Morning Meetings in Fifth Grade

I absolutely LOVE our morning meeting time!  You can grab these HERE.
One of the top questions I get asked is regarding our daily morning meetings.

Want to know why I've been hesitant to blog about it?

I don't have good pictures.

Want to know why I don't have good pictures?

I'm IN the meeting.  I'm a part of it and don't have my phone.

But a) that's a good thing and b) that's a ridiculous reason to not blog about one of my favorite times of the day! 

So, with that aside, I hope this answers your questions but you can always leave a comment, too.

Simply put, our mornings meetings are a daily, non-negotiable (ie: it happens no matter what the day holds) time where we spend 10-12 minutes together as a class family.

I don't have a rigid structure or agenda for this.  I don't think it would work for my personality to have Mondays be weekend highlights, Tuesdays be book sharing, ect.  

We just kind of go with the flow.  Here's how it works for us.
I love that the A on my door is missing and that my shoes aren't buckled.  I'm still smiling.  We do our best!
Our school has a first bell, at which students line up and gather materials.  Then, there's a second bell a few minutes later.  At THAT bell, I walk out and greet my students, who are waiting in a line.

I welcome them and then lead them in, standing at the door and greeting each student.  Once they've passed me, they drop their materials down in a spot (read more about our flexible seating HERE).  I walk out at 8:00am and they know that morning meeting begins at 8:02.  For the first month of school, I give them until 8:03 but seriously, they learn to come in quickly and join us.

Now, keep in mind that I have 32-34 students.  It would be lovely to sit in a circle but it's just not feasible, given their size and the fact that we have furniture.

Instead, they grab a seat on the "front rug."  This can be on the rug, they can grab an Ikea stool, they can sit on an Otto stool (LOVE!), or they may sit in the bungee chairs.  They may NOT sit at a desk/table or on the countertops.  I really am a stickler for this (and they'll get fined class cash if they do) because it's important that we are close.  Less distractions, greater sense of community.
Our front rug is this space in the front of the room.  I sit in the front on a stool.
I always greet them into the day and state the date, also going over the daily agenda.  I write the agenda on the front white board EVERY SINGLE DAY.  If I forget (it happens MAYBE once a year), I'll still go over the day with them but I never turn my back to them.  

Then, we greet one another.  I usually give them 30ish seconds to greet those around them.  They know they must make eye contact, have a statement ("Good morning!" or "It's good to see you!"), AND wait for a response before moving to another student.

This takes practice.

It sounds so simple but these are soft skills that are, ahem, hard for some adults... amiright?

Also, as the year progresses, you can add more into this time period.  We will have students create secret handshakes or one liners/slogans.  If things are starting to feel stale, mix it up.

I get their attention by ringing a bell.  I use a hotel style bell like this and it's a signal to end the conversation and get their eyes back up to the front.

At this point, I will pull a card from one of two places.  
You can grab these HERE.
These morning meeting cards are AWESOME to get conversations started in a high interest, low stakes fashion.

The topics are applicable and fun, and some even lead to some pretty good debates!
I can't sing these praises enough.  They're awesome.
We also love THESE cards from Lakeshore because they are an awesome way to incorporate social-emotional learning into our day.  The scenarios are authentic and relatable.  The kids LOVE them.  Get these.

So once we've picked a card (only one), I read it out.  They have 10-15 seconds of silence to think about their response and then they turn and talk.

For this, I'm okay with them turning and talking to one person or forming a small group.  If you spend your time finding partners or counting groups, you're losing valuable time.

Again, this takes practice.  Remind them (when you first start morning meetings) that if they greeted a student, that's probably a good student to talk and discuss the card with.  They are NOT allowed to get up and FIND a partner.  

This is another reason I need and want them close on the rug.
I display the question on the board and there are days when it gets revisited... especially the hot topic ones!
Back to the card.  I give them anywhere from 1-2 minutes to discuss the card and their responses.  Then, I again ring the bell and we share out.

This is just a conversation. I try and let as many students as possible share out but I do watch the clock.  I don't let it go more than a couple minutes.

We then move on to whatever is relevant.  Here are some things we celebrate or discuss:
Book Talks

If a student wants to share out about a book, they know they have 20-45 seconds (think: movie trailer) for a book they read and loved.  Again, this VERY organic.  If they want to share, they run and grab the book and usually come up to the stage.  This is my personal fave thing during morning meetings.  

Kids go wild over books that their peers have shouted out.
Personal Highlights

Let them open up and share about their lives.  This can take no more than a minute but has a huge impact.  They love to share out about their sporting events or time with grandparents or weekend trip or anything that is important to them. 

It honestly is the best thing to a) build relationships and b) build community.

If a student is celebrating a birthday, we are there for it!  I use THESE cards and it gets passed around throughout the day.  Everyone signs and writes a little message (they can also add some color as it gets passed) and then the birthday student takes it home at the end of the day.  It's a sweet, easy tradition.

Oh.  During morning meeting, we sing to the birthday person and I sprinkle confetti in their hair.  Love.
Kindness Wreath

We also can take time to highlight and shout out acts of kindness we've seen amongst our peers.  It's so quick but they will VERY much remind me if I haven't done it in a day or so. 

Once a student shares out another student, he/she grabs a slip of paper, writes it down, and tapes it on the wreath.  It is a beautiful representation of kindness.  When it's full, we auction it off in a class auction (see more HERE).

Again, this is brief but powerful.  Grab everything you need HERE.
Extra Class Jobs

I promise to blog more in-depth just about this (so stay tuned and I'll come back and link!) but we also will pick new people to fulfill these roles.

In the meantime:

Help Desk/Desk Help: Students who are willing to answer questions if/when I'm working in a small group or one-on-one.

Spirit Squad: Has a pompom (Dollar Tree) and shakes it when we clap or celebrate.

Neighborhood Watch: Watches for anything I might miss and meets with me at the end of the day.

Recess Runner: Makes sure no one is alone or lonely at recess.
Special Announcements

If a student wants to share anything out, this is the time.  We have everything from a lemonade stand that will be held the next weekend to an upcoming play to an exciting school event that leadership wants to share out.

I also love this picture because you can see how we all gather for morning meetings.

So here's the deal: It lasts 10-12 minutes and every day is slightly different, given the day.  While I *do* sit in the front, there is a spirit of the students running it, raising their hands to share a book or asking if we can celebrate something kind another student did.

Once the time is up, they go back to their seats and we begin whatever is on our agenda (which is always ELA).

I think I sometimes feel almost guilty that there's not a clear cut, "here's what we do and how we do it" schedule to share but it really is authentic, fluid, and organic.

It's also important.  Even on the last day of school, moments before the promotion ceremony, we have morning meeting.

And do you know why?

Because they ask for it.  Because it's important.  Because it's meaningful.

For print and go resources to use with morning meetings, click HERE!
I recently purchased these boxes and they're PERFECT!  You can grab them HERE.


  1. Thank you for sharing this! I started the year with Morning Meetings, but they fizzled out. :( I was making it too complicated, but there was such a need for them. I am going to follow your format for next year. It seems really doable and so beneficial. Thanks so much!

  2. I always had a morning meeting with my third grade class I had all day. I love how it helps get to know my students, and they get to know each other. I am moving to 4th and will be switching classes. Do you have any suggestions for transforming morning meeting if you switch classes? What could I call it other than morning meeting when i may not see them until after lunch?

  3. Thank you for sharing this! I've always been to chicken to try this, but this year I'm really eager to give my students this experience. I think it's very necessary for their/our always evolving world. I REALLY appreciate seeing how you make it work in an upper elementary classroom.

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  7. I love hearing how you start the day. It is so similar to the routine I've developed over the last years with some added meaningful elements that I think I'll add!

  8. I'm not sure if you are gong back to school this fall, but we are. I start in 2 weeks. Do you have any ideas of a morning meeting with students social distancing??

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