We all know that having a morning routine is essential to getting the day started off on the right foot. I’m sure many of us already have an established morning meeting routine, but I was really excited how my coworker and I started co-teaching during our morning meeting this fall during remote instruction. Co-teaching is a great way to have twice the ideas and support and allows you to divide up the work so you can spend more time planning certain parts. My coworker and I have developed a structure that seems to be lending itself well to build upon as the school year goes on. Here are the parts to our remote morning meeting for intermediate and upper grade students…

1. Class Code, School Mantra & Character Education Trait

Each morning, I lead the class in the Class Code, School Mantra and Character Education Trait. Since my coworker and I co-teach, we pick one student from each of our classes to have their microphones off of mute to repeat these parts of this part of our morning routine. The Class Code is the set of rules we have for our classroom. It is said to a beat like a song and each rule is paired with a hand gesture. It is meant for the teacher to say and the students to repeat. After the Class Code, the same student helpers repeat the school mantra and the monthly character education trait (citizenship, honesty, etc.). The monthly character trait is something that we did as a school during morning announcements and it was something we decided to continue during remote learning for consistency for our students.

2. Zones of Regulation

The Zones of Regulation is a framework to teach students about their emotions and different ways to regulate their emotions. There are four different colors or “zones” in which different feelings are categorized. I review the feelings and zones visual with the students each day. I model how to express in complete sentences how to express how they feel and what zone they are in.  I use the participant list in Google Meet to make sure that I ask each student and staff member. I can also pin students while I go down the list so I am able to see them full screen while they are responding.  This is also a time if a student is in the yellow or red zones, we can give them coping strategies, such as three deep breaths, flower and candle or repeating a mantra. 

3. Feelings to Share from A to Z

Each week, my coworker introduces 2-3 emotions from the book Feelings to Share from A to Z. This book features a more complex emotion or feeling for each letter of the alphabet.  She created a slide deck of the book by taking a picture of each page of the book. On Monday, she will introduce 2-3 new, more complex emotions or feelings from the book (ex. brave, creative, optimistic) and then ask a few students to share each day until Friday. On Fridays, she re-reads all of the emotions and feelings that we have learned about. Next quarter, we plan on creating our own “Zones of Regulation” chart and adding the new feeling and emotion words that we have learned from this book. 

4. Power Up Yoga

My coworker goes through a “power up” yoga sequence that she found on a yoga card deck. She created slides by taking a picture of each card in the sequence. We do the same sequence each day, and my coworker emphasizes holding the poses for longer each time, smooth transitions between poses and using yoga as a way to regulate feelings and emotions.

5. Story or GoNoodle

We end our morning meeting with a story or two activities on Go Noodle. On Mondays, I will present a social story on a relevant topic (Sportsmanship, Class Election) in order to introduce a new activity or seasonal concept. Recently, I wrote and created a slide deck social story about our class election. Then, on Wednesdays and Fridays, I will present and read an online book  based on the theme of the social story. With our class election unit, I read a fiction story about a class election and a nonfiction social studies based book about our national election. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my coworker leads the class in two GoNoodle activities-one is an activity to get students’ energy up and she ends with one activity that calms and centers students. I only recently became familiar with GoNoodle and I have to say it is a life saver and a game changer!

I hope this inspires you to try something new with your morning meeting routine. Share below different ways you incorporate social emotional learning online or in the classroom with older students. I hope you are all staying safe and healthy! 

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