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?
A: Usually, I use open-format sharing so that individual children get plenty of practice speaking to the group and asking for questions and comments. But occasionally I like to do a themed partner sharing, especially after a long weekend or school vacation, when everyone is excited and full of things to talk about. The theme is weekend or vacation news. Children can really chat with another person and get meaningful questions and comments. Plus, everyone shares, which seems important after several days away.
I like to follow this kind of sharing with the activity “Just Like Me.” I include things that I heard several children talking about; for example, “Over the weekend I played outside.” All children who also played outside stand up and proclaim: “Just like me!” It brings the sharing together, and everyone feels included. Often the last thing I call out is “Over the weekend I had fun!” That usually brings all the children to their feet, and we end on a very high note!
Barbara Klein teaches first grade at the Six to Six Interdistrict
Magnet School in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
A: Over the summer, I sent my incoming students a welcome letter that asked them to bring in a drawing or a photo of something they did over the summer. Limiting them to pictures or photos avoided “bring and brag” and “haves and have-nots” problems. I brought my own photo in first and modeled the sharing procedure. Having a concrete theme helped relieve the anxiety of sharing so early in the year, before students really knew each other. The many common summer memories also helped students connect with their classmates.
After each sharing, I posted the picture or photo on the front white board. It was great getting to know each other by sharing, and the front board served as a place for our different experiences to come together.
Nicole Peirce teaches fourth grade at Penn Valley Elementary School
in Levittown, Pennsylvania.
A: A sharing on personal heroes really appeals to fifth graders. Such a sharing can tie in nicely to a unit on American history. It also shows the children that heroes are everywhere—not just in books, movies, and video games.
After we explore what the word “hero” means, I ask students to think about someone who is a hero to them. They might choose a well-known athlete, musician, politician, or other public figure. Or they might choose someone not well known: a parent or other family member, teacher, neighbor, or friend.
I model the sharing by telling the children about my friend Susan. “She’s a hero to me,” I say, “because when she saw some people being mean to her co-worker, she stood up to them. She told them they should stop even though she was afraid they would be mad at her.” Then I take questions and comments. Children typically ask questions such as “What did they say when she told them to stop?” and “Did they really get mad at her?” Their comments might be “She was really brave” or “I hadn’t thought about a friend being a hero before.”
Over the next week or so, everyone gets a chance to share about their personal hero. Through their questions and comments, classmates sometimes explore connections between personal and historical heroes. And they deepen their understanding of what makes a hero and why heroes are so interesting and important to us.
Paula Denton, EdD, is a senior program developer for Northeast Foundation for Children. She has been an elementary school teacher since 1985 and a Responsive Classroom workshop presenter and consultant since 1990.Tags: Sharing