Conshohocken Elementary School (CE) parents had a chance to witness a "Morning Meeting" firsthand during American Education Week. Every elementary class in Colonial starts their day with a Morning Meeting as a way to get students ready for their day.
"When you're tired and you start off to a rough morning, it gets you back on track," said CE third grader Zakir Williams.
"I thought it was nice. I like how they incorporate a little bit of learning, a little bit of social interaction and teambuilding," said Jennifer Nelson, CE parent and co-secretary of the PTO. "It's a nice little variety of everything to kick off their day and boost everybody's spirits as well."
The 20-30 minute Morning Meetings are part of the "Responsive Classroom," an educational approach that emphasizes the importance of building a strong and supportive community in addition to engaging children in their academics.
The Morning Meetings include four parts:
For for the demonstration, teacher Amy Campbell and her third grade students sat in a circle on the floor.
During the Greeting, they turned to their shoulder partners and complimented each other's character. Then a couple students shared what they said, like that someone was good at math or a supportive friend.
Since it was American Education Week, the children could wear college shirts to reflect their "bright futures," and for the Sharing part, several children talked about why they had chosen the particular shirt, with answers ranging from because a relative went to that school to simply because they liked how the shirt fit.
While the Group Activity often touches on something they're learning in class, today's Group Activity continued with the theme of "bright futures" by having each child say what they wanted to be when they grew up after pantomiming what the person before them said. "My favorite thing about Morning Meeting is that we got to act what to be when we grow up. I want to be an artist," added Zakir. "The person before me wanted to be in the army, so I saluted."
The Morning Message outlined some of the things that the students were going to work on during the day and serves as a bridge from the Morning Meeting into their lesson time.
The students were excited that they got to demonstrate the Morning Meeting for the parents.
"We just like to be role models for other people in the school," said third grader Rilee Morrison.
Independent research — as well as elementary teachers throughout the Colonial School District — have found that the Responsive Classroom approach leads to higher academic achievement in math and reading, improved school climate and higher-level instruction by helping students be more happy, comfortable and focused in school.