4 Posts That Will Help You Improve Your Morning Messages

Often times, teachers overlook the value that the Morning Message component of a Morning Meeting can have! It's the last part of the meeting, so it is the segue between meeting and the rest of your day. This makes it such a powerful time! Use it to your benefit.

Here are 4 posts with ideas to help you make the most of your morning messages.

1. How To Best Fit Math Into Morning Meetings

If you're feeling like the content areas aren't always involved in your morning meetings as much as you'd like them to be, starting with math is a good idea. Click here or the picture below for some more ideas.

2. How To Quickly Make Morning Messages SENSATIONAL!

My favorite ideas from this post are sharing the pen or reading in different ways. It's so easy, and it takes little to no prep. POOF! Morning message OWNED. Click here or on the picture below to read more.

3. How To Put The Spotlight On Content In Morning Meeting

You'll actually learn some tips for all 4 components of morning meeting on this post! Some ideas are repeated from the last post, but this is a quick, easy read, so I wanted to include it. Plus, I liked giving you extra goodies for greetings, sharing, and activities. Click here or on the picture to read more.

4. How To Craft Fun & Effective Morning Messages

Number 2 is a life saver--especially on crazy days! Read more by clicking here or on the picture below.

I hope these ideas help you use your morning messages to the best of your ability! By the way, if you haven't already subscribed, we'd love to have you! Join our community by signing up in the box right under my bio to the right.

5 Greetings That Will Make Morning Meeting More Exciting

Morning Meeting is easily my favorite time of day. It's when I get to spend the most time enjoying my kids as people rather than as students. Typically, it should be formatted as follows: greeting, share, activity, morning message. It's important that you and your students don't get bored with Morning Meetings; they set the tone for your entire day!

Here are 5 greetings you can use to add some life back into your Morning Meetings and prevent them from feeling stale.

5 Greetings That Will Make Morning Meeting More Exciting

Floppy Fish Greeting
Step 1: The class starts by standing up in a circle. One student stands in the middle of the circle, makes eye contact with another student, and “reels them in” by acting like they have a fishing pole. The student they “reel in” swims over like a fish.
Step 2: The students greet each other in the center of the circle.
Step 3: The student who was acting like the fish becomes the next student reeling in a new student to greet. The last person to be greeted should greet the first person who stood in the middle of the circle.

Sight Word Greeting
Give students a name tag, label, or index card with a sight word written on it. You could even use the words from your actual word wall if they are removable. Have students greet each other using their sight words instead of their names. Want to put a different spin on it? Use vocabulary words or science/social studies words too.

Shoe Greeting
Students take off one shoe, put it in the center of the circle, and take someone else’s shoe. Students greet each other until they find their new shoe’s owner and find their own shoe.

Skip Counting Greeting
Students skip count by a certain number and greet the student that many people away from them. I like to have students high-5 the students in between that they don’t get to greet. This is particularly useful if you have students who like to greet the same classmates every day.

Skip Die Greeting
Students roll a die and skip that number of people in the circle. For example, if you roll a 4, you skip 4 people and greet the 5th person. I like to have students high five the students they skip. The last person to go greets the first person.

I hope you enjoy these 5 greetings! I think Floppy Fish is my current favorite. What's yours? Comment below!

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Why You Need To Use Redirecting Language Every Day

Redirecting language is a powerful tool that can help stop misbehaviors really quickly and prevent them from getting you off track while you teach. Changing my language to incorporate more effective redirecting language was challenging for me, but it has paid off tremendously.

Using redirecting language allows me to spend a significantly smaller amount of time responding to misbehavior than I used to.

Redirecting language is a powerful tool that can help stop misbehaviors really quickly and prevent them from getting you off track while you teach.

According to Responsive Classroom, "keeping teacher language simple and brief when redirecting behavior is the right choice." Your first priority needs to be getting control of your room. You can always check in with individual students later at a more convenient time to discuss expectations.

Your redirecting language can probably use some tweaks if...

  • you've felt like your students have tuned out while you've been talking (maybe the Charlie Brown teacher comes to mind)
  • you feel mean when you tell students what to do
  • you say please or thank you often when asking students to do something
  • you find you redirect students and are met with a power struggle
  • you lose the momentum of your lessons when you have to redirect when teaching

Don't worry if you think you fit into one or more of those categories. I think most teachers do at some point in their careers! Redirecting students is not about being rigid or punitive; it's about regaining control of your classroom and setting boundaries so students can do their best learning. It's simple, respectful, and firm.

Here are some good examples of really effective redirecting language. 

"Stop. Take a break."
"We use kind words in this classroom. Those weren't kind words."
"Push in your chair."

Be mindful that if any of these are said with a frustrated tone of voice or some sassy body language, you've probably lost a lot of impact you could have had. Do you see how short those words are? No time is spent lecturing about the proper behavior. Just briefly give the direction for students to follow. It's so much easier!!

Also, did you notice that I'm not saying "please" or "thank you?" That seems to imply that following a direction is optional. It's not optional! "Will you please raise your hand?" is not meant to be a request, so don't make it one. Say, "Raise your hand," instead.

I also like to connect redirecting language to the rules if I'm having trouble vocalizing what I want quickly. One of our student-generated rules this year is, "Show self-control." I might just say, "Follow our rule show self control." Because we've discussed the rules in depth, my class will know what that means. If you haven't done that, you might need to say something more like, "Listen quietly."

HAPPY REDIRECTING, EVERYONE! I promise you will notice your lessons moving smoothly when you don't have to stop your lesson and redirect in the moment. Even if it feels mean at first, I promise it isn't. Your students won't think it's mean either.

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Why You Need To Use Reinforcing Language Every Day

Reinforcing language is a powerful tool that can make your instruction SO much more meaningful. When I changed the way I used reinforcing language, the shift I noticed in my students was drastic and almost immediate.

In fact, I'd even go as far as to say that the majority of the language you use when students are working should probably be reinforcing language.

This one simple language skill will significantly impact your students for the better! - A Word On Third

According to Responsive Classroom, "teachers use reinforcing language to show that they see students’ positive academic and behavioral efforts and accomplishments. Their words are specific and descriptive; their tone is upbeat and encouraging."

Remember to frame your language in a way that does not put an emphasis on getting your approval. For example, "I like how you used quotation marks so your reader would know who is talking," could simply be changed to, "You used quotation marks so your reader would know who is talking." With a warm tone, this still conveys that you're proud, but it takes the emphasis away from pleasing you and places it on doing great work. 

Reinforcing language is my secret weapon. Here's why I think you should use reinforcing language too if you don't already.

It builds confidence and community.

When a teacher says, "Good job," it's nice, but it doesn't give any substantial feedback. Good job with what exactly? What do you want the child to replicate? When a child hears the exact, specific skill they did a good job with named, they will probably want to continue doing it. They'll feel recognized for their hard work.

When you can give that specific feedback, in social or academic situations, you are building a community of learners. You show what you value to your students. Teachers can get stuck in the rut of correcting mistakes too often, especially since we were probably taught that way as kids. Be mindful of how damaging that might be to a students' self-esteem--especially if it's already low to begin with!

It prevents misbehavior. 

Confident students are going to behave better. We'd all rather take a preventative approach to classroom management rather than a reactive one, right? 

Students who may be unsure of what to do but then get specific feedback about what they did well will continue doing that thing well. Oh, hey, look! That builds confidence!

I know you can see the correlation between reinforcing language and preventing misbehavior, so I will leave it at that.

It deepens understanding of concepts.

If you can walk around at some point during independent work time and and simply name what you see, you are making a huge impact on your students. Try to do this at least once per day (or even a couple of times per week). For all intents and purposes, you'll be having a bunch of mini compliment conferences and guiding students forward in the right direction with a burst of positivity.

This is especially useful when you know a student was struggling with something. It's so important to celebrate struggling students and validate the hard work they did by positively reinforcing progress towards an ultimate goal or meeting that goal. 

HAPPY REINFORCING, EVERYONE! I promise you will notice a huge difference in your students' independence and an improvement in your students' academic performance when you consistently use this type of language. If you want more detailed information on how to incorporate reinforcing language into your day, check this post.

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