Check In and Support Students’ SEL with Virtual Morning Meetings

So much can be missed by not seeing your students in person. When you are with your students every day, you can see if someone is having a hard time. Their appearance, mood, facial expressions, and behavior provide important hints that they might be struggling.

During school closures, we may not be able to physically be with our students, but we can check in with them and address any issues they may be experiencing through (virtual) morning meetings.

Making the Transition to Virtual Morning Meetings

Responsive Classroom, a popular teaching framework that improves school culture through evidence-based practices, created morning meetings. Just like the name suggests, morning meetings take place at the start of every school day. Teachers allocate the first 20 minutes of class for having constructive conversations and preparing students for the day ahead. During this time, students aren’t just “shooting the breeze.” They’re building teacher-student connections and practicing many important skills that are needed for academic success.

The basic elements of morning meetings include:

  • Greetings, where teachers and students welcome each other.
  • Time for engaged sharing, when students and teachers share about something in their lives. The rest of the group practices active listening and asks follow-up questions.
  • Activities that give students additional time to practice social and emotional skills.
  • A morning message, which is a short note from the teacher that explains the day’s events and objectives.

Morning meetings can easily be tailored to virtual and distance learning environments. Start hosting morning meetings through a video conferencing platform like Zoom, adjusting the length, time, and frequency of meetings to your new remote learning schedule. Continuing these a.m. check-ins not only helps you stay connected with students who are learning from home, but also reinforces social and emotional learning (SEL) concepts that will be critical to students’ success when they finally return to the classroom.

Continuing to host morning meetings online can help:

  1. Strengthen Connections and Relationship Skills While Social Distancing: Students practice communication skills during their time to share and during Q&A. They also learn how to listen, cooperate with others, and form rewarding relationships with teachers and peers.
  2. Increase Self-Confidence: Sharing personal stories can be scary. Morning meetings provide a safe and caring environment that encourages students to open up and build trust in others, which increases their confidence.
  3. Promote Social Awareness: According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the four central areas of social awareness include perspective-taking, empathy, appreciating diversity, and respect for others. Morning meetings teach all of these skills and also give students opportunities to practice them in real-life situations.
  4. Encourage Positive Behavior Toward Others: Morning meetings promote a positive school culture where everyone’s voice and opinions matter. This, in turn, creates a norm around the need to respect others.

Especially during school closures, morning meetings are an important way to stay connected with your students and address any issues they may be having. Spending some time at the start of the school day to check in with students is an effective way to give students a voice when they might not otherwise have a chance to share about their problems and experiences. Additionally, morning meetings gives students time to practice social and emotional skills, which can have positive effects on their academic achievement.

Contact our experts at Aperture Education to learn more about how to support students during school closures.

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