Bring Social Studies Into Morning Meeting

Morning Meeting is a chance for teachers to introduce and reinforce critical academic and social-emotional skills for students of any age. Bringing social studies into Morning Meeting can give students extra opportunities to discuss and reflect on their experiences interacting with their peers, and, by extension, explore how a human society functions.
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Spring Rejuvenation

No matter what the weather is like where you are, it can be challenging for both students and teachers to maintain enthusiasm at this point in the school year. The beginning-of-school energy…
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Breathe Life into Learning with Engaging Academics

Building the characteristics of engaging academics into lessons helps students do rigorous learning in a dynamic way. Students not only engage with and enjoy their learning, but are more willing to tackle…
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Making Learning Meaningful: It’s All About the Why

A few years ago, as I looked around the fourth/fifth grade combination class I taught, I saw a student staring at her math notebook and slowly shaking her head. I wandered over…
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A Teacher Shares

Get Moving! It’s 1:30 in the afternoon, and our class is preparing for language arts block. Recess and lunch seem like hours ago, and we still have an entire content area to…
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The Building Blocks of Collaboration: Partner and Small-Group Chats (Grades 5–6)

Children learn a great deal, academically and socially, by collaborating—working together toward common goals. A good way to help students begin developing collaboration skills is by teaching them how to exchange ideas,…
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Doing Language Arts in Morning Meeting

Responsive Classroom Morning Meeting is a great way to set a positive tone for the day of learning ahead while also having fun and building community. It’s also a great way to…
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Active, Engaging Test Prep: The Walking Quiz

In my previous post, I talked about the importance of incorporating movement into classroom work and gave an example of one way to do that with an editing activity. In this post,…
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Pen Pals With a Twist

Not long ago, my second grade classes started pen pal projects. These weren't your usual pen pal ventures where children write to students in another state or country. These had a twist. 
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Test Prep with Less Stress

As we approached testing season, the already anxiety-prone fourth graders I teach began asking questions about test dates, format, and content. These signs of stress, combined with antsiness brought on by the…
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Teaching Skillful Communication

Ryan holds up the book so all his classmates can see the cover and begins: "Reptile Facts is my favorite first grade book. Every first grader should read this book because it…
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The Hot Seat

Are you looking for interactive learning structures that will help your students gain a deeper understanding of content while also developing and practicing higher level thinking skills? The Hot Seat is a…
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Choices Choices

When I look around my classroom, I see students making choices. The first graders I teach make choices all through the day, from the time they arrive until Closing Circle.
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Asking Strategic Questions

Adapted from the new book The Language of Learning: Teaching Students Core Thinking, Listening, & Speaking Skills 
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Teaching Students to Stay Focused

Welcome to Room 327! Here, on a warm day in May, you'll find thirty third graders reading independently. The room is silent, save for the occasional chuckle or sound of disbelief you…
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Teaching Love

I recently had the pleasure of spending two full days at Garfield Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia, a school that has been using the Responsive Classroom approach for close to ten years.…
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Challenges Are Fun!

Recently I've been thinking about how enthusiastically the students in my class take on challenges, and how challenging them has helped us build a more positive community and made learning more fun…
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When Learning Is Fun

If your classroom life is like mine these days, it's gotten harder to make learning fun. This year in my district we have a new teacher evaluation system, new report cards, new…
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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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Interactive Modeling for Academic Success

Interactive Modeling is a simple, quickly paced way of teaching that can lead students to a stronger mastery of skills than traditional modeling. It's effective for teaching any skill or procedure that…
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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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Why Does Interactive Modeling Work?

When it's done effectively, Interactive Modeling helps students achieve greater, faster, and longer-lasting success in meeting expectations and mastering skills. My new book, Interactive Modeling, provides step-by-step guidance on using this powerful…
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Time to Change the Routine?

Which parts of your school day just don't seem to work as well as you'd like? Now's a great time to do some problem-solving, imagine new possibilities, and plan to make changes…
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Fostering Imagination

Children need to develop the ability to think imaginatively and creatively. Children with imagination do a better job visualizing what they are reading, solving problems, entertaining themselves without devices, and thinking creatively…
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Morning Message Idea: What Do You Know?

Here’s a Morning Meeting message idea from 80 Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades 3–6, by Carol Davis: Use a message like this one to tap students’ prior knowledge and engage them in…
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Group Activity Idea: Encore!

Here’s a Morning Meeting activity idea from 80 Morning Meeting Ideas for Grades 3–6, by Carol Davis: Encore! Students team up to connect vocabulary words with favorite songs. How to do this…
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