As we progressed through the school year, I needed a way to continue building a classroom community. My chatty group of second graders needed an outlet to share with one another, rather than blurt out during activities, and continue practicing being respectful listeners.

I talked with some people who did a morning meeting, used the Morning Meeting Book as a reference, and developed my own twist. I use the Morning Meeting to set up a positive tone to each day and review our classroom expectations.

We start each day either greeting each other “Hello” in another language or sharing a sentence about our favorite activity over the week or one thing we did over the weekend. Then, I go over the schedule for the day, noting any changes. Third, we usually do some type of quick ELA warm up before beginning our reading instruction. Sometimes we get into a bigger discussion about events going on at school or activities we are doing in the classroom.

Since starting Morning Meeting about 2 months ago, I have noticed positive changes in my second graders. They look forward to our meeting to share and talk with one another. The first time we did a “Hello” around the circle, students were laughing because it was silly greeting each other. Students are willing to help each other when different languages are difficult. There are still laughs and excitement when someone is so focused on the greeting that he forgets his friend’s name or someone did something very exciting or similar over the weekend.

Outside of our meeting, students are really improving at working together and supporting each other. When a student was struggling with solving a math problem on his white board, a couple other students went over to explain and help him through the steps. When a student came back to school with a retainer, others came over to her because they wanted to see it and make sure she was okay. They’ve grown so much this year and are really getting better at helping each other and working together to problem solve.

Stepping back and watching these interactions makes teaching this group is so rewarding.