Responsive Classroom or Morning Meeting until I began teaching and now that I have head of these ideas and routines...I couldn't go back. Responsive Classroom brings the class together as a community of learners. It helps the students become responsible for their own actions and helps them with their classmates as well.
Morning Meeting is just one component of Responsive Classroom. Morning Meeting has 4 basic components:
-Students sit in a circle each morning. They may sit on the floor or in chairs but they must be able to see each other. In smaller classrooms, you might have to move tables back each day...just model and practice.
-Ideally students sit next to different people each day. I have found that they often need prompting: "Sit next to someone you haven't spoken to yet today." "Sit boy, girl, boy, girl." This past year my students struggled to mix it up and make good choices. Morning Meeting took way too long due to constant behavioral reminders...so came assigned seats. I hated it but it worked to get us back on track.
-Each student deserves to be recognized by his or her teacher and peers each day. This is one opportunity. Each child should be greeted.
-There are many different creative ways - baby voice, accent, ball toss, spiderweb, etc However, it is important to simply start with "Good Morning, so and so." to accompany a nice firm handshake and eye contact.
-At first I thought that show-and-tell was only for the primary students but even my 5th grade students have really enjoyed this part.
-On Mondays, I always do a "round robin" share to allow every student share about their weekend. Sometimes I let them pass/skip their turn and sometimes I make them respond to a question ("Best thing about the weekend." "Hi Low").
-During the other days I allow 2-3 students to share. I ask them only to share once during those times to allow everyone to share. Sometimes students bring in an object, other students share about their families. Ideally, students feel comfortable to share emotional things in their life - deaths in the family, family separation, sibling rivalry, etc.
-If too many students want to share each day and struggle taking turns, you can have sign ups. Laminate a chart of a 2 week schedule that students can fill out and then erase for the next set of sign ups.
-I made the mistake and called this "Game" based off a poster that a coworker had. The students always wanted a game and sometimes put up a stink when I tried to do a team building activity.
-Students can do any activity you want here. Be creative. I created a binder ring with different activities on it so that students could take more charge of this time. (I also have a ring of different greetings.)
-You can start easy with the go-to classroom games - silent ball, 4 corners, Heads Up 7 Up, etc.
News and Announcements
-This sets the tone for the day. Its a time to discuss anything going on in the class and anything different with the schedule.
-It also refers to the Morning Message which greets the students when they walk in the classroom. Morning Message is a short letter to the students on chart paper/board. It is normally interactive with students voting and creating graphs or finding spelling patterns/errors, etc.