Morning meeting, circle time, advisory period – the first few minutes after the bell rings may vary in title, but generally serve the same purpose: starting the day off on the right foot.

Preschoolers often enjoy circle time as an opportunity to gather, review the date and weather, sing a song, or share a story. As they get older, many elementary teachers follow Responsive Classroom’s Morning Meeting framework: greeting, sharing, activity, and message. Eventually, this time traditionally turns into an advisory period where students review the schedule, make a to do list, or seek assistance. Consider this: when a business meeting starts, do executives jump right into an uncomfortable topic? More often than not, presenters greet their audience, outline the agenda, then proceed with details. This format allows us to become comfortable, prepared, and engaged, and teaches kids social-emotional learning.

It’s not uncommon for today’s parents to find themselves working from home while trying to help teach multiple children at different grade levels. To maintain the chaos, consider implementing 10 minute morning meetings at home.

For littles:

  1. Engage in a mindful minute to create a relaxing atmosphere. This can include simple breathing exercises, easy yoga stretches, or guided meditation through the Calm app.
  2. Sing a ‘good morning’ song to signal to young children that the day is starting.
  3. Change the date and weather on the Calendar & Weather Pocket Chart or Magnetic Learning Calendar.

Set check-in times and discuss the big picture. Rather than reviewing every little detail of the day ahead, give children times to look forward to by using Tock the Learning Clock. For example, “At 12:00, when both hands are on the number 12, we’ll make slime with the Yuckology! Slime Lab.” 

For big kids:

  1. Begin with a check-in to see how kids are feeling. Too early to chat? Try learning how to say ‘hello’ in a new language each week. 
  2. Set goals. Ask what children want and need to accomplish. The benefit is two-fold: motivation is heightened by offering a choice, and prioritizing is learned by distinguishing between wants and needs. 
  3. Make a game plan. This can be in the form of a schedule, a to do list, or another organizational strategy. A visual reminder can be extra helpful for students.
  4. End on a positive note. Wish children luck, share a motivating clip, tell a funny joke, or give them a hug – all which remind kids that adults are here to help.

Morning meetings are short and sweet, ensuring a fresh start each day. Flexibility can be essential to moving the day along, and morning meetings don’t need to follow a strict formula to be effective. Have a child who needs to get the wiggles out before sitting down for an art project? Add in a quick, interactive game like Simon Says. Does your 2nd grader love to use the iPad? Use the Reminders app to set alerts. Adjust to best fit your family’s needs.