New morning routine at Butler helps build sense of community

‘Morning Meeting’ teaches students to value one another

Butler Elementary has implemented a new morning routine to help build a sense of community at the school.

Students are welcomed each day with breakfast beginning at 7:45 a.m., school clubs from 7:50 a.m. to 8:05 a.m. and Morning Meeting at 8:10 a.m.

According to Stephanie Anderson, principal, the clubs are offered to provide meaningful and fun activities for students to engage in when coming to school. The clubs include everything from sports to art to reading to music to yoga and more. The clubs are being led by Butler Elementary staff.

“We wanted to provide opportunities for students to have some choice to start their daily educational experiences while building relationships with school staff in a more interactive way,” Anderson said. “Our hope is students will engage in these fun ways to start their day by arriving at school in time to participate in the clubs.”

Following the clubs, students head to their classrooms for Morning Meeting starting at 8:10 a.m.

According to responsiveclassroom.org, Morning Meeting is an engaging way to start each day, build a strong sense of community and set children up for success socially and academically. Students and teachers gather in a circle for approximately 20 minutes and interact during four purposeful components: greeting, sharing, group activity and morning message.

On a recent morning in Rachel Loots’ first-grade classroom, students and staff formed a circle for their Morning Meeting. They greeted everyone with a chant of “say your name and when you do we will say it back to you” while patting a rhythm on their legs. A question of the day was used for students to share if they would rather be stuck in a pool of marshmallows or M&Ms. Their group activity included passing an object that looked like a pointing stick around the circle with students sharing their response for “it looks like a pointer but it’s really a …” They wrapped up their meeting by reading aloud the message Loots had written on the board.

“They all want to contribute something every morning and this gives them all a chance to do just that,” Loots said. “The Morning Meeting makes them each feel special first thing in the morning. We start our day calm and happy. They get to greet each other, smile and giggle. It’s a great way to build classroom culture and community.”

Anderson added, “We started to make connections with kids by greeting them at the door each morning and when they reentered the room during transition times. Morning Meeting takes this to a new level where the culture and climate is built within the classroom as well. Students learn to value, respect and empathize with each other through the Morning Meeting experiences.”

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