Highlands Blog

Morning Meetings Provide Essential Learning Opportunities

Pat Long
Morning meetings are a time when students get together to greet each other, share, participate in a group activity and practice skills covered in class. Daily practice of these four components helps build relationships that bind a class together. Morning meetings are a way to make academics engaging, manage classrooms effectively, and create a positive classroom climate.
 
The merging of academics with social and emotional learning is a part of each Morning meeting and gives students the chance to develop skills needed for success in and outside of class. These meetings help students to develop strong cognitive abilities, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively with others.
 
Recently, the 3rd graders in Mrs. Crawford's class worked on a design challenge during what we call "Teamwork Tuesday”. The challenge put forth was to build the tallest building that they could with the materials provided. Students divided into teams with instructions to discuss possible designs (all team members were required to give ideas). Then students had to decide on a design and designate a team member to draw the design. Next, the students had to collect the needed materials and build their design. We then measured each building and took time for group reflections on the process and the outcomes. Students discussed what worked, what did not work, and what they would do differently next time. The plan moving forward is to give teams the opportunity to use the information gleaned from their initial attempt and the resulting group discussions to work on this building challenge a second time. We will then take time to examine the improvement that occurs after they are able to reflect on successes and mistakes of their initial attempt and see what they learned as a team.
 
This challenge motivates students to work cooperatively and communicate effectively by addressing their need to feel a sense of belonging and support in a safe environment. It also, gives students the opportunity to learn from mistakes and improve their ideas and designs.
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Highlands School, 4901 Old Leeds Road, Birmingham, AL 35213, (205) 956-9731
Highlands School's 'whole child' approach to education and commitment to academic excellence, creative expression, and leadership development prepare and motivate students in grades 4k through 8 to make a positive difference in an ever-changing world. Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Highlands School holds dual accrediation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Southern Associations of Independent Schools (SAIS).

For more information, visit www.highlandsschool.org.