Magnetic Friendships

As a kid, I was fascinated by magnets: the force they exert, the way they could push and pull through tables, windows, and papers . . . sometimes without even touching! Now as an adult and a teacher, I've been thinking about those pairs of students I've taught whose attraction to each other seems almost magnetic—as if they are drawn to each other by an invisible force.
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Keeping Morning Meeting Greetings Fresh and Fun

After doing many Morning Meetings, teachers often wonder how to keep the sense of comfortable routine while also varying the meetings enough to keep students (and adults) interested and engaged. Greetings can…
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Ask Yourself Why

What's your vision for your classroom community this year? How do you want the room to look, sound, and feel once the first weeks of school are over? In my last post,…
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Envisioning Your Classroom

I started setting up my classroom a few days ago, and of course I was thinking about the first days of school, but what really guided my decisions was a vision of…
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Enjoying Each Student

With some classes, the characteristics of the group tend to overshadow the personalities and interests of individual students. Earlier this year, I had that experience with my current third grade class, and…
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How Well Do You Know Your Students?

I'd like you to try a challenge I used to give myself several times a year when I was a classroom teacher. First, divide a piece of paper into three columns. In…
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Building Community Through Academics

When they are working towards a common goal, engaged in a fascinating topic, or trying to figure out a solution for a meaningful problem, students feel more connected to school and each…
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No Ordinary Monday

Teachers, principals, and other school staff nationwide are thinking about what to do and what to say tomorrow when they and their students return to school in the wake of the horrific…
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Are You Having Fun?

One afternoon in late October, my third grade class laughed together for the first time this year. It happened as we were getting ready to transition from science to math. "Okay," I…
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The Value of Struggle

"When did your courage surprise you?" I was profoundly moved by this question when it was posed at a conference I attended years ago, and it came back to me recently when…
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November Blues

What teachers have to deal with at this time of year (in addition to teaching, of course) can be daunting—writing report cards, meeting with families at conferences, grading papers, adjusting to a…
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Classroom Jobs

Monday mornings were especially exciting in my classroom because that’s when students discovered what their weekly jobs would be. They would go straight to the classroom job chart and search for their…
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Closing Circle Idea: Maître d’

Closing Circle is a positive, structured way to bring closure to the school day. It takes just a few minutes and is a time for students to reflect and celebrate what they…
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Memory Collections and Community Building

Like every teacher, I spend part of each summer imagining the students who will be in my care for the next 180 days and thinking about the best way to begin the…
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Group Activity Idea: Lost Tooth Poem

Here’s a Morning Meeting activity idea from 80 Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades K–2, by Susan Lattanzi Roser: Lost Tooth Poem Children will relate to this poem about a missing tooth! My…
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Sharing Idea: Who Remembers My Favorite Book?

Playing a fun remembering game builds on children's listening and memory skills.
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Greeting Idea: Secret Handshake

Here’s a Morning Meeting greeting idea from 80 Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades 3–6, by Carol Davis: Secret Handshake Greeting Creating secret handshakes taps students’ creativity and builds community. How to do…
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Greeting Idea: Backward Day Handshake

Here’s a Morning Meeting greeting idea from 80 Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades K–2, by Susan Lattanzi Roser: Backward Day Handshake Greeting Students pass along a friendly handshake, but say the greeting…
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Partner Greetings in Morning Meeting

By now my first grade students are pretty good at chatting with a partner. They know how to pair up quickly and how to decide who will go first. They sit knee-to-knee…
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Weekly Plan for Morning Messages

In addition to the other tips I shared for getting out of a Morning Meeting Message rut, I strongly recommend making a weekly plan. Instead of trying to come up with ideas…
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Questioning Your Assumptions

Winter break can provide teachers a bit of time and space to reflect on how the school year has gone so far, and to decide what adjustments to make in January. This…
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Need a New Mattress?

At this time of year, people who work in schools often start feeling a bit frayed. Now that the school year is well underway, the "honeymoon period" of the first weeks is…
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Invisible Children

Are there invisible children at your school? A recent series of comments on the Responsive Classroom Facebook page got me thinking again about how many children go through their school days feeling…
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The Power of Morning Meeting

The earnest fourth grade girl straightened up tall and looked around the circle, drew a deep breath and began: “Our greeting today will go like this. First you say your name, then…
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Mudge

How can you create a powerful sense of community in your classroom? With the leisure of summer, we can ponder questions like this and plan ahead for next year.
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Good Morning, Friendly Workers!

Question: In many classrooms, the morning message chart is an important part of the beginning of each day and the first place that students go as they enter the classroom. On the…
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Ideas for Morning Meeting Messages

Question:I often struggle to write the Morning Meeting message because my imagination runs dry. What suggestions can you offer that might help me come up with fresh and interesting messages?Answer:This is a…
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