Monday, February 22, 2016

How To Craft Fun & Effective Morning Messages

How To Craft Fun & Effective Morning Messages


Hi, Teachers!

Today marks the beginning of week 4 of the month of love. Every week this month, in honor of Valentine's Day and the month of LOVE, I have been hosting a link party about my favorite Responsive Classroom practice: Morning Meeting! This week we'll focus on the message component of morning meeting. If you want to read more about what morning meeting is and why you should use it in your room, check out the first post I wrote for the Month of Love link up here.



When I write my morning messages, I think about a few things. 
1. What academic or social-emotional concepts do my students need to practice more?
2. What is special about the day in terms of activities or learning objectives?
3. How much time will students have to read and answer the morning message?
I always have kids interact with the message, but if I'm short on time, I might write something like, "Be thinking about..." or have kids make a tally mark to vote on something. If I have more time, they might jot their answer on a post-it note and stick it to our message.

Here are my tips for creating fun but effective morning messages for your students every morning.

1. Try an inquiry-based approach.


Responsive Classroom loves interactive modeling because it puts the ownership on students to notice what is going on. If you are working to support a certain skill (academic or social-emotional), why not have kids figure out what makes something special? A few weeks ago, I was working to get kids to flesh out their written notes during reader's workshop. I popped some of the post-its they wrote during reading (which we refer to as "think notes") on the morning message one morning and asked them to notice what was so great about them. They stuff they came up with was amazing! After a short discussion during meeting, I noticed a really big difference in their written responses to reading, and I made some students feel really proud that their work was on display too.

2. Prepare students for something that might be unusual or difficult for them.

For example, if you have an assembly one day or a substitute teacher coming in, use the morning message to prepare them for it ahead of time. You might write, "Be thinking about what respectful behavior during an assembly looks and sounds like," or "How can you take care of yourself, our classroom, and our guest teacher while I am away?" During Morning Meeting, you (or the guest teacher) can have a discussion about it.

3. Practice math skills.

This is one of my favorite ways to use a morning message. If you're having students answer a specific question, they can tally their results or create a bar graph if you tape some graph paper to your chart. Then you can analyze the data and use it during math class! You could have students jot down some missing factor problems on a post-it note and have them write how to solve it on the back. The possibilities are endless!

If you're interested in learning more about Morning Messages specifically, I recommend that you check out this book:


I just ordered it a few days ago, and it's already a favorite! It'll show you so many new ways to put the spark back into your messages. There's also a grades 3-5 version available.


Now it's your turn to share your ideas! The only rules of the linkup are that you must:
  • Include the above image and a link back to my blog.
  • Be a good blogger and leave feedback on at least 1 other blog post.
  • Share your strategy for the component of Morning Meeting that the week focuses on.
I invite you to add your link below. :) No blog? No problem! Share your ideas in the comments then! Other teachers will benefit from your ideas. And if you like my ideas, make sure you enter your email on the side bar where it says "Don't miss a post!" so my blog posts will go straight to your email.

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