Try these quick morning meeting activities to engage and build community with your students in Kindergarten, first, second, and third grade first thing as they enter the classroom each day!
Meaningful Activities and Ideas to Start Your Day
Starting off on the right foot each day is essential! When your class has a strong start to the day, it sets everyone up for success. This can be accomplished with a solid morning meeting routine.
Teachers love being in tune with where their kids are first thing in the morning. How are they feeling, and are they ready to have a great day of learning? The morning is an opportunity to check in with students.
If our kids are happy and feeling good, they have a better chance of remembering new concepts and retaining information throughout the day. The introduction of morning meetings in schools can have a hugely positive impact. The ripples of respectful learning, empathy, and trust can build amazing school culture.
It is not just about building community in your classroom. One of the goals of coming together in the morning is to encourage students to be active participants and collaborators in their learning.
Here are some quick, low-prep activities to try during your classroom’s morning meeting. Use them after a quick greeting and question, as a way to wrap up your meetings, or as a short brain break.
Activities to Add to Your Morning Meeting Routine
- Calendar Time – Depending on what is age appropriate for your students, have them say what the day and date are. When they’re ready to practice telling the time, add this in too. You might like to do this electronically if you have an interactive whiteboard or smartboard.
- Broken Telephone – This is a great one to get students to start thinking about effective communication. Whisper your secret sentence to the first child in the circle and have them pass on the message quietly.
- Whisper or Talk Quietly – When you’re ready to get students moving onto a new task, try altering how loudly you are talking, so they have to listen very closely.
- Time to Talk – Students choose a partner or talk to whoever they sit beside. Have a timer set for one minute while person one talks and the other listens. When the timer goes off, switch who talks and who listens.
- Set an Intention – As a class, decide your intention for the day. It could be “Everyone will do one thing today that is helpful to others!” or “Today I will smile at someone in the hall.” It could be an intention or classroom goal that everyone does the task once.
- Brain warm-up – In this simple yet effective guessing game, students close their eyes and pretend to concentrate. Prompt students with “I’m thinking of a color/number… It’s in my head… Now! What is it?” Have students raise their hands to guess. Each student can say one color. Keep going until they guess the correct color or number.
- Minds-on – Pose an open-ended question related to a topic you are teaching.
- Morning Meeting Call and Response – When the morning meeting is wrapping up, come up with a way to indicate that it’s finished. Decide on a special “call” that you say and a “response” that your students say back. These fun classroom callbacks are great for this!
- Me Too! – Try this fun turn-taking activity where students share something about themselves, and anyone who shares this in common stands up and says, “Me too!”
Social-Emotional Activities for Morning Meeting
- Feelings Check-in – Each morning, have children get in touch with how they’re feeling and indicate it on a check-in chart.
- Morning Greeting – This can be simple, short, and sweet. It can be as formal or informal as you like. You greet your students, and they greet you back.
- Mindful Minute – Put on calming music for your little ones to listen to, giving them a moment to be calm and practice calming strategies.
- Breathwork for Kids – Some of our friends might start the day feeling anxious or may experience other difficult emotions. Have students close their eyes and breathe in through their nose for 5 seconds and out for 5 seconds. There are also plenty of Youtube videos if you want a guided breathing exercise for kids.
- Social and Emotional Mini-Lesson – Choose a social-emotional topic of the week. One day you read a short book on the topic, and the next day you talk about the book. Then the following day, ask students an open-ended question like “What is Kindness?” or “What does Kindness look like in our classroom?” Other topic ideas could be Empathy, Friendship, and Responsibility.
- Role Play – Encourage kids to act out different social scenarios with peers. This allows them to practice what they would do when faced with a certain situation. Kids can try acting out being responsible, being a good friend, showing empathy, having a growth mindset, and more.
- Social Skills Games – Try any of the fun games to teach important social skills!
Morning Meeting Movement & Brain Break Activities
- Copy the Action – This one is great for refocusing kids or getting them ready for the next task. Perform repetitive actions. like stretching up to touch the sky or patting your knees. They have to copy the action exactly. Change the action from time to time, and they silently copy. It’s a good idea to add crossing-over actions to warm up their brains, like touching your ears with opposite hands.
- Charades – In this classic game, students act out different things, and others try to guess what they are acting out. This versatile game can be changed up to include acting out social-emotional scenarios for others to guess.
- Dance – Teach your students a short dance that they do every morning. Of course, you can also find kids’ dance videos online.
- Stretch and Move – Try a set of stretches that everyone does in the morning, and one special friend gets to lead the group. This activity is a great one for giving students a sense of responsibility as leaders in the classroom.
- Action Song – Young and older students can enjoy singing a song with actions. There are plenty of great videos of action songs on Youtube, so you should be able to find one that suits your class.
- Catch the Ball – Have a squishy ball that your students pass silently to each other. They must use eye contact and gestures to let each other know who they are giving the ball to next. See how many times the ball can be thrown without dropping it.
Remember to take the time to explain the morning meeting activities to your students. Depending on the activity, you may also like to have a reflective moment with your students afterward. You could ask, “Why do you think we did this activity today?” or “What did you learn from this activity today?” or “How did this activity help us?”
FREE SEL Morning Meeting Slides & Cards
To get you started with morning meeting, I have a free week of slides and printable cards that you can start using during your morning meeting immediately!
Click the image below to grab your copy.
SEL Morning Meeting Bundle for the Year
Do you want to save planning time and have your meetings ready daily? Check out our SEL Morning Meeting bundle for a school year of done-for-you slides and ideas for your morning meetings.
With our morning meeting resources with pre-filled greetings, questions, and activities, you can create meaningful morning meetings that build important social-emotional skills.
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