Morning Meetings, Check-Ins, and Social-Emotional Learning
I am an advocate of integrating socio-emotional learning into the classroom.
It’s not enough to simply fill students’ brains with facts. A successful education demands that their character be developed as well. That’s where social and emotional learning comes in. SEL is the process of helping students develop the skills to manage their emotions, resolve conflict nonviolently, and make responsible decisions.
Research shows that promoting social and emotional skills leads to reduced violence and aggression among children, higher academic achievement, and an improved ability to function in schools and in the workplace. Students who demonstrate respect for others and practice positive interactions, and whose respectful attitudes and productive communication skills are acknowledged and rewarded, are more likely to continue to demonstrate such behavior. Students who feel secure and respected can better apply themselves to learning. (Why Champion Social and Emotional Learning?)
Implementing morning meetings is a method to do so.
Today, many children in kindergartens, elementary and middle schools around the country launch their school days in Morning Meetings. All classroom members—grown-ups and students—gather in a circle, greet each other, listen and respond to each other’s news, practice academic and social skills, and look forward to the events in the day ahead. Morning Meeting is a particular and deliberate way to begin the day, a way that builds a community of caring and motivated learners. (Morning Meeting: A Powerful Way to Begin the Day)
See ideas for morning meetings at http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/category/category/morning-meeting.
I used morning meetings with the gifted elementary students I taught. I taught each group of about 20 students, grades 3rd through 5th, for a full day/one day a week. We began our days with morning meetings. The meetings included a check-in where students reported how they doing and feeling, and if anything significant was happening in their lives. To keep the students’ interest and to introduce unit concepts, I had them create artifacts for these morning meeting check-ins (see below). The goals and outcomes of these check-ins included:
- Increased emotional awareness and intelligence
- Increased social intelligence as learners developed listening and empathy skills
- The ability to represent thoughts and feelings in metaphoric form
- Concrete, student-created examples of content area concepts
Here are some examples of what I have done in my class . . .
Morning meetings started with a beat of the drum:
Use of feelings cards:
Use of student-created feeling masks
Use of feelings books:
Choose a book cover that represents how you are doing and feeling:
Create a hat of a literary character to represent how you are doing and feeling:
Create a tangram image that represents how you are doing and feeling. I had about two dozen small tangram sets and decks of cards with tangram puzzles.
Construct a 3-D geometry symbol of how you are doing and feeling. The school had a die cut for 3-D origami. I cut out a variety of shapes. Students, then, selected those they want to create for their check-in.
Select a constellation that represents how you are doing and feeling:
Create your own constellation that represents how you are doing and feeling:
Select a bone of the human body that represents how you are doing and feeling:
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