What to Do When Greetings Get Silly

Photograph by Jeff Woodward.Do you often wonder how to keep the sense of comfortable routine while also varying Morning Meetings enough to keep students (and adults) interested and engaged? Greetings can be especially important because they set the tone for the whole meeting—and the whole day. Here’s another answer to a question teachers frequently ask. Next week, we’ll share more frequently asked questions about greetings.

Question: I want students to have fun, but when we do bouncy, loud greetings, they tend to get silly and forget to take the act of greeting seriously. What can I do?

Answer: You’re right to be concerned about greetings becoming silly. It helps to focus on engagement rather than entertainment or frivolity. Remember that although greetings do need to be engaging, they don’t always need to be bouncy and loud. First, it’s not your role as a teacher to entertain students. Second, the best learning comes from engagement, which can take the form of deep concentration, even fascination, as well as playfulness and laughter. So instead of trying to make greetings entertaining for students, look for those that will engage them. Here are a couple to try.

Spider Web
  1. Holding a ball of yarn, a student greets someone across the circle and gently rolls the ball to that person while firmly holding on to the end of the yarn.
  2. The student who receives the ball of yarn greets another student across the circle and rolls the ball to that student, making sure to hold onto the unraveling strand with one hand.
  3. This continues until everyone has been greeted and the yarn has created a web across the circle.
  4. To unravel the web, students greet each other in reverse order until the ball of yarn is wound up again.
Flightly Flight
  1. Give the first greeter a paper airplane. She chooses someone in the circle across from her and greets him with a friendly “Good morning, ______!” and then gently tosses the airplane so that it lands in front of him. (Remind students to throw the plane carefully so that it doesn’t hit anyone.)
  2. The student being greeted waits until the airplane lands and then retrieves it. (Remind students that only the person being greeted retrieves the airplane.) He returns the greeting: “Good morning, ______!” and chooses someone else to greet.
  3. Repeat until everyone has been greeted.
Tags: Challenging Behaviors, Movement