Morning Meeting and Calendar Activities
Morning meeting is a a wonderful way to build classroom community and teach a variety of academic and social and emotional skills. It helps set the tone for the day and creates a daily routine that provides security and comfort for the students. Morning meeting is the place where children and the teacher can share news about what's going on at home and at school. It's a place to feel safe, loved, and important.
Here is a sample routine:
Every morning have students begin their day with a special message from their teacher. Use this message to give instructions, share daily news, and to teach reading, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. There are a variety of different ways to do morning messages. I always like to have some kind of special greeting on the board for the children to see when they enter the classroom. Here is are some sample greeting:
Sample # 1:
Monday, August 14, 2006
Good morning, Smarties! Today, we will learn about why people read. What kinds of books do you like to read? Put up your lunch count and answer the daily graph. Then, you may choose a place to work.
Sample # 2
Connect yesterday's learning to today's through the use of a morning message. Encourage students to think and talk with one another about your unit of study. Afterwards, encourage further exploration through the completion of a writing prompt.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Good morning, Thoughtful Thinkers! Today we will continue reading The Garden by Arnold Loebel. What did Toad do to help his seeds grow? Do you know what plants need to grow? Write an idea below. Then, write about what your garden would like. What would you do to take care of your garden?
I use a small magnetic white board to display the daily graph. I like to link the question to one of our units of study and the morning message when possible. I use bees as a theme. Each year I purchase a bee mini-notepad. I laminate them, write the students name or number on them, and put a magnet on the back. Students can use them to answer the daily graph. I don't always do a yes or no graph. Sometimes, I will include a variety of choices. Here is an example that matches my message above:
More Sample Graphing Questions:
Back to School:
Who brought you to school today? mom, dad, both, someone else
What do you like to draw with? crayons, colored pencils, markers
What did you like best about the first day of school? meeting new friends, singing songs, reading books
If you could be an animal, what would you be? elephant, mouse, giraffe
If you were an animal, where would you like to live? in a tree, in the ocean, in a jungle
What animals noise would you like to make most? a lion's roar, an elephant's trumpet, a hyena's laugh, a monkey's screech
If you were a character in The Three Little Pigs, who would you be? pig 1, pig 2, pig 3, the wolf
If you were Goldilocks, what would you try first? the porridge, the beds, the chairs
Would you rather... climb a beanstalk, take goodies to grandma, dance with the prince
Many of these graphing questions can also be used as writing prompts. My goal is to have the kids really think before they answer. I have also had a student who was in charge of the graph. He or she would compile our results on a paper graph. Sometimes, we would use The Student's Classroom to create a computer graph!
I think it is fun to use a variety of greetings in your morning message.
Here are some fun ideas:
Top o the morning to you
Greet your students as:
Signal the Beginning of Morning Meeting
After simple housekeeping and general morning work activities, chose a signal to let students know that it is time to gather for morning meeting. You could play a song such as "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" and let the children know that by the time the song is done everyone should be sitting in the circle ready to begin. Choose a special song to use as a signal that its meeting time or sing one!
Everybody have a seat, have a seat, have a seat
Everybody have a seat on the floor
Not on the ceiling, not on the door
Everybody have a seat on the floor
Review Morning Meeting Procedures
We begin everyday by gathering on the floor in a circle. We review our morning meeting procedures.
1. Pretzel Feet and listening hands
2. Eyes Watching
3. Ears listening
Sometimes we review the procedures by singing:
Eyes are watching, Ears are listening
Body quiet, you should really try it
Listening well, Listening well.
Start the Day With a Song
We always sing good morning and seasonal songs. Seasonal songs are introduced at the beginning of a new month. Here are a few to start the day:
morning, good morning!
time to start our day!
said good morning, good morning to you! One more time!
and shine and sing out this morning, morning
up now and sing out this morning, morning
and tall now (clap) sing out this morning, morning
Happy to be here! (Mailbox Songs)
Here are some great books with seasonal songs:
Greet Your Neighbor
We greet our friends using a fun handshake. This helps promote class unity and teaches children how to greet adults with confidence. Some of our favorite handshakes come from Dr. Jean . My students also enjoy making up their own handshakes. Here are a few examples:
Lollipop Handshake: One person holds up his index finger. The other person clasps her hand around the index finger to make a ball shape and greets the friend with a "slurp, slurp" sound. (As if he or she were licking the lollipop!)
Pinky Shake: Link pinky fingers and shake!
Bunny Hop Greeting: Pretend to be a bunny and hop up and down twice to greet your partner.
Whole Group Greetings:
Hickety Pickety Bumblebee
Hickety, pickety, bumblebee, won't you say your name for me?
Let's whisper it,
Let's clap it.
Let's cheer it.
Let's wiggle it.
*Continue repeating the chant until all students have had a chance.
I pass a bumblebee puppet around the circle during this activity.
Willaby Wallby Woo
Willaby, wallaby woo, an elephant sat on you,
Willaby, wallaby we, an elephant sat on me.
Willaby, wallaby Warah, an elephant sat on Sarah
Willaby, wallaby Wohn, an elephant sat on John.
*Continue the song until all students have had a chance. I use a puppet for this activity. He loves to "learn" the students names this way.
What do you say?
We're going to have a happy day.
Greet your neighbor,
Boogie on down,
Give 'em a bump and turn around.
Get your kids ready to meet the day with a fun movement activity. I use a lot of CDs to get my kids singing, moving, and learning. Here are some of our favorite artists and a favorite song or two:
This is a picture of my calendar board from 2004-2005. As you can see my job board is located next to our calendar board. At the beginning of each week, I assign new jobs. Every student has a special job for the week. Each year I change my jobs up a little bit to meet the needs of each individual class. At the beginning of school we spend a week learning about all the different classroom jobs and we assess needs we have in our classroom as the year goes on.
Here are a list of jobs I have used in my classroom:
Primary Literacy Centers suggests having a job center in the classroom. Post job descriptions and include applications. Students can practice writing in complete sentences while highlighting their strengths for a particular classroom job. The book suggests doing it every week. However, I think this would be way to much trouble. I am considering doing it once a month this year. I think it would be fun and help the children develop ownership of the classroom and help teach responsibility. It would also quickly highlight jobs that the students don't like! Be sure and check out their newest book More Primary Literacy Centers!
Here is a picture of my calendar board from 2007.
The calendar helper helps us learn the date and count the number of days we have been in school. Our calendar helper adds the next date to the calendar and tells us what the date is: “Today is (day), (month and date), (year)!” Then, he or she will add a popsicle stick to the appropriate bag to help us count the number of days we have been in school. The calendar helper also asks a calendar question. You might want to put some sample calendar questions in a can near the calendar. Here are some sample questions:
Next, the helper adds a tally mark on “The Tally Marks” notepad to count the number of days we have come to school in the month of ________ (current month).
The calendar has a pink piggy bank that has been laminated and displayed on the board. The teacher will add large laminated coins to the piggy bank to make the same amount as the date. For example, October 4 would have 4 pennies, the 5th would be a nickel, the 10th would be a dime and so forth.
Days of the Week
Across the top of the calendar are a line of seven multi-colored ants. Each one has a day of the week written on the back. We also have three small paper plates labeled:
Tomorrow will be
The students will share which ants to turn over and where to place the plates so that we can read Yesterday was _________. Today is __________. Tomorrow will be ____________.
We sing a variety of days of the week songs:
There are seven days, there are seven days
There are seven days in a week. (repeat)
Thursday, Friday, Saturday (repeat)
The Days of The Week (Adam's Family Tune)
The days of the week, snap, snap
The days of the week snap, snap,
The days, of the week, the days of the week, the days of the week.
There's Sunday and Monday
Tuesday and Wednesday
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
The days of the week.
We also review the months of the year by chanting and clapping the months and by reciting the traditional poem:
Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November
All the rest have thirty-one, except for February alone
And it has twenty-eight days clear
And twenty-nine in each leap year.
Students sing the following song while the student who is the
weather watcher looks out the window and decides what the weather is like
Weather watcher, weather watcher
do you see? What do you see?
us what the weather’s like Tell us what the weather’s like
you please? Won’t you please?
What's the Weather?
What's the weather, what's the weather,
What's the weather like today, tell us __________
What's the weather, what's the weather like today.
Is it sunny, is it cloudy, is it rainy out today
Is it windy, is it snowy
What's the weather like today.
The student helper will tell us what the weather is like and show it on a weather wheel. Then, he or she will add a weather word and a weather picture to complete the weather following weather question:
What is the weather today?
The weather is _____________.
Finally, the student will record the daily weather on a bar graph.
On this section of the board are two
library book pockets filled with number cards. One is labeled boys
and the other is labeled girls. There is also a laminated sentence
strip and a visa-V marker for writing number sentences. The
student who takes the attendance will count the number of girls and number
of boys present, select the numeral or number word for the pocket, and
dictate the correct number sentence (6+7=13).
We will write additional number sentences that show the same amount as
well as a subtraction sentence to show who is missing.
How many girl are here today, how many girls are here today
Count them, count them, if you may
How many girls are here today.
Girls sit down and boys stand up, girls sit down and boys stand up
How many boys are here today, count them, count them if you may
How many boys are here
The student helper will direct the class by saying:
Pledge. I pledge allegiance to the flag...
One section of the calendar has a happy birthday banner. Each month a new birthday cake is displayed. Candles are placed on the cake for children celebrating birthdays during that month.
A tooth graph is displayed on the calendar board year round. When a child looses a tooth, a tooth is colored in on our graph.
Sitting near our calendar is a clear plastic jar. Each week it is filled with something new to be estimated. A picture of a large laminated jar is posted on our calendar board. Throughout the week, children may post one estimate on the calendar using a post it note. At the end of the week, we count what was in the jar and the child with the closest estimate gets to take home the jar to fill it with something new to estimate.
I always post a lunch menu on the calendar and invite a student to read it daily. It is a great way to show children a purpose for reading and answers the question "What's for lunch today, Mrs. McDowell?"
Count Down Chart
We have a laminated "Count Down Chart" on our calendar board. We use it to count down the number of days until a field trip, a birthday, a special holiday, or a special event. Make it easy by attaching a sticky hook to the chart and then you can simply hang laminated numbers on the hook. Much easier than post it notes!
During our calendar time, we take time to record daily news which is displayed above each day of the week. We will also take time to sing songs, do movement activities, exercise by counting by 2's, 5's, 10's, or play a simple language or math game. We conclude our session by visiting The Buzz Book. Learn more about how to create your own Buzz Book from The KCrew
This past year I added a domino to the board to review fact families. I would invite 2 students to come up and write addition equations and 2 students to come up and write subtraction sentences. It was a great way to review fact families. Occasionally, I would pull out playing cards and use them to review fact families also.
We review the seven continents by chanting the following poem:
To learn the seven continents, think of the letter A
And when you are down to only one, an E will save the day!
There's Africa, Antartica, Australia, Asia, too.
The oceans run between them with their waters deep and blue.
There are also two Americas, North and South you see,
And now we're coming to the end and Europe starts with E!
Download a version of this poem for student poetry journals: The 7 Continents
We talk about what continent, country, state, and city we live in. Here is a song I wrote to learn more about North America!
Words by Julie Anne McDowell
Tune: O, Christmas Tree
O, Canada, O Canada
You are the country North of us.
O, Mexico, O Mexico,
You are the country South of us.
And finally the USA
It is the place we are today
The USA, the USA
It is the place we love to stay!
We also review who the president is and where he lives. Occasionally, we will review Texas facts.
The idea for using calendar binders was shared on a mail ring for kindergarten and first grade teachers. I loved the idea and adopted it into my classroom! Calendar binders are a great way to reinforce and assess the skills practiced during your calendar routine. It provides quick feedback about what students are learning and the binders can be customized to your students' needs.
Looking for a new way to update your daily weather graph? Visit Primary Concepts. They have a great weather set that includes stamps and special calendars for recording the daily weather!
Many of my ideas came from The Calendar and Beyond. It is a wonderful teacher resource book that has lots of reproducible monthly poems, songs, and calendar activities. Since it is becoming more difficult to find, I have listed a number of other wonderful resources that you can purchase from Amazon!
Looking for some books that will help you set up classroom routines and help setup a well managed and efficient classroom? Check out these books! New teachers will greatly benefit from The First Six Weeks of School. It provides practical and applicable advice that helps teachers set up a classroom that will run efficiently for the whole year. Looking to learn more about developmental milestones? Read Yardsticks by Chip Wood. Having trouble setting up your classroom? Order Classroom Spaces That Work or check out Spaces and Places, Debbie Diller's newest book just published in June 2008!
Morning Meeting Links:
Last updated 7/7/08