on Seesaw matters! Hope that is a sweet little teaser for ya!
Lastly – Closing circle… the last 10 or 15 minutes before dismissal we will wrap up the day. We will share victories, set new goals for the day to come, and who knows… let’s just say I still have some planning to do there. What I do know for sure is this.. it is going to be our SHAKE IT OFF time. If you had some struggles in that day… shake them OFF. Tomorrow is a fresh start! These are what I hope will be the keys to building a classroom where instruction isn’t interrupted, rather it is fostered by our teamwork and culture!