Reflections and Resources from Tarheelstate Teacher: How to Justify the Time Spent in Your Upper Elementary Morning Meeting
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How to Justify the Time Spent in Your Upper Elementary Morning Meeting

While it is great to have a principal who understands, encourages, and supports teachers in having a morning meeting {or community meeting} in our schedule, I have worked under circumstances where I felt that I needed to be prepared to justify my classroom meeting as part of my daily schedule. I never had to explain how my community meeting fit my goals, but it has always been one of my personal “best practices” to know why I am doing what I am doing and be able to point to content standards that are supported by the instructional choices I make. Today, I'm sharing ways that you can justify your community meeting, the last post in my Implementing the Community Meeting series.

Take a look at the standards you are required to teach. When I was thinking about a classroom meeting based on themes in literature, Common Core Standards had also just been adopted in NC and theme kept popping up as a really important literature standard. I have created a reference tool of the “Common Core Connections” for 3rd-5th grades based on my literature-based classroom meetings. In addition, perusing your social studies standards and your guidance standards is a great way to see how a classroom meeting complements those content areas.

Common Core Standards Met through Implementing a Theme Based Community Meeting

3rd Grade
RL3.2 Determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
RL3.9 Compare and contrast the themes of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters.

4th Grade
RL4.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text.
RL4.9 Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics.

5th Grade
RL5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem, including how characters in a story or drama
respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic.
RL5.9 Compare and contrast stories in the same genre on their approaches to similar themes and topics.

6th Grade
RL6.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
RL6.9 Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.

Examine how you are called to build character, career and college readiness, and 21st Century Skills in your teacher evaluation. In our state’s teacher evaluation, we are called to “demonstrate leadership by taking responsibility for the progress of all students to ensure that they graduate from high school, are globally competitive for work and post-secondary education, and are prepared for life in the 21st Century. Teachers communicate this vision to their students…They establish a safe, orderly environment, and create a culture that empowers students to collaborate and become lifelong learners.” community Meeting helps us communicate our vision for students' current and future lives.

We are also called to “incorporate 21st century life skills into our teaching deliberately, strategically, and broadly. These skills include leadership, ethics, accountability, adaptability, personal productivity, personal responsibility, people skills, self-direction, and social responsibility.”

Community Meeting gives you an avenue for teaching:
  • Social Responsibility: how can we be more kind to one another? Who’s job is it to reach out to someone who needs us? Who should take responsibility for issues in our community?
  • Problem-solving of real issues {those that come up in a learning environment} through discussion, idea generation, collaboration, and learning to compromise
  • Personal Development through goal setting and your focus themes
  • People-skills as students negotiate wants and needs in the school environment and have a voice in the meetings
  • Self-direction as students receive some freedom in making decisions about how the classroom will run and share ideas for improving their classroom experience
Community meeting sets the tone for your classroom environment, it provides an opportunity for you to bond with your students and for them to bond with one another. It gives you and your students an opportunity to voice frustrations and problem-solve issues that you are having in the classroom and it allows you, as their trusted guide, to respond to their needs. Community meeting gives you a routine opportunity to embed personal goal setting and reflection into your yearly plan.

Not to mention, it allows you to meet some of the academic standards that you are required to teach without students really even realizing it!

Want to give Morning Meeting a whirl for free?

Integrity and Character Themed Bulletin Board Set
Integrity and Character Suggested Activities and Student Journal Pages
Belonging/Trying to Fit In Themed Morning Meeting Bulletin Board Set
Belonging/Trying to Fit In Suggested Activities and Student Journal Pages

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