Virtual Morning Meetings
Updated: Mar 15, 2021
Morning meetings are the keystone of running a successful classroom rather it be virtual or face-to-face. In my opinion, the connection between student and teacher is the number one key to being a successful teacher, and morning meetings are an important part of this connection. When I forget that, I remember Rita Pierson's words "Kids don't learn from people they don't like.'" When I was a first-year teacher, I had no idea the power of a morning meeting. Morning meetings build connections between students and teachers. They are a way to get to know each other, to let guards down, and to realize that we all have something in common. While a morning meeting can take place at any time of the day, I choose to do mine first thing because it sets the tone for the day and creates a positive and welcoming environment.
Can morning meetings be done virtually? Yes, of course, they can! My morning meetings consist of a few different parts and do not necessarily follow the traditional morning meeting script. As we begin the day, I share two different links. A link to their morning check-in and a link to their Padlet. I post these early to give everyone plenty of time to gather their thoughts. This ensures I have plenty of responses and has allowed for plenty of time for my students to reflect on the question.
Step one: Either myself or my student teacher says good morning to each of my students. When this happens kids ideally turn on their cameras and then say good morning. All students deserve to hear their names said every single day and to make a connection to their teacher. They are very good at saying good morning, but still working on turning their cameras on.
Step two: Students say good morning to at least two classmates in the chat. They usually do this with a GIF and tag them. Recently we have started to say something positive to two different classmates each day. They are told that if they are tagged in a good morning, then they must respond back.
Step three: Either myself or my student teacher will announce the morning meeting prompt and give our thoughts about it. I get most of my morning meeting prompts from a document from our district and should not share it. However, you can see some examples that I use here. Keep in mind that I teach sixth-grade, so these prompts are geared towards older elementary students. Today’s prompt will be “Share one thing you are afraid of. What scares you about it?” I know this will great conversation starter, and a way to build a community. We will ask for any volunteers to share first and then will go to breakout rooms to discuss. Generally, I have large breakout rooms so that there are at least 3 students in each room that I know will share. Depending on the day and the prompt, I will generally keep breakout rooms open for about 8 minutes, or until I see conversations dwindling.
Depending on the day and the prompt I will do a variety of things while the students are in their breakout rooms. I always do my best to check into each breakout room to see my student's thoughts and to ensure that everyone is participating. Three days a week I also have sixth-grade SDC students who come into my room for inclusion for the morning meeting. At this time, we are focusing on getting them into the class, and while my students are in their breakout rooms, I say good morning to my inclusion students and have a mini version of our morning meeting in the main classroom. Eventually, I would like my inclusion students to be a part of our breakout rooms as well, but we aren’t there quite yet.
Step four: We come back to the main class and have volunteers share their thoughts. Usually, by now we have quite a few who are willing to share either verbally or in the chatbox. After volunteers have shared, I use Class Dojo or Wheel of Names to call a couple of non-volunteers to ensure that all voices are heard.
This whole process takes around 20 minutes from start to finish, depending on the prompt we will sometimes stretch it to 25 minutes. It is a fun morning, and a great way to build a community. Different from our traditional morning meeting that is held in the classroom, but effective, nonetheless.