Morning Meeting Visits: Sharing Ideas and Insights

Morning Meeting Visits: Sharing Ideas and Insights

Photograph by Jeff Woodward.I enjoy planning Morning Meetings for my students, and each year I see how beneficial these gatherings are in creating a positive classroom community. I’ve also found that sharing and being exposed to new Morning Meeting ideas is a great way to keep things fresh, deepen my practice, and learn from other teachers. To ensure that my colleagues and I got that rejuvenating exposure, my school implemented Morning Meeting visits as one fun way to broaden our Morning Meeting experience.

Once teachers had established their own Morning Meeting routines, the visits began. A few classroom teachers at a time received a prearranged schedule showing which Morning Meetings they would participate in each day. While a teacher is away visiting, a special area teacher or an administrator would plan and facilitate Morning Meetings in their classrooms.

These enlightening and energizing exchanges helped us improve our practice and enhance our relationships with our colleagues. If you’d like to try Morning Meeting visits, here are some things to think about:

1.  Invest planning time

Our Responsive Classroom team worked with administrators to create a Morning Meeting visit schedule spanning a few weeks. That way, each teacher had a turn to enjoy the visits and we had enough staff members to cover their Morning Meetings.

2. Have a focus

Teacher visitors received an observation sheet on which to take notes while participating in other teachers’ Morning Meetings. This helped the visitor focus on specific elements of the Morning Meeting. For example, for one set of visits, my colleagues and I wanted to look for the language other teachers were using to facilitate Morning Meeting, the modeling they were doing to help students succeed, and their strategies for incorporating academics, so our sheet reflected those goals. The sheet also had space for recording any other cool ideas we might have noticed.

3. Keep it positive

These are no-pressure visits. The Responsive Classroom team made it clear that the visitors were just that—visitors, not evaluators—and helped host teachers realize that they have knowledge and skills to share.

The team also helped visitors focus on the positives of participating in other teachers’ Morning Meetings: Besides offering us a different perspective on our own practice and giving us new ideas, the visits connected us more closely with other teachers—and students.

4. Time to reflect

After each teacher had a chance to both host and visit, the Responsive Classroom team set up reflection times where teachers could ask one another questions. These reflections were crucial opportunities to learn more about the powerful practices experienced in our colleagues’ classrooms.

5. Make it your own

School communities differ in many ways, so the logistics behind planning Morning Meeting visits may differ for your school. Just keep the focus on learning and sharing and you’ll find that Morning Meeting visits will enrich everyone’s experience with this key Responsive Classroom Practice.

Tags: Classroom Visitors, Guest Teachers, Professional Community