7 helpful ideas and resources to help you build classroom community and teach social-emotional skills each day during an SEL morning meeting.
How to Incorporate Social Emotional Learning into Morning Meetings
Do you have a morning meeting time with your class? There is something special about gathering together at the beginning of the school day. You are excited to be together as a class and feel rested and ready for the school day.
Teachers love to capture these moments in the morning as a time of learning and connecting. It also strengthens the student-teacher relationship, which helps with classroom management. Not only is it a good time for reviewing academic topics recently taught, but it is an excellent time to include social-emotional learning.
Below are 7 ways to incorporate SEL into your morning meetings. Some may seem small, but each activity is meant to build toward a more effective, harmonious classroom environment for each student.
Themes for SEL Morning Meetings
Do you have goals for your students to meet? Choose themes that support your SEL goals. Think about those as you choose themes for your morning meetings.
- Seasons and holidays – Kids love to celebrate seasons and holidays. If it is the beginning of school, you could have a back-to-school theme and teach about being a good friend to those in their class. During the holidays, you might talk about generosity and encourage children to think about what others need.
- Daily themes – Each day, try a theme: Mindful Monday, Take-Charge Tuesday, Wise Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday, Friendly Friday. Each day, touch on different social skills that are crucial to building emotional health and the community in your classroom.
- Monthly themes – To stay focused, try using a monthly theme. A morning meeting program will provide themed material for each month of the year, covering various themes and topics.
SEL Greetings in Morning Meetings
Greetings are a fun and friendly way to start the morning meeting. Classmates and teachers greet each other briefly, in a friendly way. Each greeting brings the members of the class together into a circle. The greeting is a quick way for everyone to connect and foster community! This helps build important social skills.
Here are some ideas.
- Hand motions – Have students greet each other with a hand motion that relates to the theme (i.e., a snowflake in winter).
- Share something – Have students share something about themselves (i.e., a New Years’ goal in January) as they greet their classmates.
- Get to know each other – Go around the circle and have students say their name and one thing they love.
- Give a compliment – Have each student choose a classmate to greet with a compliment. “I think you…”. “I like how…”.
- Greeting cards – These morning meeting cards contain greetings that correspond to a variety of themes. They make it super easy to fit relationship-building into your meeting time.
It is always good to check in with students to see how they are feeling that day.
Here are some ways to do that during morning meetings:
- Emotions clip chart – Encourage students to move their clothespin to whichever face corresponds to how they feel that day.
- Discuss – Students share one good or bad thing that happened to them and why they chose to share that. Point out different emotions and feelings that the child experienced and help them put a name to them.
- Feelings cards – Hold up a card with a face demonstrating a certain emotion and ask the students to tell you what that person is feeling. Ask for examples of when they experienced that emotion.
Sharing during SEL Morning Meetings
Morning meeting time is an ideal time of the day for students to share about themselves. It can build awareness and trust with classmates. The teacher asks a question. Students reflect and share their thoughts and opinions openly while listening respectfully to others.
Here are some ways to encourage sharing during your meeting:
- What would you do? – Present a scenario and have each student answer how they would handle the situation. This is good for discussing bullying, cheating, or other hot topics that might come up in the classroom.
- What are you grateful for? – Each student shares something that they are grateful for that day. Gratitude is a powerful routine to use!
- What does it mean? – Ask each student what something means, such as “What does making eye contact mean?” You can touch on important SEL topics this way.
- Sharing cards – This set of cards makes it fun to get some community building into your classroom. Kids will enjoy these, and it’s already prepared for you!
Include All Students
Remember to include all students in the SEL morning meeting. In a situation where sharing takes place, it can be easy for a few students to dominate the conversation. They may be more extroverted, louder, or needier of attention. We should make sure everyone in the class has an equal voice.
Below are ways to make sure that everyone gets to participate!
- Teaching students to listen – Make sure your students learn to listen respectfully when someone else is speaking.
- Prepare students for answering – By stating the question and allowing for thinking time, those who process things slower have the time they need to respond. By the time the question passes to them, they will be more prepared.
- Don’t force students to answer – If students don’t want to answer a question, give them the chance to skip it. Eventually, they will gain more trust, become more comfortable and willing to share in the future.
SEL Activities for Morning Meetings
Activities for SEL morning meetings are typically short, energetic exercises. These get kids moving their bodies and playing as a group. Students work on following directions and working together with their classmates.
Try these powerful activities during your morning meeting!
- Find a friend – The teacher says to find something you and a friend have in common. It could be the same birthday month, same eye color, same pets, etc. Students approach their classmates and find out if they share that common trait.
- Yoga – Teach a yoga pose to help develop mindfulness and awareness of their body and breath.
- Roleplay – Give students a social situation and have them act it out.
- Play games – Social skills games and activities always bring fun and learning to morning meeting time.
- Activity cards – These cards can be printed or kept as slides to use each day. Kids will enjoy these activities and get to know their classmates better.
Books and Videos on Social-Emotional Topics
You might want to incorporate books or a short video into your SEL morning meeting. These can be powerful tools for teaching important social-emotional lessons.
Here are SEL topics and books and videos ideas to go with them:
Find our complete list of children’s books for a variety of social-emotional learning topics HERE.
A strong morning meeting routine can have great benefits for the classroom. It can help develop important social-emotional skills that will make the classroom a happy, healthier place for everyone.
Morning Meeting Resources for Teachers
Get a whole year’s worth of Morning Meeting SEL slides and cards, and take save time coming up with your own ideas for your meeting time each day! This morning meeting resource features a variety of SEL topics, sharing, greetings, activities, and more for each month.
Get these bonuses: Printable cards that you can grab and use quickly and easily, posters that teach guidelines for each part of your morning meeting, and planner templates to help you plan out your meeting time!
Begin a daily morning meeting or build upon your own with this 100% editable and low-prep classroom meeting resource that targets important social-emotional learning topics.
Free Week of Morning Meeting
Try social-emotional morning meetings in your classroom with this FREE week-long resource! It includes editable PowerPoint and PDF slides, printable cards, and instructions on how to use them. Click the image below to grab a copy!
Today is the day to set up your SEL morning meeting schedule and make sure you are teaching those all-important social-emotional skills!
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