I am continuing with the mini-series on creating incidental teaching opportunities and today I’m focusing on morning meeting. You know that I love morning meeting and am always looking for ways to increase engagement. Today I’m going to focus on opportunities we can create for students to practice specific skills.
1. Greetings to Peers
This is similar to the opportunities I talked about in the last post for the arrival and departure routines. However, morning meeting gives you the specific opportunity to practice greetings with peers. Let the students choose who to say good morning or hi to so they have some choice. And again you want to make sure you know whether you are working on responding or initiating greetings and supplement with visuals to support the interactions.
2. Completing a Common Phrase
Behavior analysts refer to this as intraverbals, but the focus is that you use common songs or stories and leave out a word in the common phrase…like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you ___?” Leave out that last word and see if the student will fill it in. You can go around the group and point to the one who is supposed to complete it. Common songs are another way. For older students you can also use adapted books so that the place where the visual will go is a natural opportunity to say the end of the sentence. The picture shows an example in which you might read “Some apples are ____” and see if the student will say “red.”
3. Taking Turns
Morning meeting is a great time to support turn taking by the students. They can take turns making choices of songs and stories. They can take turns reading or putting visuals on a book. Most activities lend themselves easily to opportunities. The important part is choosing partners who are well matched and supporting the turn taking through visuals or other tools to help them know when it is or isn’t their turn.
4. Requesting Materials
Set up opportunities in morning meeting with tempting materials that the students like. It might be asking for a musical instrument for singing. It might asking for a favorite song or book. These are great opportunities to hold out the materials so they see they are available but tempt them to give you a request with a visual or by speaking.
5. Following Directions
Finally, morning meeting is a great time to practice students following simple directions. It might be following a direction to pick something up or put it away. It might involve passing something to a neighbor. Or you can set up activities with silly activities and directions like, turn around, jump up and down, raise your hand and make it a contest to see who can get the most actions right. Some directions naturally occur within the context of the group activities. Others you can build in. However the student is getting the directions, always make sure that the direction is clear to the student, given when he or she is ready to receive it (i.e., looking at you or in your direction, not interested in something else) and that you give them enough wait time to process and follow the direction independently before giving them assistance.
So those are just a few of the types of learning you can embed into the morning meeting routine. What are some of your go-to skills you like to embed in your group activities?
Until next time,
If you are interested in materials to increase engagement and create learning opportunities, check out my morning meeting materials in my TPT store.