4 Reasons to Start the School Day with Morning Meetings

Have you considered implementing morning meetings in your school or class? You should.

Schools benefit from this practice in many ways. The quick, 20-minute sessions strengthen the teacher-student connection; reduce bullying, absences, and behavior incidents; and improve school culture.

Here are the four key components of morning meetings and ways meetings reinforce social and emotional learning (SEL) concepts.

4 Elements of Morning Meetings

Responsive Classroom, a popular teaching framework that improves school culture through evidence-based practices, created morning meetings. Just like the name suggests, morning meetings take place at the start of the school day. Teachers allocate the first 20 minutes of class for constructive conversations and preparing students for the day ahead. During this time, students aren’t just “shooting the breeze.” They’re actually building and practicing many important skills that are needed for academic success.

There are four basic components to morning meetings:

  • Greetings, where teachers and students welcome each other
  • Time for engaged sharing, where students and teachers share about something in their lives; the rest of the group practices active listening and asks follow-up questions
  • Activities that promote teamwork and give students additional time to practice social and emotional skills
  • A morning message, which is a short note from the teacher that explains the day’s events and objectives

4 Ways Morning Meetings Support SEL

Morning meetings:

  1. Strengthen Connections and Relationship Skills: Students practice communication skills during their time to share and during Q/A. They also learn how to listen, cooperate with others, and form rewarding relationships with teachers and peers.
  2. Increase Self-Confidence: Sharing personal stories can be scary. Morning meetings provide a safe and caring environment that encourages students to open up and build trust in others, which increases their confidence.
  3. Promote Social Awareness: According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the four central areas of social awareness include perspective-taking, empathy, appreciating diversity, and respect for others. Morning meetings teach all of these skills and also give students opportunities to practice them in real-life situations.
  4. Encourage Positive Behavior Toward Others: Morning meetings promote a positive school culture where everyone’s voice and opinions matter. This in turn creates a norm around the need to respect others.

The key to successful morning meetings is consistency. Morning meetings must become a normal and expected part of the school day for maximum effectiveness. It may take some time to find a rhythm, but once it’s established, you should see fewer behavior issues, stronger connections with and between students, and ready-to-learn students.

Morning meetings are much more than just “free” or social time. Spending 20 minutes at the start of the school day to help students talk through issues they may be having and practice social and emotional skills can have positive effects on their academic achievement.