Three Fun Greetings to Try with Your Students

Question: Do you have a Greeting that works really well for Morning Meeting with your students?

A: When we do a Seat-Switch Greeting, the children enjoy moving around to sit in different spots—they think it’s really funny if they end up sitting right next to where they started out. They also appreciate the chance to greet new people, “not just your best friend every day,” as one student said.

To begin this Greeting, we lay our name cards (2-inch by 4-inch colored cardstock on which the students have neatly written their first names) face down in the center of the meeting circle. Then I start by turning over a card, going to the child named and greeting him/her, and taking his or her seat. That child then selects a card, greets the person named, and takes that person’s seat.

This Greeting is great early in the year when children are getting to know each other and learning to read each other’s names. It’s also helpful whenever I notice that children are choosing to sit next to the same one or two friends every day for Morning Meeting.

Angie Morrison teaches second graders at Newman Elementary School in Needham, Massachusetts.

A: The Rewind Greeting travels twice around the meeting circle—the second time in reverse. Suppose Mike’s the leader for the day. He begins by choosing a classmate to greet. “Good Morning, Maria,” he says. Maria responds with “Good Morning, Mike,” and Mike tosses a koosh ball to her. This continues around the circle until all children have been greeted and the koosh is back with Mike. Then Mike calls out “Rewind!” and the koosh travels back around the circle in reverse order. As the students rewind, they may extend their greetings to each other with some friendly words such as “Enjoy the day.”

Once students are adept at remembering who greeted them, we make up variations, and the day’s leader chooses which we’ll use. In one variation, the koosh rewinds to the leader silently. In Double Double Rewind Rewind, we use two balls.

Not only are these Greetings fun, but the spirit of community is really visible as children help one another remember the Greeting order with a look or a nod.

Amy Bernard teaches fifth graders at Sheffield Elementary School in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.

A: Two or three times a month, the children interview each other and then use what they’ve learned as part of our Greeting. First thing in the morning, I hand them an interview form with the name of their partner and two fill-in-the-blank sentences like these: “This is _________. Last night he/she read _________. On the weekend, we both like to _________.” The children spend less than ten minutes interviewing each other. When we assemble for Morning Meeting, partners sit together. As we go around the circle, the partners tell the class about each other. Daniel says, “Good morning, everybody. This is Hannah.” The class calls out, “Good morning, Hannah!” Daniel then tells us that “Last night, Hannah read about volcanoes. We both love to go roller skating on the weekend.” Hannah then tells the class about Daniel.

After Greeting, Sharing consists of quickly noting things various class members have in common, perhaps by making a sound or gesture when I ask how many have read a certain book. Our Activity also relates to the Greeting. For example, we’ll do the “Hands Up” game, in which children take turns naming items that fit a category associated with the interviews (such as “favorite books”) while clapping and repeating a simple chant. Then we move on to our Morning Meeting Message.

This Greeting, Sharing, Activity package gets children practicing their listening and speaking skills and reinforces our growing sense of community.

Cynthia Baran teaches third graders at the Main Street School in Plymouth, Connecticut.

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