Class meetings or morning meetings focus on supporting students to reinforce the positive behaviors of their peers, reflect on previous learning, and preview new tasks weekly, daily, or at the beginning or end of class. With established norms for the meeting, this strategy can be used with students in all grades and across content areas. To begin the class meeting, the teacher can ask students to share celebrations or praise for a peer or peers based on the work they most recently completed independently or in groups, and students respond with a celebratory clap. Shout-outs can be followed by updates, a problem or question for whole class discussion, and future plans. The organization of a class meeting can be modified based on the teacher's goals for the meeting.
Set up a class meeting format that is appropriate for all stakeholders in your classroom. See the "Class Meeting Format," "Primary Classroom Meeting Format," and "What is a Morning Meeting?" resources for help in designing your class meeting structure.
If you want students to include a celebratory clap with their praise, you'll need to have students help you identify the claps appropriate for your class. If a celebratory clap does not match your classroom style, feel free to try something that empowers students to celebrate as a whole class. See the "Classroom Culture" video below for ideas about how to make a positive classroom culture.
Select the most appropriate location to hold your class meeting. If you have younger students, you might have them meet on the rug.
Select a consistent time and day to hold your class meeting. Will you run your class meeting daily, weekly, or at the beginning or end of a unit project?
Determine your individual goal for the class meeting. What do you want students to get out of the meetings?
Model for students the types of celebrations and praise that are appropriate during the peer praise portion of the class meeting time. Give students multiple examples, while allowing them to practice sharing celebrations and praise of their own. Support and encourage students as they share their celebrations and praise for their peers.
Share updates and a problem or question with students to solve or respond to collaboratively that relates to the upcoming or previous lesson.
It's important to note that this may not be something you want to include in your Class Meeting structure. Be sure to think about your age group and what activities would be appropriate for them during this portion of the class meeting.
Consistently implement this strategy using the timeframe you determined was appropriate for your class meeting.
The purpose of an opening circle is to "recognize" each participant/student, to acknowledge that they are present and valuable, and to invite their participation in a circle introductory or learning activity.
1. In establishing an opening circle, it is important to first determine your purpose for this activity, and to define the student roles that support this purpose. This provides clarity to participants on what they are doing, and why, in the circle.
2. It is also important to create norms for circle communication, body language, and participation expectations.
3. Set the topic for each opening circle. It can usually be an academic topic, but it is also possible and recommended that once students are accustomed to its use, they be allowed to periodically set the purpose and content.
Morning Meetings help building community, spread positive energy, deepen relationships, focus on socio-emotional learning and discuss and solve relevant community and societal challenges. All of these purposes remain extremely important in the context of distance learning, hence why we want to support you with ideas and resources to continue to hold these spaces, synchronously and asynchronously.
Build the structure of what you would like your synchronous morning meeting time with students the same way you would have in the classroom. The key questions you would like to discuss with students do not have to change when running these meetings remotely. Check the strategy above for resources to help you structure and improve those meetings.
If you are not able to meet synchronously with your students, consider having an asynchronous morning meeting by recording a video of yourself asking a question and then having students respond to those questions in writing (using a tool like padlet) or via video (using a tool like flipgrid).
If some of your students can hear or see your message but not respond easily via video, try to communicate with them via text messages through their parent phone and an app like Remind or ClassDojo.
Decide on a tech tool to connect synchronously via video (Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, etc...).
Morning meetings are meant to be inclusive so when scheduling your morning meeting:
Try to pick a time that could work for most students and their families. Perhaps you could poll students and parents to see the best time that would work for the morning meeting using a Doodle Poll (see tutorial below). Hint: It is called morning meetings but it does not have to be in the morning if that is not what works best for all.
Include an option to join the call via phone and not only via video. It will make it more likely that all your students could join at the same time. Zoom, for example, provides a Join by Phone option (see below)
If you had already used morning meetings in class, you had set specific norms and expectations for them. Revisit them to see what needs to be adjusted in the virtual space and what new norms need to be created because you are now meeting via Zoom or Google Meet. Consider spending time in the first morning meeting revisiting the norms and revising them with students to fit the new distance learning environment. To learn more about establishing norms with students, consult BetterLesson's Creating Shared Work Time Norms and Expectations strategy linked below.
Regularly ask feedback from your students on how to make Morning Meetings more effective in the virtual space by sharing a simple Google Forms for them to complete. Incorporate their feedback thoughtfully.
To support students with learning disabilities that impact their verbal communication, teachers can give students the questions ahead of time and allow them to journal their thoughts before convening the class meeting. Providing sentence stems for their responses is another way to support students who struggle with verbal communication.
For EL students, this strategy provides an excellent opportunity for students to practice their English speaking skills. To acquire language fluency, students need opportunities to produce real, purposeful language. This strategy could be further modified for EL students by modeling for students how to ask and answer discussion questions, providing the students with the ability to prepare responses to questions with a partner or receive feedback on their responses to a question from a partner before engaging in the class meeting, or providing sample question or answer stems to guide their meeting contributions.
The key to making the class meeting strategy work is to build positive relationships with your students, to build trust by giving them opportunities to self-manage and take ownership of their learning, and to establish respect among students by encouraging positive collaboration.
Classcraft is a behavior and learning management tool. The platform allows for the creation of collaborative teams with customizable avatars. Discussion boards, an assignment dropbox, and self-paced quests are features of the learning management system. It has a leaderboard with the ability to add experience and subtract health points to individual students, teams, or the entire class. It's ClassDojo meets the World of WarCraft.
Classcraft supports this strategy because the points feature of Classcraft can be used to reward students with experience points when they receive positive celebrations or praise from their peers during Class Meeting.
ClassDojo is a multi-faceted classroom management tool focused on reinforcing classroom expectations and communicating those expectations out with the individual student, class, and families.