Morning Meeting is an ESSENTIAL part of your day in a self contained classroom. Read on to find out why we do morning meeting, some tips for routine, and how to differentiate on the spot for all learners.
Why should you do morning meeting?
Morning meeting is essential for self contained classrooms. Why? Because of the repetition of skills each day and the functional material that is most often included in a morning meeting.
Repeating the same skills over and over each day for 180 days is exactly what some of our students need to be successful… not only to learn just those skills, but also to increase their confidence and independence in the task! There are SO many skills covered during morning meeting but building student independence and confidence is always number one. Another HUGE plus is when you do something the same way each day it becomes predictable for students… this allows them to have some control over one part of their schedule each day, which is actually calming to a lot of students.
What skills are covered?
Yes, morning meeting covers the basics like the date, weather, temperature, colors, classmates, feelings, etc. BUT the real curriculum is not what is on the surface. Answering questions, how to look for answers, social interactions, communication, routine, independence, confidence, and math are all skills that are hidden during morning meeting but very much important!
How do you start a morning meeting routine?
It is super simple to start a morning meeting routine. My new real picture morning meeting set comes with a variety of materials and skills to target during your meeting that you can pick and choose from. You can start small with 1-3 skills and add on…. OR start big and never change the routine all year- this is up to you! The only thing I suggest is to start one!
How do you differentiate?
There are a variety of leveled materials for each skill included in my real picture morning meeting set, so make sure to choose what works best for the majority of the class for the whole group portion, then follow up with a morning meeting book or worksheet that meets each students needs individually.
You can easily differentiate on the go… allowing one student to answer verbally, the next using a device, the next using a communication book, and the last using velcro pieces… this is completely doable for a morning meeting- you just need the right materials to get started!
What if I don’t have time in the morning?
Although it is labeled morning meeting, or circle time sometimes in younger grades… you can do this meeting whenever you are able to have all students together on your schedule!
How long should the meeting be?
This totally depends on the needs of your students, but personally I am not a fan of a long meeting. Students can only sit and listen for a maximum of ten minutes- so I wouldn’t go longer than that.
Why real pictures?
I started creating real picture resources when I saw that students were not able to match line drawings to the real thing. So essentially, they were stuck inside a world of line drawings but could not generalize their skills to the real world. I have created a variety of real picture resources to fill that need but I do feel that morning meeting is the most important one of all. Why? Because of the life skills topics covered during a morning meeting.
What is your suggested routine?
I’ll share a sample routine with you below!
First students will choose a way to greet the teacher and one another using real picture examples.
Then, check in and determine who is in school and who is at home that day.
Next, complete the date!
Then the weather, season, and temperature.
Then, move to personal questions, like emotions, how you get to school, and colors.
I also included some fun extras like choose a song, choose a book, and choose an exercise. You can choose if these fit your class or not.
I also suggest a fun skill for color of the day. Have each student find something in the room of the color and bring it to the front of the room.
During the meeting, to keep little hands busy and little minds engaged you can have students following along completing a dry erase or velcro morning meeting book.
And after the meeting have students complete leveled worksheets to check for understanding. I suggest laminating and using dry erase on these to save ink, paper, and time prepping! You can use them all year long.
Once you have your morning meeting routine prepped, you essentially do not have to worry about it all year long. It’s one part of your day that should generally stay the same and require no prep from you which is awesome for the teacher! The skills, confidence, and independence the students are learning is amazing! I highly suggest introducing a structured morning meeting to your day!
You can grab Morning Meeting Real Pictures here.
I am a MS Life Skills teacher and have been teaching 32 years and morning meeting which I call team meeting. We do.the basic calendar skills as well as what day we are in school and how ma y days until.Day 100 and then Summer vacation (which they figure out) as well as how many days until certain activities. We count by 10’s and 5’s using tally Mark’s and the ten frames for days we have been in school. We also graph weather and find it on the weather channel app. We count bills and coins for the number of days we r in school which teaches skip counting and trading up (ie 5 pennies =a nickel). We also graph the PA football, hockey and baseball team wins and losses. At the end we go.over who has therapy, calendar activities and specials for today. I then go over our schedule of what we r doing today. Sounds like a lot but I can get a lot of this done in 20 mins. I strongly agree that having this meeting is huge and it teaches listening and large group social skills.
In September, I will be embarking on my first year as a teacher in a self contained class. It is a junior/intermediate class. I’ve noticed the self contained class you teach is primary-aged. Would you still recommend a morning meeting with older students?
Absolutely! Morning meeting is the perfect way to start the day for all ages. I especially recommend real pictures for that age group.