Morning Meetings: The Most Underrated Way to Build Classroom Community

Last June, I asked my students to complete a brief reflection on their school year and to evaluate the job I had done as their teacher. The questions consisted of things like, “How well does your teacher know you?” and “Were you able to learn about your interests?” In the blank space at the bottom of the page, students could indicate what they’d enjoyed most during the year. Overwhelmingly (and much to my surprise), the majority of students mentioned our morning meeting as their absolute favorite thing about 4th grade. I was stunned. It’s true that we’d had a fantastic year together, but I'd never considered how integral our daily meeting was to this success. What began as a simple morning routine of greeting each other, sharing the little (or not so little) moments in our lives, and having an actual dialogue with each other ended up having a huge impact on their ability to develop friendships, relate to others, solve problems, and to be risk-takers in their learning. My students were inquisitive, funny, caring, and thoughtful. Our classroom was indeed special, and at the end of the year I was heartbroken to say goodbye to this group of young people. I am quite certain that our morning meetings contributed to their academic and social-emotional development in ways far beyond anything else we did.

Now, as I begin another school year (this time with younger students), my goal remains clear: I want my students to talk to each other, listen, feel empathy, push themselves to see from another perspective, develop the language to express themselves, and feel safe in our classroom community. Our morning routine won't accomplish these things by itself, but it is an excellent starting point. I’ve seen what it can do, and I believe in it. I look forward to the day when this group reflects on how much they’ve learned and grown.   

You can learn more about morning meetings and the responsive classroom here:

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