Several years ago, I took a graduate course entitled “Literature for Older Children” with Kathy Brody, who was a former classroom teacher. Brody, who was trained in the Responsive Classroom approach, wanted to share her passion for Responsive Classroom with her graduate students. Therefore, she taught us about one of the most important pillars of the approach: morning meeting. Each of our weekly classes began with a morning meeting, of sorts. (I write of sorts because our course began at 4:20 p.m.!)
Morning meeting provides an opportunity for a class to come together as a community to greet one another, share information, engage in an activity, and prepare for the day that lies ahead. While I was a little skeptical about how a 20-minute meeting could change a classroom, I was eager to learn more about Responsive Classroom. Thanks to some thoughtful conversations I had after class with Kathy, I enrolled in Responsive Classroom Institute 1 during the summer of 2006. I implemented the approach in my fifth grade classroom that fall. I quickly saw a transformation in my classroom’s day to day operation. Through guided discoveries, full-class rule creation, use of positive teacher language, and academic choice, teaching became easier. I truly believe this happened because I was paying as much attention to the social curriculum as I was to the academic one.
As a result of my introduction to Responsive Classroom in graduate school, I decided I would implement morning meetings in the graduate course I’m teaching, which begins this-coming Monday. Obviously the morning mornings I will lead with my graduate students will look different than the ones I led for my students. However, since I’m hoping to inspire them to give the Responsive Classroom approach a try, I will be doing a lot of the same greetings and activities I did with my students. (Because who wouldn’t want to put their morning coffee aside to throw around some Koosh balls for a few minutes first-thing in the morning?)
Just a few weeks ago the Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc. (aka: NEFC) released two new books about morning meeting. They are 80 Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades K–2 by Susan Lattanzi Roser and 80 Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades 3–6 by Carol Davis. These books are wonderful resources for teachers who are new to morning meeting (and want some quick tips for greetings, sharings, group activities, and morning messages) or for educators who have been leading morning meetings for years (and need some fresh ideas). Here is my chart for the first day of class that was inspired by the 3-6 book:
To learn more about Responsive Classroom go to http://www.responsiveclassroom.org. If you want to learn more about morning meeting, then go to http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/morning-meeting-components.
Giveaway Information: Many thanks to the NEFC for sponsoring a giveaway of 80 Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades K–2 by Susan Lattanzi Roser and 80 Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades 3–6 by Carol Davis. To enter for a chance to win a copy of ONE of the books listed above, each reader may leave one comment about this post in the comments section of this post. Feel free to share your thoughts about morning meeting, using Responsive Classroom, or your thinking about why schools should spend time teaching in ways that emphasize the academic, emotional, and social curriculum. All comments left on or before Sunday, June 24th at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time will be entered into a random drawing (one for the K-2 book and one for the 3-6 book) the next day. I will announce the winner’s name at the bottom of this post on June 26th. Be sure to enter your grade level (e.g., K-2 or 3-6) in the text of your comment.
Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address and have my contact at NEFC send the book out to you. Please note: Your e-mail address will not be published online.
Comments are now closed.
Thank you to everyone who left a comment. I loved reading about the enthusiasm so many people have for Responsive Classroom. For those of you who’ve never tried it, I hope the comments on this post are enough of an indicator to help you realize why you should learn more about the approach.
Congratulations to Brenda Nelson and Erika Victor whose comment numbers were picked using the random number generator.
Brenda will receive the K-2 book. She said:
Fun! A new idea to explore this summer! I have heard of Responsive Classrooms but have not delved into it. With the stress of “getting the academics in” and testing, testing, testing, we need to remember we are teaching children and they have needs outside academics. I look forward to the exploration! This book could be the way to get there!
Erika will receive the 3 – 6 book. She wrote:
As a third grade teacher I can attest to the transformational power of Morning Meeting. This year’s class has become such a community! This book sounds like a great add.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).