It’s the 2nd day of school; the enthusiasm among our students and teachers is infectious! There is so much exciting news to share about the upcoming school year. You may have already noticed a couple small changes to our morning routines.
Flagpole/Morning Assembly: Parents are encouraged to attend Morning Assembly whenever you are able. This is our schoolwide beginning to the day (at 8:00 a.m. sharp) when we salute the flag and recite our character pledge. If it is a child’s birthday, they will be called up for a special acknowledgement. We will also be conducting some special recognition of students who were “caught” demonstrating character strengths: respect, caring, responsibility, honesty, perseverance or fairness. We do ask, however, that children say goodbye to parents as they line up with their class.
Morning Meeting: It is important for children (and teachers) to arrive to their classrooms each morning without distractions and ready to begin Morning Meeting. This is a specially designed 15-25 minute meeting that will begin every day of learning in every classroom. Students and teachers gather in a circle on the rug for a class meeting. Each meeting consists of four parts:
Greeting: Every student participates in the greeting and is met with a high five, handshake, hug or even sometimes a silly greeting. This is also a time when teachers are proactively teaching social behaviors such as, eye contact and active listening.
Share: Students get to share/talk about various topics, which plays an important role in building a positive classroom community. Just as important, sharing offers ample opportunities to practice and reinforce the speaking, listening, and thinking skills that are so crucial to success in school and in life.
Activity: We might sing a song, read a poem or play a specially selected game together, just because it’s fun to be together. The activity is designed so that no matter what the morning might have been like before the Morning Meeting, when the last song is sung and the last poem read and the last game played, the hustle and bustle of the morning (and that lost sock or spilled bowl of cereal) have all been forgotten. It is a fresh start and a new day.
Morning Message: In many ways, the Morning Message is a love note from the teacher to the students reinforcing something they have done or learned. It is also the “active engagement” for the day. It may ask the students to answer a question on a post-it or vote on a particular topic. It leads into the first new learning activity of the day.
There is much more to be said about Responsive Classroom, which is based on over 30 years of widely accepted educational research. I encourage you to watch for upcoming newsletters and blog posts to find out more. You will also have an opportunity to experience Morning Meeting for parents at back to school night.