How to Create an Engaging, SEL focused Morning Meeting

A morning meeting is one of the most effective and efficient ways to form a classroom community, create routine, and fit explicit social-emotional learning skills into your everyday learning. Whether you teach kindergarten, middle school, or even high school, having a morning (or class) meeting with your students each day creates a safe classroom environment for them to more effectively learn.

What should I do during morning meetings?

Here are some of the things you can do during your morning meeting:

  • Emotion Check-In
  • Would You Rather?
  • Question of the Day
  • Social-Emotional Learning Lesson
  • Team Building Games and Activities
  • Morning Meeting Greetings

Morning Meeting Emotion Check-In

How can you check in with your students during morning meetings? I think it is important to recognize that not every student is going to want to voice how they are feeling each day. That is why I use a variety of options to allow my students to check in with me (and check-in with themselves) to see how they are feeling on a particular day. Some of my favorite options are:

Google Form Emotion Check-Ins

Google Forms are a great way to check-in with your students without pressuring them to share how they are feeling out loud, in front of the class.

Grab these best selling daily social-emotional learning digital check-ins here!

The discussion questions in the pictured slides above make for PERFECT morning meeting discussion questions.

Show Me On Your Fingers Check-Ins

You can grab my morning meeting slides bundle here!

Verbal Check-Ins

Sometimes, I will change things up and ask my students to tell me how they are feeling and why. I will project the sentence stem “I am feeling _____ because ______” and challenge my students to use words other than happy, sad, good, and bad (to work on expanding their emotional vocabulary).

Emotion Check-In Journals

Grab this daily emotion check-in journal here- it is digital and printable!

Morning Meeting Questions

Morning meeting is an important time to use discussion questions to teach social-emotional learning skills. You can use questioning to engage your students in different current events, social-justice topics, or even social-emotional needs that you notice arising in the classroom. I like to stick to more open-ended questions and allow students to lead the discussions.

Social-Emotional Learning Lessons

During your morning meeting, you can take a few days a week to teach an explicit social-emotional learning lesson. For example, maybe you notice that your students are struggling with teamwork. You could incorporate a lesson on how to be a team player into morning meeting, then play a team-building game afterwards. Another one of my favorite morning meeting lessons is on active listening- learning what active listening looks like and sounds like, and then having students learn about one another, and then present to the class.

Team Building Games and Activities

You can never do too many team building activities with your students. The closer your classroom family is, the better. One of my favorite places to find morning meeting games and activities from are these morning meeting slides.

There is also a phenomenal morning meeting book linked here.

Morning Meeting Greetings

Another thing that you can do with your students during morning meeting are greetings. These are a fun and engaging way to get students ready to learn for the day. There are several included in the morning meeting book linked above.

How long should morning meeting last?

I know that many schools have time constraints on morning meetings. If you are able to create your own schedule, giving your class 20-30 minutes a day for SEL/morning meeting time will ensure that you have plenty of opportunity to get in a check-in, lesson, and game each day.

Morning meeting is such an important time of the day for students. If you have never done them before, I highly highly recommend giving them a try. Remember- it doesn’t have to be perfect. As long as you are building community and teaching your students important social-emotional skills, you are on the right track.

Want to learn more about how to plan your morning meeting in 10 minutes or less? Grab your free guide + slides template here!