Circle Time, The Morning Meeting and Circle of Power
Many classrooms begin their day with some kind of classwide meeting time. Beginning the day with a meeting can do wonders for building a strong classroom community. For younger students, you might want to call the meeting “Circle Time” or “Morning Meeting,” and for older students you may want to call it “Advisory Group” or “Circle of Power.” Whatever the name may be, the idea remains the same…build community through routines, discussions and sharing daily classroom news. Depending on the age of the students, the meeting routines will look different. Here are some ideas for activities to include in your meeting time. Remember, meeting can be a time to build academic, social and behavioral skills amongst students in the classroom.
***Families: You can and should incorporate some kind of meeting time in your home as well. Yours could be in the morning or in the evening but it is important to have a designated time to discuss your child’s day. You can use some of the routines below in your home as well. For example, perhaps you are charting the amount of days that your child has been in school – or maybe you are counting books that your child has read using coins. Maybe you have a teenager and each day you swap news articles and share about something that interests you. Whatever routines you choose, stick to them and make them meaningful!
- Greeting – A time for students and staff to greet each other (this can build social skills)
- Morning Message – A message for students (see some samples below)
- Word Wall Words – Introduce new vocabulary and/or high frequency words to your students at this time
- Math Activities – Incorporate math somehow into your meeting (Ex: Count the days of school using coins, discuss the time allotted to each activity of the day, solve a problem of the day, etc.)
- Student Shares – Have 3 students share personal news each day
- Emotional Chart – For the young ones, have students go up to a poster that has pictures of certain emotions and choose what they are feeling that day. To boost verbal skills, offer a sentence starter such as “I feel _____ today because _____” and have students give one reason why they feel the way they do.
- World News – For older students, bring in one daily news article or video that shares about one event happening in the world that day
Here are 3 examples of morning messages and what can be done to make them engaging.
Message #1 is for younger students. Notice you can do a lot with fill in the blanks. For example, you can leave portions of the date blank and have students fill them in, teaching them to look for the day, month, date and year (in that order). You can also create a focus point for behaviors and let your message lead the discussion. For example: “Hmm…what do you think we really need to focus on during lunch?…ah yes, thats a good one. Let’s focus on cleaning up our lunch spots!”
Message #2 is for middle elementary school students. At this level, you will want to make your morning message as academic as possible, tying in literacy in a variety of ways. My favorite thing to do is create a schedule with daily themes (Ex: Misspell Monday or Punctuation Tuesday). In this message you will notice there is room to correct misspelled words (Ex: Wednesday) and punctuation (Ex: in the date). Also notice the message introduces a special word of the day to get kids thinking ahead. There is also a classwide goal!
Message #3 is for Middle Schoolers or perhaps even high schoolers. This sample message was written by a student, Sarah. Sometimes with older students, it can be fun (and academically challenging) to have students write the message daily. This student chose a current event to share about and has been practicing asking a question to her audience to get them interested in her topic. It can be fun to do morning message themes by month, for example for one month each student write one message with a current event. The next month may be a letter writing theme or a book quote theme. As always, I like to include a classwide goal. In this case, Sarah leads the class discussion on choosing a goal or point of focus for the day.
P.S. Yes, I know it is not Wednesday, January 16th or 17th – I just wanted to see if you were all awake!
What other ideas do you have for meeting times in the classroom or at home?