Morning meeting is a positive, engaging, and meaningful way to start the day with students. In short, it’s a time to greet each other, talk about important topics, and make a positive intention for the day.
Even more, though, morning meeting can also be the ideal time to work on social emotional skills like empathy, decision-making, responsibility, and many more. It really makes sense to integrate these skills into morning meeting time; these are skills that all kids need. Providing this social-emotional foundation can help kids and young adults succeed in the classroom and beyond.
Integrating SEL skills into your morning meeting time doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, this post is intended to be a quick guide to help you get started right away. Of course, if you need a more detailed overview of morning meetings, why they are important, and strategies for implementing them, check out this ultimate guide morning meetings.
You can start by following the five-step process:
#1 Start with greetings.
The best way to start each morning meeting session is with greetings. Take just a minute and have students say “good morning” or fist bump one another. You can have students choose their daily greeting or change it up throughout the week to keep it fun and interesting.
#2 Introduce a topic.
Morning meeting truly is an ideal time to highlight critical skills like empathy, using healthy coping skills, appreciating diversity, responsibility, and so many more. Each day (or week), choose a skill to work on. Introduce that skill by discussing what it means and why it is important.
For example, you might say, “Today, let’s talk about respect. Showing respect means being kind and treating others the way they want to be treated.”
Ultimately, the skills you choose are entirely up to you. You can come up with a set plan for each like I’ve done with these morning meeting cards, or you can highlight the skills your students need in the moment.
#3 Start a discussion.
Get kids talking about that skill or topic by asking questions. For example, you might ask, “What does respect mean to you? What are some ways you show respect? Have you ever felt disrespected? How did that make you feel?” and so on.
Avoid the urge to answer for your students. Of course, guiding them is good, but it’s important to give them time to discuss together as a group. We all know that kids often learn best from other kids. This can be a great time to witness that.
#4 Practice the skill.
Have students spend a few minutes practicing the skill in some way. This provides opportunities for students to further understand and generalize the skill. There are many different activities you can try, such as the few listed below.
Role-play: If working on respect, have students work in partners to role-play a scenario that shows respect. After a few minutes, ask for volunteers to show their role play to the class.
Making connections: When learning about perseverance, encourage students to think of a character from a book or movie who had to persevere through challenges. Give time to talk about that character and how they overcame their struggles.
Giving advice: If focusing on problem-solving skills, come up with some simple problem-solving scenarios and have students give advice to each person. For example, “Martha got on the bus and realized she forgot her homework at home. What advice would you give to her?”
There are many more options for practicing each skill. It’s helpful to change up the activities from day-to-day to keep it fun, fresh, and interesting for your learners.
Give time to students to share something about what they have learned. Encourage them to summarize the topic in 10 words or less. Another favorite reflection activity is to have students share how they will use that skill today or this week. Not only does this serve as a quick assessment for educators to see who has grasped the concept, but it also gives extra learning opportunities for students.
After reflecting on the skill, it’s also helpful to give time for students to talk about any other concerns, thoughts, or needs they have before moving on with the day.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, you can use these morning meeting cards for social emotional learning to make your mornings fun, engaging, and no-prep.
Whether you work with older students or younger learners, you can always tailor morning meeting to fit the kids and young adults you are working with. It’s a great way to help kids start their days off strong while also helping them learn critical SEL skills.