Wilder Elementary embraces morning meetings to build relationships, provide social-emotional lessons
Wilder Elementary second-grade teacher Nichole Price kicked off Monday morning’s class with a conversation prompt for her students: Sometimes you have bad days. What do you do to make yourself feel better when you are having a bad day?
As an example, she shared how walking in nature and taking calming breaths helped her settle down after feeling grumpy. To give her students time to consider their responses, she dove into their classwide morning greeting, where every student treats each other with a good morning welcome.
Many teachers across the district have embraced the morning meeting concept, including those at Wilder who this year start each school day by gathering with students for 20 minutes to greet each other, participate in group activities, and build a sense of community within their classrooms.
Wilder staff had received training on the concept through the Center for Responsive Schools’ Responsive Classroom program prior to the pandemic. However, after recently completing Trauma-Informed and Resilience-Focused training, school leaders envisioned the morning meetings as a structured approach to teaching students other life skills such as self regulation and maintaining friendships.
“Kids need that consistent positive start to their day,” Principal Dr. Victoria Hazlett said. “We’re trying to make it equitable so that all kids are getting foundational skill development and social emotional learning.”
Wilder’s morning meetings have daily themes:
- Mindful Mondays, which are focused self regulation lessons;
- Team Up Tuesdays, where each grade level teams determine what social-emotional lessons students need to be successful in school and across the grade level;
- Wilder Wednesdays, where teachers review appropriate behavior in the building, from safe play on the the playground to how students are behaving in the halls and restroom;
- Teacher Choice Thursdays, where teachers can decide how to spend the morning meeting;
- Friendship Friday, which is focused on a social activity for students.
Price has been holding morning meetings for more than six years and uses the practice to check in with students and review the class agenda. It has made an impact on her students, she said.
“I love it,” she said. “I feel like it’s a good way to settle into the day, see how they are feeling and just make sure everyone gets to be seen. So when we say our greetings to each other, they are seen by everyone.”
- Westerville City Schools
- Wilder Elementary