Class Meeting Greetings in Action: A Video Round-Up

Are you looking for some new greetings to spice up your daily class meetings? Here are some awesome examples of Class or Morning Meeting Greetings in action!

1. My name is ___ and I can do this! Love this greeting! Students individually introduce themselves and perform a unique action. The rest of the class repeats and mirrors the action.

2. Dice Greeting. Instead of greeting their direct neighbor, have students roll a die then greet the student sitting that number of spaces away from them.

Knock, Knock. Great call and response greeting for practicing individual speaking skills in front of a group!

One-Minute Greeting. Quick, simple, and to the point. Find a partner, look them in the eye, greet them by name, and shake their hand.

Pass It Around. Students sit in a circle and pass a special item while greeting their neighbors. Would be fun to use themed items throughout the year!

Partner Skills Match. Students are randomly given sets of matching partner cards, such as fractions and pictorial representations. Students find and greet their match before returning to the circle. Love how this could incorporate so many different learning skills!

Hope these have inspired you to shake things up with your Class or Morning Meetings! If you have any favorite greetings that you use with your class, please share them! My students and I always love to try new ones!

If you liked reading this post and want to learn more about Classroom Meetings or Morning Meetings, take a look at the following blog posts. Thanks so much, and happy teaching!


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Top Teacher Finds for Amazon Prime Day!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. Please read the full disclosure here.

Are you an Amazon Prime Teacher like me? It seems like the busier life gets, the less time I actually have to go out to my favorite stores (sorry, Target! I miss you, though!). Since this teacher-mama is always on the go, Amazon Prime is literally my new best friend! Since Prime Day starts tomorrow (officially--some deals start up tonight!), I thought I'd share some of my fave teacher tools that are going to be up for great discounts over the next twenty-four hours!

1. Flair Pens--Of Course! These bold and bright babies are my absolute faves, and I am soooo excited to snag them up for a great price! The only hard part now is deciding on Candy Pop, Tropical Vacation, or both!!

2. Post-it Tabletop Easel Pad--Perfect for anchor charts, guided reading lessons, or even small group work, I love how this paper is self-stick, plus the easel makes it really easy to use while teaching!

3. Swingline Paper Trimmer--I invested in one of these paper cutters a few years ago, and it has been one of the best purchases ever! It makes cutting bulletin board pieces, student desk plates, pocket chart cards, and more a breeze! This one is great quality as I've used mine a ton over the past few years, and it is still sharp and working well today!
4.  CamelBak eddy .75L Water Bottle--I don't know about you, but I drink a ton of water during the school day. I love how this water bottle has a closable lid, and with its fun colors, it is sure to brighten up the school day!

5. Exercise Ball--If you're big into flexible seating or are interested in giving it a try with a minimal investment, exercise balls are one of the easiest ways to add low-cost, alternative seating choices into your classroom. These come with their own pump and are extra durable, so they can take on even the most wiggly kiddos!

Well, I'm off to continue filling up my shopping cart! Let me know if you find any other fantastic classroom steals! Happy Prime Day and have fun shopping!

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How to Start Building Relationships with Students Even Before the First Day of School!

Have you gotten your class list yet? Are you torn somewhere between the excitement of a fresh start with a new batch of kiddos and the uncertainty of what this year will bring? I always love to see those sweet names all lined up in alphabetical order, but as soon as those lists are published, my brain starts going a mile a minute!

I have so many ideas for this school year--so many new things I'd like to try to ensure that I create a positive community and culture within my classroom! I am pumped to meet a fresh batch of fourth graders, but then the jitters begin to set in...

The butterflies start fluttering in my stomach as I wonder things like...Will this group get along well? Who will the strong leaders be? Will "that kiddo" I heard about last year really be THAT challenging? How will I meet all of their needs? Will I be able to make a difference to each of them?

One of my absolute favorite quotes is, "Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation." Each new school year, we have the opportunity to be successful in creating a community of deep thinkers and compassionate classmates. Rather than worrying about whether success is going to happen, I love how this quote encourages us to act and prepare for success in advance.

So, instead of worrying about what kind of classroom community you're going to have this year or how the school year will pan out, here are five steps you can take to build relationships with students and start building your classroom community even before the school year starts!

1. Create your classroom meeting routine.

One of the most important parts of the school day in my classroom is our classroom meeting time. I really believe this time is essential to my classroom community's success, so I dedicate about 15 minutes per day to class meetings. The classroom meeting routine that works best for me is to have an independent Morning Message during morning work time, then a group meeting that features a Greeting, Thanks & Thoughts, Share & Shine, and a Talk-It-Out Topic Time. If you'd like to read about my classroom meeting routines in more detail, check out my blog post here.

2. Plan community-building activities for the first few weeks of school.

Before you dive into your curriculum for the year, take some time to provide opportunities for your students to get to know one another and to build relationships. The flexible schedule in the first few weeks of school provides the perfect time for this! I love scouring blogs and Pinterest for new icebreakers and community building exercises over the summer, and I have a full Pinterest board of ideas you're welcome to check out!

One of our favorite class activities every year is the All About Me Backpack. Each student creates their own backpack, which features answers to several getting-to-know-you type questions. Then, the students fill their backpacks with photos and small memorabilia. Over the first two weeks of school, the students and I take turns sharing our backpacks with the class, and it is amazing what we learn about each other during this time! You can check out my All About Me Backpack here.

3. Create a home away from home where your students have a place in your classroom.

I like to think of my classroom as a shared space with my students, so I want them to feel at home in the place where they will spend most of their days. Because I want the classroom to be "ours," I simply set up my desk and the bare bones of the room such as our library, work and meeting spaces. I leave lots of space available on my walls to be filled later with student work, and I also have picture frames displayed that are ready to be filled with images of our class. This makes our room feel so much more welcoming, and the kids love to reflect on past memories as they see the photos throughout the year!

4. Get helpful information from last year's teachers, but give each child a fresh start.

I don't know if your school is like this or not, but in every school I've worked at, once class lists are posted, there is a lot of "teacher talk." You know, well-intentioned teachers sharing information about their former students with their new teachers. In many ways, this information can be essential to ensuring the success of a student transitioning from one grade level to the next. Perhaps the student is on a behavior plan that needs to be continued or maybe there is important health or family information that needs to passed along. If you are the recipient of this information, I encourage you to accept it gracefully and thankfully, but keep in mind that the student deserves a fresh start each year. Even if "that kid" is placed in your classroom, you want to set him or her up for success, so I encourage you to use the shared information to help him or her as you best see fit, but to also allow him or her the chance to have a clean slate. You never know, sometimes a fresh start with a positive and supportive environment is just what a child needs to turn things around!

5. Reach out to students and parents in advance.

Don't you just love getting mail? I don't mean bills and the everyday junk we all get, but actual cards or letters meant just for you?! I love the excitement of opening and reading letters and cards written personally to me, and I can tell you from experience, your students (and their parents) will too! Each summer, I send a letter to my new students introducing myself and welcoming them to my class, and if possible, I highly recommend this. At "Meet the Teacher Night," the students and their parents have a connection with me before they even enter the classroom. Many students and parents will start conversations with me about ideas I shared in my letter, and it is such a comforting feeling for them (and for me as well) to already have had the ice broken before we've even met! If you need ideas for your own student or parent letters, check out my editable template here.

Now that you've read my five tips for building relationships before the school year starts, I hope you'll give one or two a try and let me know how things go! Or, if you have any tried and true tips for building community with your own students, feel free to share them! I really believe that the time we take to prepare for building community can make a huge difference!

If you loved this post and would like to learn more about Classroom Management or How to Build Classroom Community, check out my other posts below!


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Classroom Meeting Routines that Build Community in Under 15 Minutes a Day!

Build Community with Class Meeting Routines

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. Please read the full disclosure here.

So you've heard of classroom meetings or morning meetings and aren't sure where to start or how to make them run easily and smoothly? I've got some simple routines to help you get your classroom meetings off to a great start! In no time, you'll watch your class transform into a loving and caring community! And, eventually, these meetings will even run without you! Yes! Even in the lower grades--it can be done! 

First off, routine is everything! I like to keep my meetings to no more than 15 minutes or so, and I like for my students to be engaged and participating the whole time! In order to stick to this tight timeline and to keep everybody focused, we use the same routine every. single. day! 
If you've read the Responsive Classroom's The Morning Meeting Book,  you'll know that the four basic parts of a Morning Meeting are the "Greeting, Sharing, Group Activity, and Morning Message." If you haven't read this book, I highly, highly recommend it! It gives amazing background information and lots of tips for running meetings smoothly! Plus, it has fun ideas for greetings and group activities!

Because of time constraints and my own personal preference, I have tweaked my meetings a little bit to better fit my teaching style and our daily schedule. In my classroom, our meetings consist of a Morning Message, Greeting, Thanks and Thoughts, Share and Shine Time, and either a Group Activity or a Talk-It-Out Topic.
Our Morning Message is up on the board first thing when students enter the room, and since my fourth graders are independent readers, they read the message and respond as soon as they unpack for the day. In lower grades, such as when I taught first grade, I always had my message on the board during student arrival, but we'd read it together during our actual meeting time. The message generally consists of special events for the day and, occasionally, a quick question the kids can respond to with a sticky note or on the whiteboard.

To signal for the start of our meeting, I like to use a song. In first grade, my Meeting Manager for the week would start singing the words to, "The More We Get Together..." and the rest of the class would join in the singing and gather at the carpet in a circle. In fourth grade, my Meeting Manager gets to choose a song from our class playlist to start the meeting. This year, our favorite songs were Heroes (We Could Be Heroes) by Alesso and Can't Stop the Feelin' by Justin Timberlake. The Meeting Manager plays the song, and everybody puts away their morning work and gets in a circle ready to go by the time the song is over. I encourage the students to sit near someone different each day, so they aren't always next to the same neighbors during our meetings.
After we're all in a circle, the Meeting Manager gets everyone's attention and tells the class what type of Greeting we're going to do. (Yep, I participate, too!) At the beginning of the year, we practice all of our options for our greetings, and depending on the class, the options are handshake, high five, pinky shake, elbow shake, or something else the kiddos come up with--one class I had was obsessed with "The Dab!"

The Meeting Manager gives the first greeting, and we just go around the circle greeting our neighbors--this usually takes under a minute. The most important idea I always stress is that students must smile and greet each other using their first names. You would be shocked how many kiddos would get away without knowing their classmates' first names if we'd let them! The rule is, if you don't know someone's first name, you politely ask, "Would you please tell me your name?" before giving the official greeting. When we have new students join our class, we always greet them by saying "Good Morning, ____. My name is ____" so they don't have to ask everyone for their names that first week or so.
Once our greeting is over, the Manager asks if there are any "Thanks or Thoughts" to be shared. This is a time where students give compliments or appreciations, or even feedback about how things seem to be going in our classroom community. At the beginning of the year (and sometimes in the middle if we've forgotten), I model giving specific statements of thanks when students have gone above and beyond to help someone have a great day. The students practice using their peers' names once again, and they list the specific behavior or incident that made a positive impact on them. 

The students are encouraged to say things like, "Thank you, ____, for helping me to tie my shoe this morning," or "I appreciated you, ____, when you invited me to join your group today since I didn't have a partner" rather than things like, "Thanks for being nice to me" or "I like your shirt today."

Sometimes the students won't have any specific examples to give themselves, so I'll ask if anyone witnessed anyone else doing something helpful or kind. Then, that third party will share something positive such as, "Today I noticed _____ picking up trash that was on the floor" or I will sometimes even share something that I witnessed and would like to highlight.

All in all, we usually share a few of these, so it takes about 2-3 minutes of our meeting time.
Next is Share and Shine time. I really wasn't sure if my big kiddos would like this as much as my first graders did, but they sure do! Our Share Time is not a show and tell time, but just an opportunity for the kids to share something that they'd like to tell the class about their personal or school lives. Sometimes kiddos will share about their weekend fun, sports games, troubles at home, classroom successes, or anything else that is on their minds. As long as the topic follows school rules, they are allowed to share whatever they'd like. Sometimes kiddos just want to be heard, and this means sooo much to them! It also really helps to build the class's sense of community as the students really come to know and support one another personally.

To manage Sharing time, I allow students to sign up for a time slot once per week, which means I have about 4 students share per day. They each get about one minutes to share while the rest of the class practices active listening skills. This takes about 4-5 minutes.

The last 5-7 minutes is pretty flexible. If any students have suggested a Talk-It-Out Topic, we discuss the issue that the student has brought up and the class gives suggestions and sometimes role-plays how to go about addressing the issue. I also occasionally use this time to address issues I've seen in the classroom or to model social skills such as how to give an I-Statement, give a sincere apology, or work with a peer for conflict resolution. 
If we do not have any Talk-It-Out Topics, we use this as our Group Activity time. This might be a quick game of Heads-Up, 7-Up, a low-prep STEM activity, or a GoNoodle video, which the kids always love!

So, that's that--Morning Message, Greeting, Thanks and Thoughts, Share and Shine, and Talk-It-Out Topic or Group Activity Time! In just about 15-20 minutes per day, you can have amazing classroom meetings that will forever change your classroom community! It usually takes a few weeks of modeling and leading the meetings for things to get going smoothly, but after that, I hand the reigns over to the Meeting Manager and just scaffold support in leading the meetings as needed. By early fall, the students can run the meetings independently (even little learners!), and when it is time for a substitute teacher or a change in schedule, I guarantee your students will still be begging to squeeze in their meeting time! They truly love it, and as a teacher, so do I!

Build Community with Class Meeting Routines

If you loved this post and want to learn more about Building Classroom Community, check out these other posts below!

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#BESTYEAREVER Back to School Giveaway!

Looking to build community and start your school year off on the right foot? I've teamed up with six other wonderful teachers to bring you some amazing back to school resources for FREE! We want to help you have the #BestSchoolYearEver! To enter, use the rafflecopter link below--for each "follow" you will get one entry towards winning this fabulous package!

What will you win?! Click each image to see more!

Build classroom community daily with Cait's Cool School's Question of the Day!

Editable: Thanks for "popping" in tags! Perfect for meet the teacher or open house!

 Your own First Week Survival Packet from Shelley Reese!

An adorable "All About Me" Backpack Craftivity from Once Upon a Learning Adventure!

A perfect Back to School Flip Book to help your students set goals from Samson's Shoppe!

Last but not least, have a blast turning your students into SPYS! They'll complete missions using random acts of kindness to build a fun classroom culture!

Enter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A Party in the USA! 4 Days of Summer Savings!

Parades, Popsicles, and Patriotism...It's a Party in the U.S.A. and I've teamed up with some great friends to help you celebrate with some fantastic deals! To find these awesome deals on TPT, click the pictures below or search #partyintheusaTPT to find these deals and more!

Join us for 4 days of Savings!  Check out the details below!

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Day 1: Sweet Land of Savings
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We hope you enjoy these SUPER SUMMER SAVINGS!


Happy Fourth of July!!!!


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