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    By i teach 3rd

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    Hi Mandy,
    I started morning meetings this year and I love them! The kids do, too. Whenever we have a schedule change, they are very disappointed when meeting is shortened or canceled altogether.
    I got "The Morning Meeting Book" this summer, and it was full of great ideas. I take about 10-15 minutes max each morning first thing. We do pledges in the meeting circle.
    What I have seen affect the class most is the morning greeting. We went over greeting rules alot, especially making eye contact. If these kids have to actually address each other respectfully and interested, they actually become interested in the person and what they have to say.
    Also, make sure that you seat them where you want them initially. I didn't do this at first, so it really defeated the outcome. They still sat by their "friends", and didn't get to know others.
    Once I started placing them randomly, it got much smoother. Now I just tell them to sit beside someone they didn't sit by the day before, and they sort themselves!
    I let 3 students share something each day - not an object, but something that happened to them or something that is going to happen. You don't want it to become show and tell. This lets the other kids know what is going on in their lives, and promotes an interest that wasn't there before. I just love it when I hear kids asking for follow-up about so and so's grandma or whatever the next day.
    THe other bonus is that they are learning how to listen - something my kids have really benefitted from. After the child has shared, they ask for questions or comments. I limit this to 3 as well. It is amazing to hear what insightful questions they come up with!
    The other benefit of sharing is that I don't have kids trying to tell me about their activities during learning time. I simply tell them to wait until their sharing time (or recess).
    Give it a try! I am sure that you will find it makes your day smoother, and your class behave more like a community (BTW I recommend trying to do it in your first 12 minutes. It is a super way to start the day).
    Sorry if this is so long....

    Good luck!

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