Using Virtual Morning Meeting to Support SEL

By Anna Reeve

It’s Educator Appreciation Week and educators truly deserve appreciation right now. The 2020-2021 school year has turned out to be a school year unlike any other for students across the country. In New York City, we’ve seen schools open, close, open again, not open and stay remote – our school communities are being called to display more flexibility and adaptivity than ever before.

With so much constant change, it’s important that students feel some sense of routine and stability. Conducting a morning meeting – even virtually – every single morning helps to support students emotionally as they start the day. In a virtual context, morning meeting becomes even more important to support students in feeling a sense of significance and belonging and creating a safe space where every student feels included. When done best, morning meeting also sets a fun and positive tone for the day and motivates reluctant students to logon to online learning on time.

Here are a few quick tips to creating a strong virtual morning meeting:

  • Start your morning meeting by playing music – you can survey your students to find out their favorite songs and as they log on and hear a song playing, they have to guess whose favorite song is playing.
  • Have a riddle on the screen when students log on so that they have something fun to think about as they wait for classmates to log on.
  • Create a “virtual carpet” with student photos to simulate the order of a greeting.
  • Use breakout rooms for share questions to simulate turn and talks.
  • Include movement and whole class participation for group activities as they are adapted to a virtual context.
  • Choose an SEL competency to focus on each month and create share questions, group activities, and morning messages around this theme.

Check out this montage of morning meeting clips from Brooklyn Prospect Downtown Elementary School and for ideas of even more virtual group activities, click here.

Remember, the same way our adult morning routines help prepare us physically, socially, emotionally, and mentally prepare for the day, in remote learning, we can support students similarly through strong morning meetings!

Which idea(s) would you like to “steal” for your own practice? How have you been creating community in your classrooms? Let us know in the comments or on our Twitter!

Anna has worked as a special education teacher, coordinator, and dean for over a decade. She provides resources and professional development to schools with a focus on literacy instruction and culturally responsive practices. She is also currently a literacy specialist and coach with Brooklyn Prospect Charter School.