JAZZ UP Your Morning Meetings with Social Skill Greetings

Morning Meeting is one of the most powerful teaching tools in the classroom.
Each school year when developing my morning meeting components, I make sure my goals of what I want the kids to work are firmly in mind and I am addressing each students IEP goals.
I want to make sure I take into consideration what skills students they a have mastered and what they need to work on. What are their strengths and weaknesses and what accommodations would they require?
Here are some of the more common goals I have used.

With my Morning Meetings I want to:
1. Build community in the classroom
2. Set a positive atmosphere for the day of learning ahead.
3. Integrate academic and social skill learning.
4. Reinforce skills.
5. Engage all students at their functioning level.

At the beginning of the school year, I start out  with 4 very basic parts to my Morning Meeting. Those parts usually consist of something like these.





As the year progresses and the student skills grow, I always change it up; adding more components and modifying the ones I have, to grow and change with the students and to keep things fresh and interesting.

Today I want to share some ideas about the Greetings portion of my Morning Meetings.

Greetings are paramount, especially at the beginning of the school year.  The greeting activity should be fun and positive. Its one of the first things the students do each day. Greeting can be done on so many levels, but I want to make sure the activities I incorporate reinforce social skills and extend verbal skills. We also work on eye contact, different ways and appropriate ways to greet others.
Here are a few ideas to try. When I have used these, I have always had nonverbal kids and  for whatever greeting activity I used, I made sure I had visuals to be used, or their ACC device programmed for the activity. Instead of speaking these kids could select the other child's name from their board.


1. Group begins the chant using the first name of student A.
    First name, first name, what do you see?
2. Student A turns or goes over to to student B and  replies using their first name.
    I see first name SMILING at me. Hello, first name!
3. Group chants again using the first name of student B.
    First name, first name, what do you see?
4. Student B replies using the first name of student C.
   I see first name SMILING at me. Hello, first name!
The chant pattern continues around the circle until all students have been greeted. At that time
the group chants:
Everyone, everyone, what do you see?
I see children smiling at me.

With student names as examples, and using waving as a greeting,  it would go as follows.
Student A: Sally
Student B: Sam
Student C: Michael
Student D: Roger

Group: Sally, Sally, what do you see?
Sally: I see Sam waving at me. Hello, Sam.
Group: Sam, Sam, what do you see?
Sam: I see Michael waving at me. Hello, Michael.
Group: Michael, Michael what do you see?
Michael: I see Roger waving at me. Hello, Roger.
When all the students have had a turn, the whole group chants
Everyone, everyone, what do you see?
I see children smiling at me.

A. You can change the action verb for what the students are doing during the greeting such as the word SMILING to other words such as WAVING, LOOKING, or WINKING to name just a few.
B.  You can vary the greeting each student says such as Hello! to other ones such as Good Morning, How are you? or Nice to see you!

Students take turns in a circle greeting their neighbor (or assigned greeting partner) with this chant.
Hello, hello and how are you?
I'm fine, I'm fine and I hope you are too. 
As the students chant, they can turn and greet another student using a wave, a handshake or high five.

2, 4, 6, 8 CHEER
Assign an order of the students to use in this cheer or the teacher can stand/point to the next student in turn in the cheer. You could also assign a helper to select the next student.
This one doesn't necessarily practice specific greetings, but it does give an opportunity for all the students to be positive toward each other.

1. Students stand/sit in a circle. Students clap and chant, naming the first student.
Two, Four, Six, Eight
Who do we appreciate?
First name, first name Yeeaaaaah, first name.

2. As the students are chanting, the named student walks inside the circle giving high-fives. When he/she returns to his/her place, everyone shouts out, raising their hands above their heads,
Yeah, first name
3. Continue in the same manner until all the students have been named.

You can modify this by adding the use of different voices for the day or for each student. For instance, you could whisper the chant, put it in a song, do it in a crying voice, a deep voice, or even a squeaky voice.

This activity has unlimited variations. This activity requires you to make a set of cards for the class. Some of the easiest ones I start out with at the beginning of the year is colors, numbers or letters. You could also use any other type of patterns. For a class of 10 you will need 10 cards of 5 matching items.

1. Distribute cards to students.
2. On the teacher's signal, the students locate the classmate with the matching card and greet them appropriately. 

I adore this activity since it can be modified in so many ways to fit the needs of the students. Usually with this activity at the beginning of the year, I start with one type of greeting such as "Hi!"  or one skill such as eye contact to focus on. As the students skills progress, I can add different types of greetings.

Thanks for joining me today for some ideas on greeting activities in Morning Meeting. Store the ideas away for next school year.
Come back next week for another portion of Morning Meeting activities.

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