Monday, May 2, 2016

How To Quickly Make Morning Messages SENSATIONAL!

How To Quickly Make Morning Messages SENSATIONAL! with A Word On Third

Do you ever get bored during your Morning Meetings? Ever feel like your same old, predictable pattern is getting a bit... tired?

Well, if you're bored, your kids are bored too! YEAH, I SAID IT. It's ok, though. We've all been there.  Today I want to share some of my favorite tips on how to make your Morning Meetings more exciting! In particular, I'm going to focus on your Morning Message.

As I've shared in the past, Morning Messages are the fourth component of a Morning Meeting. According to Responsive Classroom, your meeting should be structured as follows during a typical day:

1. Greeting
2. Share
3. Activity
4. Morning Message (previously known as News & Announcements)

I've always found that I've had the most trouble keeping my Morning Messages interesting. The content was different and interesting each day, but when we read and discussed it, I found us falling into the same pattern each day. That told me it was time to get spunky!! Here are my favorite ways to keep your Morning Message from getting stale:

1. Refer to previous learning.
If your students worked on something for homework or worked on something yesterday in class, what did they learn? This can be a great jumping off point for what is happening after your meeting too! You might even push your kids to try writing on some type of graphic organizer, like a Venn Diagram, to show information they've learned.

How To Quickly Make Morning Messages SENSATIONAL! with A Word On Third


2. Take the class' pulse.
This is a nice way to see if you need to review something and to ask students questions about what they're feeling. Make sure to phrase your question in a way that will get you the answers you need. I might write, "What is still puzzling for you about fractions?" instead of "Do you have questions about fractions?" because the first assumes there is room for growth and the later doesn't. It is also more inclusive because all students are placed into the category of having a "next step." You might even ask the kids to make a tally about what they want to learn about, what they are wondering about, what subject they are most confident in, etc.

3. Involve two subject areas.
If I'm asking kids to do some math, like graph an answer or make some tallies, is there a way I can involve science or social-emotional growth at the same time? You might decide to ask a question like, "How many chemicals did you test during our science experiment yesterday?" I love to ask questions about cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.

How To Quickly Make Morning Messages SENSATIONAL! with A Word On Third
Can you combine reading and math? Students need to make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

4. Read the messages in different ways.
One day you might choral read. Maybe the next day you will have two groups take turns reading each sentence. You might use different voices for the message. Maybe you even have a challenge in which each student reads one word and the class tries to focus on reading fluently. That's actually really hard and the class will have to work together to do that!

Just be careful not to make this like round robin reading, and let kids practice more than once so they can get a feel for fluent reading. You might even need to make a plan for what should happen if someone makes a mistake reading.

5. Share the pen.
I like my students to help me identify adjectives, find synonyms, edit my messages, and more. I let them draw all over the message on many days. You might prepare the students by leaving a short "PS: There are a few mistakes in this message. Be ready to share them at meeting." or something at the bottom.

One thing I love to do is make each message a giant birthday card if it's a student's birthday! We write something like, "Today is X's birthday. We will celebrate him today during meeting. Write a birthday message to X." You might need to review or discuss what an appropriate message would be.

6. Send the Morning Message home each night.
I used to write my messages on a dry-erase board or have it posted on the smart board. If you can write it on chart paper, I find it becomes so much more valuable for the kids. My kids take turns taking home the message every night. I find that they become important tools in the kids' games of school, special wall decorations, and more! I'm so happy that my kids like these! If kids are indifferent, parents still get a snapshot into a typical day.


So those are my tips for you! Which are you going to try in your room? Tell me about it! I want to hear what you're thinking. Do you have another tip you like to use that you didn't see on this post? Share that below too!

If you are one of my regular readers, you might have noticed that I didn't post on Thursday. That's because... MR. WORD ON THIRD AND I ARE OFFICIALLY HOME OWNERS NOW! WAHOOOO!! We closed on our new home on the 29th. We're totally excited, but we are moving on Saturday. That means I probably won't be posting this Thursday either! For now until things calm down, I'll just be posting on Mondays. I'll make sure to post quick tips on my Instagram account, though! Here is my new home.
So that's where I'll be on Saturday! What questions do you have about Morning Meetings? What is tricky for you? Share below!

2 comments:

  1. I am so excited about your new house - it's beautiful! I love the idea of sending home the MOrning Messages - I usually just recycle them, but I bet the kids would enjoy showing their families - great idea!

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    1. Thank you so much, Susan! :) It means a lot that you are excited for me!!

      Yes, I think sending home morning messages is really cool too. I never thought of it until my first Responsive Classroom trainer told us she did that. I thought it was the coolest idea! I really do feel like it adds more to my community. Please let me know how you end up liking it! Hopefully everyone in your class can still bring one message home before the end of the year! :)

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