The Essential Components of Morning Meeting You Need to Know

A classroom morning meeting is a valuable and inclusive way to start the school day because it helps build a positive classroom community, foster social-emotional skills, and set the tone for the day. 

But what are the components of morning meeting?

Well, it can vary depending on grade levels, teacher preferences, and specific goals, but there are 10 common components that every successful morning meeting needs to include.

These are…

  • Morning Greetings
  • Sharing
  • Activity or Icebreaker
  • Morning Message or Discussion
  • Calendar or Schedule
  • Classroom Agreements or Rules
  • Agenda
  • Reflection
  • Acknowledgement or Reflection
  • Closing

So let’s dig into a few of the first questions most people ask about morning meetings to gain a little more clarity and then we will unpack each component individually.

The Basic FAQs of Morning Meetings

Each component of morning meeting is important in its own right, but combining these basic components into a daily routine is what makes a lasting impact.

So let me further explain and clarify a few key details and questions people tend to ask before we discuss the individual components.

When should I start implementing morning meetings?

In a perfect world, you would begin implementing morning meetings on the first day of school in order to create a routine that students learn to anticipate.

However, you can start them at any time!

How long should morning meetings last?

The entire meeting should last no more than about 20-30 minutes.

At the beginning of the year, they may extend past the time limit, but once you have taught your students the expectations and morning meeting routine, the goal is to stay within 20-30 minutes.

If the meetings consistently run longer, your students will become restless and the meetings will begin to cut into essential learning time. 

Do I have to do morning meetings in the morning?

So let me clarify this question.

Obviously, you know that we would call this an afternoon meeting if we intended to have it in the afternoon, but the morning meeting time is scheduled in the morning for a very specific reason.

You see, each class meeting sets the tone for the rest of the day, and by skipping the meeting in the mornings (or pushing it to later in the day), you and your students miss out on the opportunity to discuss meaningful information that impacts everyone.

Therefore, having your meeting first thing in the morning is a great way to get everyone on the same page and start the day on a positive note.

And hopefully, this minimizes interruptions from students wanting to know about schedule changes, rules, and other specifics you cover during the meeting.

Where should I begin?

I’m so glad you asked because I am going to break down the 10 essential components for you right now!!

The 10 Components of Morning Meeting

Morning Greetings

Always begin your morning meeting with morning greetings.

You should greet your students, they should greet you, and they should greet one another.

At the beginning of the year, each student should have opportunities to provide handshakes, fist bumps, waves, or offer “good morning” salutations to each classmate. 

This helps build a strong sense of community from day one and builds a climate of trust.

After the first week, you will no longer be able to set aside the necessary time every single day for each student to individually greet every other student in the room due to time constraints.

So, you can appoint student volunteers to make sure they greet each student individually before morning meeting daily.

These students can be changed each week to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to be a volunteer.

To have the most impact, students should make eye contact with the person to whom they are speaking and say that student’s name.

This teaches basic but extremely important social skills and appropriate social interactions.

The entire purpose of morning meeting is to promote a sense of belonging and starting with morning greetings is imperative!

Sharing

Allow students the opportunity to share something about themselves. 

It could be related to a specific topic, a personal update, or an exciting idea. 

One of the easiest ways to keep student shares from taking too long is by setting a timer and allowing each student to have 30 seconds to do “quick shares.”

Another great way to keep this part from overtaking the entire time is by dividing the class into small groups.

Each day of the week, the members of a specific group will have time to talk during share time.

This gives everyone about 1-2 minutes (or however long you deem appropriate) to share each week.

Sharing is vitally important because it’s an engaging way for students to build connections and practice their budding communication skills in different ways.

Activity or Icebreaker 

Incorporate a brief group activity or icebreaker to engage students and get them energized for the day. 

This can be a fun game, a quick brain teaser, or a movement activity.

Pose a fun and age-appropriate question to the class each morning. 

It could be something like, “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” 

Each student takes a turn answering the question, promoting discussion and creativity.

Another fun way to start is by playing Would You Rather.

You pose a question and offer two choices from which students select.

For example, “Would you rather be invisible or be able to fly?”

Students have about 15 seconds to think about their answer before raising their hands for option one or option two.

Allow students to use their math skills by adding or tallying the number of students who selected each choice.

If you want a quick and easy way to incorporate Would You Rather into your morning meeting, be sure to grab this Would You Rather set.

Simply print and post one sheet on your whiteboard each week to use during morning meeting.

Then have one student come up, remove a number, and reveal the question of the day.

Then there is always the option to add a little dance party!

When I taught 3rd grade, we had a good morning song that I would turn on while we did specific morning movements every single day.

It was a great way to help my kids wake up and get their brains going!

So if you aren’t into games or icebreaker group activities, then this might be the perfect option for you.

Just remember that the point of this activity or icebreaker is to make everyone comfortable and get your students thinking first thing.

Morning Message or Discussion

This is where as the teacher you might share an inspirational quote, a thought-provoking question, or a discussion topic relevant to the class. 

Encouraging discussions about topics like growth mindset, positive self-talk, and showing respect are excellent starting points.

This encourages critical thinking and meaningful conversations among students.

Then consider incorporating quotes like these…

  1. “Mistakes are proof that you are trying.” – Unknown
  2. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
  3. “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A.A. Milne (from Winnie the Pooh)
  4. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus
  5. “You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.” – R.J. Palacio (from Wonder)
  6. “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and the job’s a game.” – Mary Poppins
  7. “You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing.” – Unknown
  8. “Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” – Unknown
  9. “The more you give away, the more happy you become.” – Unknown
  10. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

Taking a few minutes to talk about what these quotes actually mean is going to help students begin to realize things about themselves and their classmates for the first time.

Calendar and Schedule

Discuss the month of the year, the day of the week, and the weather during a brief calendar time.

This is will allow students in the lower grades to practice essential academic skills and have a great time in the process.

Then take a few moments to review the daily schedule, activities, and any special events or announcements.

 This helps students prepare for the day ahead and reduces anxiety about the unknown.

It is also helpful to have a visual schedule posted in your classroom (most likely near the meeting space) that students can see at any time during the day.

This reduces the number of questions you have to field later related to any schedule changes.

Classroom Agreements or Rules

Remind students of the classroom agreements or rules, emphasizing the importance of respect, kindness, and cooperation.

This sets behavioral expectations for the day.

Then occasionally revisit the importance of the following these rules when they are in the classroom, the entire school, and even out in the community. 

Also use this time as an opportunity to role-play negative behaviors and what students should do when they see these wrong behaviors.

Finally, warn students of the consequences of choosing not to follow the established agreements or rules.

This gives them a chance to decide whether they want to make good decisions or start out the day with the wrong attitude or behavior.

Agenda Setting

While students may not have much impact on the schedule of the day, it is still important to involve them in setting some of the agenda for the day. 

They can suggest topics or activities they’d like to explore or discuss, and they can share ideas for specific games or activities they would like to play during recess. 

The last thing any student wants to do is misbehave and lose part of his or her recess time when he or she was vital to the final decision of what awesome game was going to transpire during recess!

So be sure to provide opportunities for students to have a say in their day as this gives them a sense of ownership and involvement in their day and makes them more motivated to work hard.

Reflection 

At the end of the meeting, take a moment for reflection. 

Ask students to share how they are feeling or what they are looking forward to in the day. 

This will help you gauge the emotional well-being of students and address any concerns you might have.

If any students seem more withdrawn than usual or uncharacteristically quiet, be sure to pull those students aside individually to see if they will share what’s going on.

There could be a multitude of things affecting them from home situations to lack of sleep, but it is our job as teachers to help them navigate these feelings appropriately.

If they do open up to you, be sure to give them space to feel how they feel while also giving them guidance on how to proceed through the rest of their day.

Acknowledgment and Appreciation

Recognize and show appreciation to students for their contributions during the meeting.

This could be for active participation, sharing, attitude, or simply demonstrating positive behavior during the meeting.

I don’t think I can overstate just how important this particular part of the meeting is to you and your students.

As teachers, we don’t often get appreciated or thanked for what we do on a daily basis.

Therefore, we, better than anyone, understand how meaningful it is for someone to acknowledge a job well done.

So even when you want to skip this part…don’t.

It will absolutely be one of the most important things you do to ensure that students continue to participate in all the unique components of morning meeting.

Closing

Conclude the morning meeting with a closing activity, such as a brief mindfulness exercise, a few deep breaths, a song, or a group cheer. 

This helps transition students from the meeting to their morning work.

Remember to model appropriate transition voice levels and efficiency during the transitions to ensure that no time is wasted.

While this has been a super in-depth look at the components of morning meeting, keep in mind that the structure and specific activities will need to be adapted to suit the needs and age group of the students in your class.

The primary goal is to create a positive and inclusive classroom environment at the beginning of the day where students feel valued and connected with their peers and teacher.