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 time change, and in some cases, even dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane. It is natural for you and your students to feel overwhelmed and tired. Do the optimism and promise you felt at the beginning of the new school year seem like distant memories? If so, you may have a case of the November blues.
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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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Morning Meeting: One-Minute Greeting

Carolyn Bush prepares her fourth grade students to start their Morning Meeting with a successful, safe, fun “One-Minute Greeting.”
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“Magic Box” Activity

Yesterday somebody who'd read Margaret Wilson's post, "Handling Halloween High Spirits" asked "What's the 'Magic Box' activity she refers to?" I wasn't familiar with that one either. Since Margaret is presenting at…
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Class Yellow Pages

Here's a beginning-of-the-year project that helps classmates get to know each other by "advertising" their strengths:Each student thinks of things they are good at in school and could help other students with.…
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Here’s an Idea! Human Treasure Hunt

This video is excerpted from The First Day of School in a Responsive Classroom, which was filmed on the actual first day of school in Caltha Crowe’s third grade classroom in 2007.…
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Knowing All Our Students: An Interview with Caltha Crowe

In your book Solving Thorny Behavior Problems, you write about teachers getting to know their students. Why is this so important, especially for children with behavior and learning challenges? Children vary enormously…
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“How does that make you feel?”

I’m new to the Responsive Classroom approach, but even in my first year of having Morning Meetings, the children’s social growth exceeded what I had typically seen in my kindergarten classes. For…
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Learning Names At the Start of the Year

Caltha Crowe retired in June after 35 years of teaching. Most recently, she taught third graders at King’s Highway Elementary School in Westport, Connecticut. She is a certified Responsive Classroom consulting teacher.
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Morning Meeting: A Soft Place to Land

When Eric's father died suddenly just before a long weekend, Morning Meeting gave our school the safe structure we needed to help this second grader and his schoolmates cope with the tragedy.
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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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Teaching Children to Care

Editor’s note: Teaching Children to Care by Ruth Sidney Charney, first published in 1991, has transformed many teachers’ practices. This well-loved book has sold over 70,000 copies and is widely used as…
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