Discover engaging morning meeting activities for kindergarten.. Get ideas for morning greetings, sharing, activities and news, to support a strong classroom community.
I don’t know about you, but the reason I went into teaching was the kids. I love positive interactions with children – they bring me great joy! The recent periods of distance teaching reinforced that for me. It was painful to cut back on these critical interactions!
The joy of positive interactions with kids helped me discover Responsive Classroom (and morning meetings), very early in my teaching career. Since that time, a morning meeting has been a key part of my classroom routine. I want my students to have a warm and caring start to their school day. This sets us up for positive, caring interactions throughout the school day.
This is particularly important in beginning of the year in kindergarten. These children are new in our school and many tend to feel a bit lost. Our daily morning meeting routines help my students realize they are part of a classroom community that cares about them. Every day, we transition from our soft start arrival (learn more in this post) to the carpet for our special morning meeting activities. It’s one of my favorite times of the school day!
What are the 4 parts of a morning meeting?
The Responsive Classroom morning meeting includes 4 components:
- Group Activity
- News and Announcements
These components combine to create a routine that helps students feel welcomed and cared for by everyone in the classroom. The routines create a consistent structure to the start of the school day, with enough flexibility to keep it engaging for kids. They are the foundation for morning meeting activities in kindergarten.
This amazing book, The Morning Meeting Book, goes into detail on each component, including the rationale, tips for starting each routine, and ways to “fine tune” the morning meeting when problems arise. I strongly recommend it!
Honestly, if you have the chance to read anything from Responsive Classroom (or attend their trainings), go for it! Their approach to classroom management is based on positive classroom community, intentional teaching of routines, and an awareness of age-appropriate behavior and activities. Plus, they build social emotional learning (SEL) into daily classroom routines and expectations. The First Six Weeks of School is a perfect book to start with. This whole approach matches my desire for joy-filled teaching and learning in my classroom!
Now, back to my favorite morning meeting activities for kindergarten…
My favorite part of the morning meeting is the greeting. It seems so simple – gather the class and plan an fun greeting so all children are acknowledged and welcomed to the classroom community. But it is the heart of the morning meeting, in my opinion. It builds the sense of community and the idea that everyone is in the room is valued. Plus, it can be SO much fun for kids.
How do you greet someone in a morning meeting?
The simplest kindergarten morning greeting is to sit in a circle and “pass” a handshake around the circle. You shake hands with a student next to you, while looking them in the eye and saying “Good morning, ___.” They return your greeting, then turn to the child next to them and offer the same greeting. EVERY child is greeted and welcomed – in about 2-4 minutes.
You can mix it up a bit by changing the handshake to a different motion:
- pinky shake
- high five
- hip bump (while standing)
You can also change the words used with the with the greeting:
- hello in another language (consider the home languages of your students)
- “Howdy, ___!” or “Hi, ___!”
- sharing a compliment
Not all greetings need to go around the circle, either. Instead you could:
- toss a ball across the circle and greet that person
- stand up and greet someone, then sit in their spot as they go to greet someone
- everyone stand up and mingle to greet one another
Check out these morning meeting greeting cards for a collection of engaging greetings to use.
Morning greetings are a powerful way to start the school day.
In a morning meeting, sharing is different than the Show-and-Tell of the past. It is designed to be more of a give-and-take conversation between the child sharing and the rest of the class. Questions and comments come from the audience, building conversational skills and perspective taking. All children have the opportunity to share each week. (The book goes into detail about the rationale for sharing and how to introduce and organize the sharing routine.)
Often sharing is open-ended – students share some interesting news, something unique they have seen recently, or a fun activity they have participated in.
In order to minimize the Bring-and-Brag syndrome, (which easily highlights economic differences among families), teachers sometimes offer a sharing “theme” for the week. Some examples might include:
- something you do with your grandparents
- wildlife you have seen
- beautiful fall leaf
- rainy/snowy day fun
- things to do outside
- favorite book
- something you created
- tell about a special blanket
- your pet (or the pet you would like to have)
- favorite breakfast
- favorite stuffed animal
A few students share each day, ensuring all students get to share by the end of the week. As students share, they are given the opportunity to tell more about their idea, memory or item.
As an alternative, some teachers ask and open-ended question each day, allowing each child to quickly share their response to the question. This process can take a bit longer, but does allow daily participation for everyone.
Open ended questions can set at theme for the daily sharing.
Sometimes teachers use a question of the day as an arrival activity in kindergarten. These questions can be revisited in the morning meeting. If you use this structure for your sharing, be sure to give a few students time to orally share and ask follow-up questions. This builds oral language skills and social-emotional skills. Read this post to learn how to use a Question of the Day routine in your classroom.
Kids love the question of the day routine.
A short, but fun activity is included in the morning meeting to create a sense of class community through shared experiences. This is high on the kids’ list of fun morning meeting activities in kindergarten. If you are creative, the group activities can even reinforce curriculum from other parts of the day. The kids will have so much fun they won’t realize how sneaky their teacher is!
It can start to feel like hard work for the teacher to find a fun activity for every day. You can keep it manageable by using some of the following:
- do a share reading of a poem, song, or nursery rhyme
- practice phonological awareness activities like clapping names or listing rhyming words around the circle (introduce a new word to rhyme every 4-5 students)
- count around the circle in various ways (forward, backward, skip counting, stop and start counting)
- play I Have, Who Has…? games
- do a brain break video from Go Noodle or YouTube
- sing a few favorite songs
The point is to find a shared, positive experience for the class to do together. But it does not need to be elaborate or time-consuming to be effective.
Read more about fun morning meeting games in this blog post.
News and Announcements
In a K-2 classroom, the morning news and announcements are basically the morning message. It’s a chance to give your students a peek at the upcoming day. In the primary grades, teachers include things like the date, helper of the day and special events of the day (library, music, field trip, etc.) The daily news can be written in a way that’s easy for students to read, or it can be read aloud by the teacher. This final activity orients children to the upcoming school day.
How do you make a morning meeting fun?
Because a morning meeting is a regular classroom routine, it can start to feel monotonous after a while. Keep the meeting fun by finding a balance between consistency and novelty. Familiar activities will help the morning meeting feel comfortable and secure for students. At the same time, new activities keep it fresh and exciting.
It is often helpful to only make small changes. For example, stick with the familiar greetings for a week, but teach a new activity. Use the new activity until it becomes familiar (and fast), then introduce a new greeting. This strikes a nice balance between familiar activities and fun new things.
How long is a kindergarten morning meeting?
Morning meetings can vary in length, depending on the class size, age of students, and type of activities you choose. As a general rule, aim for 20-30 minutes for the morning meeting. Once the routines are familiar, a meeting can be as short as about 10 minutes when needed. For instance on day with a field trip or special activity, you might shorten the meeting to a quick greeting, a shared poem, sharing with a partner, and a brief message.
How does the morning meeting timeframe break down?
- Greeting: about 5 minutes
- Sharing: 5-10 minutes
- Group Activity: 2-10 minutes
- News and Announcements: about 5 minutes
If you do not yet use a morning meeting in your classroom, I strongly encourage you to give it a try! It is a relatively quick activity that can have a strong payoff in your classroom community.
Learn about more classroom routines that build community:
- Morning Classroom Routines
- End of the Day Routine Tips
- Morning Greetings for Students
- Quick and Easy Morning Meeting Games
Products Featured in this Post:
- Cards for Morning Greetings
- Question of the Day Cards
- Digital Questions of the Day (for Conversations)
- I Have… Who Has… Games