Elementary Education

Is this not the greatest quote ever? It speaks so much truth into my life, AND into the lives of my third graders. When they walk into my classroom for the first time, this is what I want them to know. Most teachers want their students to know that "this year is going to be the best yet." While that might be true, the most important message is for them to know that they  are capable of anything we will do in 3rd grade, that they are brave enough to try the impossible. That they are significant and most importantly, loved. I want them to know that there will be people in life who try to discourage them from achieving their greatest dreams. There will be people who question their abilities, and people who make them feel inferior... because sadly, that's the real world and. I want them to know that the opinions of others should never pull them down from accomplishing God's plan for their lives. As an educator my job is not just to teach them how to do long division, how to differentiate comparative from superlative adjectives, or how to draw conclusions while reading. But to teach them to be confident in who they are and to believe in themselves. I would encourage you to be intentional about speaking truth into their souls. It is so easy for us teachers to get caught up in the long checklist of each day. Reading, spelling, grammar, writing, science, math, history, bible... but what about life? You're probably thinking, "ok, I get your point...but how?!" 
Morning Meeting
Here's what I do. And here's what you need to do because morning meeting is the best part of our day. Morning Meeting consists of three parts.
1. Greeting: We sit in a circle (myself included... so invest in some pants teachers.) We then greet each friend sitting beside us with "Good morning _____, how are you today?" We will sometimes do a proper handshake, high five, or our cow greeting. Youtube that one and you'll learn it real quick ;)
2. Share: This is the most essential part. I will prompt my kids with a question. Not a yes or no questions, but a higher order question which means I can't anticipate their answer. Something like... "What is something you did well yesterday and what is something you need to work on?" I like to ask them questions that really make them think and encourage them to set goals for themselves. We will pass a stuffed animal around so that we know whose turn it is to talk. 
3. Game: This is how we get our wiggles out for the day. Our favorite game is coconut. Coconut is basically one big game of rock paper scissors. Here's how you play-

Coconut (squatting with bent knees)
Palm Tree (swaying arms overhead)
Volcano (using arms as lava)
King or Queen (doing a princess wave)

All players start as a coconut. They find another coconut and play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Whoever wins, evolves and becomes a palm tree, whoever loses remains a coconut. Palm trees then find other palm trees and repeat the Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner goes on to being a volcano and the loser becomes a coconut. Players try to move up to king or queen, but the game is continuous. Originsonline.org supplies some other great game ideas for morning meeting. 

I'm telling you, morning meeting is our favorite part of the day. It allows me as a teacher to bond and develop a relationship with each child. It provides my kids with a chance to feel capable, significant, and loved. 

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