Learning by Observing Colleagues in Action

It's Morning Meeting time in Angie Morrison’s second grade classroom. As they do each morning, Angie and the children gather in a circle to greet each other and begin their day together. A comforting sense of routine settles over the group. But something’s different this morning, too: Seated quietly outside the circle are several teachers from other classrooms. The visiting teachers jot a note or two as they carefully observe Angie and the children moving through their meeting.
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Including Wyatt

Morning Meeting is about to start. With eye contact and a head nod, Wyatt chooses a friend to ring the chime that signals our gathering. We come together in record time. There…
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Ending the Year on a Positive Note

Question: What's something you do with students to end the year on a positive note?A: A few years ago I decided to make sure my class would have time for saying goodbye…
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Welcoming Families of Different Cultures

An adapted excerpt from Parents & Teachers Working Together One of the enduring truths about teaching is that to teach children well, we have to know them: what they’re passionate about, what…
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Collaboration and Consistency Ease Moving Pains

“You can see our school from the bridge,” a fifth grader proudly points out about the recently renovated Regional Multicultural Magnet School (RMMS). Built into a hill overlooking the New London waterfront,…
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Bulletin Board Highlights Responsive Classroom Approach

Early this school year, our director, an enthusiastic supporter of the Responsive Classroom approach, suggested that I create a display in our school’s main entryway to introduce the approach’s core ideas. I…
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Hopes, Goals, and Classroom Rules

On a winter afternoon, a group of third graders has settled down for a class discussion. Their teacher, Nancy Kovacic, holds the book the children made last fall—pictures and words embodying their…
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Is Homework Working?

It's hard for many children to have the right conditions at home for doing homework successfully. Yet teachers often must give homework. What are some things you do about this?
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What Do Insects Do All Day?

Four classes of second graders have just begun a new science unit on insects at the University School of Nashville in Tennessee. I and the other three second-grade teachers have each invited…
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Teachers Become a Community of Learners

When each school in her district was required to convene a literacy team, Karen Casto, then principal of Penn Valley Elementary School, saw it as an opportunity for the whole school to…
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A Sustaining Routine

Megan’s Great Uncle John was dying of cancer, and she needed to share this distressing experience with her fourth grade classmates. During a Morning Meeting Sharing in October, Megan explained that her…
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Schoolwide Rules Creation

Sheffield Elementary, a grade 3–6 school in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, faced a challenge familiar to many educators: how to develop a more consistent approach to discipline from classroom to classroom and in…
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Working with “Specials” Teachers

Q: "Specials" teachers often see each child for only one hour a week. What's one way that you and a special area teacher have worked together to help him/her get to know…
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Hallway Greeters Make the Morning Transition Safe and Pleasant

School Spotlight: Dame School, Concord, New Hampshire
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Helping Others

“Helping others in need” is a theme I like to use for focusing classroom activities with upper-grade students. The recent Asian tsunami disaster offered a good opportunity for an activity. It connected…
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Investing in Parents During the First Six Weeks of School

Teachers work hard during the first six weeks of school to get to know their students and to establish a safe and welcoming classroom environment. This early investment makes the whole school…
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Themed Sharing during Morning Meeting

Question: Do you have a theme that you like to use occasionally to guide Sharing during Morning Meeting? What makes it work well with your students?
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Guest Teacher Handbook

After you’ve been teaching for even a little while, you’ll probably find yourself in this situation: You’ll be attending a reading workshop tomorrow. Today, you talk with your students about how they…
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Teachers Learn from Visiting Each Other’s Morning Meetings

"Good morning, friendly learners. Today we have a visitor joining us for Morning Meeting!” This is an announcement that students hear frequently when they begin their Morning Meeting at School 14. Every…
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Crowning Day for Ks

Our school celebrates and welcomes our new kindergartners with a special all-school Morning Meeting affectionately known as “Crowning Day.” Planning for Crowning Day begins before the kindergartners start school. The fifth graders…
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Academic Choice

An adapted excerpt from Learning Through Academic Choice, a book by Paula Denton.
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Looking Ahead to Next Year

For students, teachers, and parents alike, few events bring more hope and nervousness than the start of a new school year. As the summer winds down, many teachers begin to have conflicting…
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News and Announcement Charts

Question: What’s one activity you’ve found effective for the interactive part of the Morning Meeting News and Announcements chart?
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Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences Keep the Focus on the Child

On a sunny October afternoon, kindergartner Chloe welcomes her mom into her classroom for a conference. Together they review a map Chloe had created with symbols representing the activities that the class…
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Buddy Teachers

It’s language arts time in Mr. Jeffrey’s third grade class. The children have settled into their writing assignments. Mr. Jeffrey is working with a small group when he notices Lucia across the…
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Power in Speech

One of the most valuable things we can teach students is how to assert themselves in respectful ways. In spontaneous and planned moments throughout the day, teachers can work with students to…
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Classroom Rules Q&A

In many classrooms, after the children and teacher create classroom rules during the first weeks of school, they revisit the rules at various points during the year. When do you do this…
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