The Morning Meeting

The Morning Meeting.  Establishing routines is a key to accomplishing goals in the elementary setting.  For many children, school may be the first environment where they’ve encountered a structured schedule.   The more you can create rhythms, habits and routines, the more quickly your students will learn to self-regulate their own time and energy, follow procedures, and achieve learning objectives.f2755a29d5f2d21057d9fb6be5252123

I like to start every day with a morning ritual that includes a greeting, daily agenda, goals for the day, and a sharing time.

Set the Tone.  I take about two minutes to welcome the group and give them an overview of what’s happening that day.  Use a positive tone to start the day upbeat, but make sure you’re businesslike and professional so they know that it’s time to get focused. Your manner will help kids focus their energy from “arrival” mode into “learning” mode.  

Daily Agenda.  Depending on what you’re teaching, try to identify two or three specific goals to highlight.  If something unique is going on during the day (a fire drill, a guest, or special activity) be sure to mention that too and quickly remind children about rules or procedures that might relate.  Be brief and stick to the big picture items. Kids will lose interest if you detail every individual piece of the day.

Care to Share.  The morning is a good time to encourage your students to report on things going on in their lives (if something big has happened, a child will want to share it anyway, and it might interrupt a lesson later in the day.)  Have a “baton” (it could be a stuffed animal, toy or special object) that you can pass around from child to child; if they don’t have anything to say, they can pass it on to the next person.  If you have a class of introverts, you might create a schedule or provide topics or prompts for certain students to prepare for in advance.

 

Visitors Welcome

When I was a teacher, I wanted my Principal and Assistant Principal to come to my room frequently; I didn’t want their first glimpse of my teaching to be on observation day! I hoped they could visit often and see my students in action, to monitor and applaud their progress. I was proud of them and wanted others to share in that pride. I also wanted the leadership team to see my approach to teaching:Welcome-Mat.jpg if I coaxed two sentences out of a reluctant reader, I wanted them there to witness the moment and celebrate with the student.

When I became an administrator, I vowed to visit classrooms regularly.  My goal is to see the full spectrum of what’s going on in the class and look for strengths in my teachers, offer suggestions, or share a simple word of encouragement. In addition, I want students to be comfortable with my presence in the room.

Teachers should also be encouraged to invite fellow faculty members into their rooms.  The administrator should take the lead to build this habit into the school’s culture, either by subbing for an hour or two to allow the teacher to observe in another room or by hiring a substitute to clear the decks.  It takes some time and effort to coordinate, but teachers can gain real insight by watching their peers lead a lesson or engage with their students.

 

Teacher, teacher…!

“Teacher, teacher…!” When you step into the classroom at the start of a school year, you become known as teacher (in rare cases you may be called mom or dad.)  No matter who is requesting your attention you’ll begin answering to almost anything. You’ll have 20 to 30 little humans in your room to love, nurture, inspire and teach. 13340484_sRecognizing and appreciating the differences in your students is the first step in caring for them. Students need to know that you care about every aspect of who they are before they can trust you to lead them academically.  Just showing up and being called a “teacher” can be easy. Being an effective teacher is difficult; it takes work. And the work is ongoing, with continuous pressures from parents, administrators, and governmental mandates.  The daunting nature of these challenges can be a big energy zapper, shaking the confidence of even the most prepared and committed teachers.  I have spent nearly 30 years in early childhood education, and I’ve noticed that the teachers who succeed are ones who constantly gather ideas, collaborate with others, evaluate their approach, and ask a lot of questions.  It is my hope that the Teacher Teacher Blog can serve as a source for your continued development and quest to be an effective teacher.  Please feel free to comment on the blog posts and reach out to me with questions, suggestions, or ideas.  Thanks for following! — Shelia