JAZZ UP YOUR MORNING MEETING with Rhymes, Songs and Sorting

In last week's  post, we were talking about Morning Meeting and the Greetings portion of this wonderful teaching tool.  If you missed last week's post, be sure and check it out here.

Morning Meeting definitely is  powerful teaching tool. It is extremely versatile. It can be adapted for our student with special needs. It works great to review skills, use social skills, practice concepts, and use verbal skills. For the teacher and other staff, it is an optimal opportunity to  observe students interactions.  If you don't already use it, consider implementing it in your classroom.

During the design phase of my Morning Meetings each school year, I start off  with  4 basic parts depending on the students in my class. I used this foundation to begin the year. As the students gain skills, I frequently modify the structure, number of activities, the skill level of the components that are included in Morning Meeting. This is one way it grows with the students needs and it keeps it fresh and new for the students; and me too.

The 4 basic components I start with are:
GREETINGS
FINISH THAT PATTERNS
CALENDAR
SHARING

No matter what portion of Morning Meeting I am developing or revising, I keep in mind the goals and objectives of Morning Meeting and also of the students that will be a part of my class. Here are some of the goals I commonly use.

1. Build community in the classroom
I want the students interacting with each other and  every student  involved in each activity.
2. Set a positive atmosphere for the day of learning ahead.
Everyone needs to be successful, so I remember to make sure the skills are ones already covered.
3. Provide an opportunity for academic and social skill learning to come together.
4. Reinforce skills
Morning Meeting provides another niche in the school day to more practice in.
5. Engage all students at their functioning level.
No matter what the students disabilities, I want to make sure I have all the materials necessary
for each child to participate at their level.

FINISH THAT

Today I wanted to share about the piece of Morning Meetings I call FINISH THAT. This section is  about category that can included many different things such as completing patterns, sequencing, verbal speaking, rhyming.
At the beginning of the year I start with something very simple. Depending on the age of students in the class and their ability levels, I sometimes begin with nursery rhymes or easy poems.

POEMS, SONGS and RHYMES

Poems, songs and rhymes make great vehicles to reinforce many skills. You can work on memory
Row, Row Your Boat
Most students know this old favorite, but if they don't the be sure to teach it first prior to using it in this activity.
After singing the entire song through at least once, continue singing the song omitting one word each time through the song, until there are no words left. You can substitute a clap in place of the missing word.
One variation I used with songs like these would be to have one section of the class sing the song and the other remaining students provide the missing pieces.

Row, Row Row Your Boat
Gently Down the Stream
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily
Life it But a Dream

I like to have a song that we start with each day. One of my favorites to start off with was Are You Ready to the tune of "Frere Jacques".

Are you ready,
Are you ready,
to start our day?
to start our day?
We are ready to learn.
We are ready to learn.
Let's have a good day.
Let's have a good day. 


Finish the Pattern

Give each student a card with the designated pattern you wish to work on.
FINISH THAT IDEA..WHAT IF
Use crazy questions or statements to illicit verbal speaking.
Here are some ideas you could ask

1. What if cows gave orange juice instead of milk?
2. What would happen if all the streets were rivers?
3. What would happen if it really rained cats and dogs?
4. What would you do if you found a million dollars in your backyard?
5. What would happen if your cat/dog could talk?
6. What if you found a magic wand?
7. What if you woke up one day and your skin was purple?
8. What if you were going around the world and you could only take 3 people. Who would they be?
9. What is one thing you would do if you were the ruler of the whole world?
10. What would happen if you could fly?

Date Repeat
Incorporate the date into a short game and repetition activity. As the year progresses it is easy to ramp this up to match skills.
Teacher or activity leader:
Today is  Monday
Students repeat:
Today is Monday  or
they can reply back with a rearranged sentence. Monday is today
Teacher or activity
August 24
Students repeat:
August 24
Teacher or activity leader:
All day long
Students repeat:
All day long

RHYMING
 Students can stand in a circle for this one. Designated a student leader or the teacher begins by saying:
I am thinking of a word that rhymes with CAT.
Everyone repeats the word 2 times CAT, CAT
On the next chant, the next student in the circle chants, CAT and a word that rhymes with CAT
This could  be RAT
So it would go like this:
Student leader or teacher: 
I'm thinking of a word that rhymes with CAT.
Whole Group: CAT, CAT
Next student: CAT, RAT

Skip Counting

Whether you are working on counting by 1's, 2's 5's or 10's they can always be fun to incorporate into Morning Meeting. Its also a wonderful way to get some Math into Morning Meeting and reinforce those skills already taught.
Whether you have your students sit in chairs, rug mats or bean bags for Morning Meeting this can be an easy game to implement.
Each student gets a pack of cards from the Skip Counting packet. You can pick up the Skip Counting packet from my TpT store here. Each packet has a set of 5 cards.

 SKIP COUNT FREEBIE
Prior to Morning Meeting the teacher removes 2 of the cards from each pack. I usually did this at the end of the activity the day before by just swapping out the cards as the students handed them in.

1. Give each student a pack of skip counting cards minus, each missing 2 card.
2. The missing cards are gathered in a group face up such as a blackboard marker tray or on a table.
3. Students lay out their cards from their group.
4. Students go to the group of missing cards and find the cards they need to complete their set.



Sort That

Sorting activities are great activities to include in Morning Meeting. They can be very simple or more complex depending on your students. You can use all types of things for the sorting objects. This works really well to use pictures of real objects, or real object themselves to begin teaching sorting or for those kids that work better with real objects than pictures on cards. 
Basic sorting activities can be done very nicely using the students themselves. I love doing this type of activity as one of my main emphasis is morning meeting is keeping all the student involved. I put 
Basic Sorts using students.
Sorting activities are also very flexible as they can be done on the floor, on a table or desk, in a pocket chart, at a morning meeting bulletin board. 
If you are making cards for sorting activities; you can use clip art, magazine pictures, or even photos.
1. Designate the areas for the groups you want sorted. I use circles. Use tape and make 2 or 3 circles on the floor. I usually have these on the floor already as they are extremely useful for activities other than morning meeting. Another idea is to use different color hula hoops to designate the groups. 
2. Determine what you are going to sort by. I usually plan mine out in my lesson plans for the week.


Thanks for joining me today for some ideas on songs, patterns and rhyme activities in Morning Meeting.
Come back next week for another portion of Morning Meeting activities.


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