Morning meeting is the perfect beginning of the day for students and teachers alike. That’s because morning meeting is a consistent start to every day, develops meaningful relationships, builds a positive classroom community, and provides a venue to work on social-emotional skills. And even better, morning meeting with a SEL focus is something every teacher can implement.
How to Run Morning Meeting
There are many different ways to run morning meeting. Ultimately, it’s going to be up to what works best for you and your learners. Here are some basic suggestions for getting started with a morning meeting in your classroom:
- Be Consistent. Choose a daily time to run your morning meeting and stick with it. Your morning meetings should take anywhere from 5-20 minutes. This is going to depend on how many activities you do, and how in-depth you want your discussions to be.
- Plan Activities. Have a general plan for what you want to do during your morning meeting. This might include talking about one important SEL topic, for example. Keep reading for several activity ideas you can try in your classroom.
- Start With Greetings. Daily greetings are important. Make it a point to have students greet each other in some way every day (more on this below!).
- Integrate Social-Emotional Skills. There are always opportunities for integrating SEL skills into your morning meeting time. Make the most of these chances by discussing and highlighting them along the way! You can read more about my simple 5-step process for integrating SEL into every morning meeting.
- Be Flexible. Planning is important, of course. With that said, be willing to be flexible to your students’ needs in that day. If there is an on-going issue in your class, it’s okay to pause your plans and focus on that first.
- Have Fun! Most importantly, have fun together. Remember that this is a community-building time. It is going to be the foundation for all the hard stuff, so make it meaningful and make it fun.
SEL Morning Meeting
Below I have lots of ideas to use in your morning meetings, but I also wanted to mention that I’ve already planned an entire year of morning meeting for you! That means no-prep morning meetings with a social-emotional focus for every day of the year. Check out the elementary morning meeting set here. And I’ve also got one for middle school kids too!
Morning Meeting Activities
Below are several morning meeting activities ideas to try in your classroom. You don’t need to attempt them all; find the ones that you think will work best for your learners and give them a try.
Daily Greetings. Start each day with daily greetings. You can assign a daily greeting for the day (wave, fist bump, etc.) or let students choose on their own.
Quote of the Day. Read or post a quote of the day. Have students discuss what the quote means to them with a partner or small group. Give time for full class to discuss too. As you discuss, make sure to highlight the social-emotional skills the quote might be hinting at.
Emotions Check-In. Have students complete a quick emotions check-in to share how they are feeling and what they need for the day. You can read my article on how to start up a daily emotions check-in with your learners. If you want to get started, use this daily SEL check-in journal for kids and teens.
Compliment Share. One at a time, have students stand up and give a compliment about someone else.
Ball Toss. Get kids active! You can try tossing a ball while pausing to ask and answer relationship-building questions.
SEL Read Aloud. Choose a read aloud for the class. You can choose to read a whole book, or just part of one if time is short. Use this list of social-emotional read alouds to take your pick.
Gratitude Share. One a a time, have students stand up and share what they are grateful for.
Practice Coping Strategies. Choose a new coping strategy each day and practice it together. This gives the chance to work on deep breathing, yoga, reading, drawing, and a whole bunch more. Use this coping strategies list to give more ideas.
Play Games. Games are a great way to build community. Play games like I Spy, Simon Says, and Pictionary to build a positive climate and have fun at the same time.
Morning Message. Post a daily morning message up on the board for your learners to read. This could be about what the day will bring, or just a positive thought you want them to keep with them. Give time to read together and discuss.
Mindful Moment. Practice mindfulness with a variety of mindful activities, including visualizations, practicing yoga, or mindful breathing techniques. Give these mindful moment cards a try for more ideas. I’ve also got some mindful breathing activities you can read about!
Show and Tell. Give a chance for kids to share items and ideas that are important to them. Allow others to ask questions and show interest too.
ABCs of SEL. Discuss a new SEL skill each day, starting with each letter of the alphabet. You can come up with your own or use this free printable SEL poster to give some ideas. Kids can even color in each SEL skill as you go.
“What Would You Do?” Scenarios. Provide a social scenario for kids to read and discuss. Have them consider what they would do and why. Use this free social scenario set to start.
Free Share Time. Allow students free space to share any thoughts or concerns on their mind. This can become a safe space to share, or a problem-solving session, if needed.
Journal and Share. Use a journal question for students to respond to as they walk in the room. Then, take time to discuss that question with partners or the group as a whole.
Practice Positive Self-Talk. Provide a new positive affirmation of the day. Read the self-talk statement together, discuss, and share times when you might use it in real life.
Emotion Word of the Day. Give a new emotion word. Talk about the emotion and give a chance for kids to share a time they felt that way.
SEL Question of the Day. Give one meaningful question of the day with a SEL focus. You might ask, “What’s a good choice you’ve made recently?” or “What makes a friendship healthy?” Give time for students to share and learn together. Use these SEL Task Cards filled with meaningful prompts for the year.
“Would You Rather?” Questions. Ask a variety of “would you rather?” questions to get kids talking! Would you rather go to a theme park or a zoo? Would you rather watch TV or play sports? These questions improve self-awareness and build relationships with others.
Role-Play Social Scenarios. Give a social situation and have students act it out with partners. After, discuss what social skills were involved.
Advice Column. Give a situation and have students share what advice they would give. For example: “Trisha is bored and class. She doesn’t feel like starting her work. What advice would you give her?”
Whiteboard Message. Post a whiteboard message on the board along with a question. For example, you might write or post: “Respect means treating others with courtesy and kindness. What are some ways you show respect.” This gives kids a chance to write their responses in a journal or right on the board before discussing as a group. If you need some ideas, grab this SEL Whiteboard Message set!
Relationship-Building Questions. Start the day with a few relationship-building questions, including asking about interests, families, and hopes for the future. Use these relationship-building questions to start.
Practice Kindness. Create your own random acts of kindness lists (or use this one) and have students complete one act per day.
Bucket List. Have students write on the board something they want to accomplish today (or this week). Give time to discuss and share.