I have seen a lot of questions posted on facebook teacher pages about how to run an age appropriate morning meeting in a self contained special education classroom. I always jumped to answer these posts because I am confident that I do this successfully in my classroom. I worked my butt off the last two years perfecting different aspects of this part of the school day for my students. Now, it is definitely my favorite part of the day to teach. So check out and read as I break down different components to morning meeting in my middle school autistic support classroom.
We always start off our morning with greetings. I say hello to each of the students and expect them in any way that they can to respond back. I have students that are both verbal and non verbal so some may say, "Good Morning Mrs...." and others will use some form of AAC to greet. Then I encourage students to take turns greeting one another. In a way this builds a sense of community among my students and it helps them to be more comfortable when out in the hallway, lunch, or in their inclusion classes to respond to others. I had a student last year that got so good at great that every time someone walked through our classroom door she greeted them, even if she already did 3 times earlier that day. So, then we worked on when we need to greet but, I was still happy with her attempts!
Calendar and Weather
We move right into our calendar and weather. This is done with our morning meeting binders. I have purchased a used a few different pieces that other teachers have created. I have mostly used this from The Autism Helper. I also have used items from the Core materials of Unique Learning System.
It is exactly what it sounds like. We read the lunch menu for the day and will even count how many people are having the main lunch, pizza, burgers, etc. We also talk about food grouping and what types of foods that are for lunch that day go with the different food groups to compose a healthy lunch. The reason we do this is to help our students understand what a good meal should consist of.
Asking and Answering Wh- Questions
I have altered this part of my morning meeting in many ways many times. I have used multiple resources and I'll share that as the series goes on. Right now, we use a picture and ask questions about it to create a sentence that describes the picture using Wh- questions.
Last and most certainly not least. I have to talk about how I added News2You into my morning meeting. Every morning we read a few pages as a class of the most current News2You. This is such a versatile part of my morning meeting because you can do so many things with it. The students each have their own paper copy at their seats while I manipulate and have the smart board pulled up with a copy that reads to them.They are in charge of listening, tracking the print as the computer reads and then answering my comprehension questions after we read a page.
Everyone always wonders if doing this is to babyish for secondary students. I always look at it this way. I am an adult and I still use a calendar everyday and I still check the weather to see what I should wear that day so why shouldn't we discuss and practice this in middle school and high school classrooms. I read menus to decide what I want to eat that day and I read the newspaper or go online to read articles. There is definitely a way of making this concept more mature and age appropriate while still helping our students understand these concepts and make them relevant to their own lives.