Teaching Tip Tuesday: Morning Meetings, Huddles, Coffee Breaks and More!
Call it what you want: morning meetings, huddles, or coffee breaks, no matter the name, these morning meetings are beneficial for both the teacher and the students. These meetings are especially imperative after extended breaks/holidays. Last year, while observing classrooms, I was able to join this morning meeting in Mrs. Kubos' 4th-grade classroom. Mrs. Kubos usually held these morning meetings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings as a beginning of the week, middle checkpoint, and end of the week wrap up.
"It's a great way to talk with them and build relationships"
There are many versions of morning meetings. Some are had throughout morning centers with small groups, some are held as a campus in a central location, and some are in the classroom like Mrs. Kubos' class.
Coffee Break in Mr. Spall's room
Back when I was teaching 4th grade at Alton Elementary School, we used to do informal morning meetings prior to the beginning of the school day. Students would come into my classroom usually around 7:15, grab their Chromebook and work on genius hour passion projects or check their Gmail for messages sent by myself, peers, or our amazing administration. Students could collaborate in groups, work independently, come converse with me while I prepped for the day, or work anywhere around the classroom while sitting in my alternative seating (couches, bean bags, etc.) Eventually, I started having students bring in their own breakfast and coffee. This extra 45 minutes every morning gave my students the ability to:
Become acquainted with their Chromebooks and G-Suite while working on their "Interest Projects"
Gave them an opportunity to comfortably converse and collaborate with peers
Took away the stress of "home life/baggage from outside the room" prior to the 8:00 am bell.
Allowed my students to work with less used G-Suite Elementary Ed tools, such as Gmail, Calendar, Chrome, Extensions, Apps, and more.
Practiced their typing skills
Got them intrigued and excited about learning for the day
Gave me the ability to see struggling students and/or shy students excel in other avenues of education.
Allowed me the opportunity to talk to the students, find out how they were doing, and get them situated for the day.
I first experienced a "whole campus" morning huddle while working up in Oklahoma City Public Schools. Most of the schools had gone through a program called, "Great Expectations". One of their core beliefs was to have schools hold morning huddles (Rise and Shine) as an entire campus at the beginning of each school day. This idea transferred down to Alton Elementary School here in Brenham ISD. Mr. Ogg, the Principal of Alton, has been implementing morning huddles for a couple of years now. The students LOVE it. They go over announcements, say the pledges, congratulate various student accomplishments, celebrate birthdays, and much more!