Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Take away Tuesday

Flip-Floppin' Through 3rd grade is having a linky party called Take Away Tuesday. The idea is to share something that readers can take away and use. 

Here's an idea I tried last year and I liked how it went. I got the idea from a book called The First 6 Weeks of School. 

This book is full of good ideas and specific examples of how to build community in your classroom and establish procedures. {They have a website called Responsive Classroom that has lots of articles and ideas for free - click HERE to go there.} 

In previous years, I had noticed that while I had quickly learned all the students' names, they just didn't seem to know each other.  Crazy to me! Particularly because more than half of my class had gone to this school in first grade – Together!

So last year, at the beginning of the year, we started our day with a morning meeting. Maybe you already do this. {Have you ever been to Wal-Mart or Target when they do this? So you know it's got to be a good idea, right?}

We'd start in our circle and we did several things. But the biggie was I would ask a question. So I'd model how I wanted the kids to answer, and then we'd go around the circle and everybody would answer. 


I'm so mean, I made them stand up, say their name and then answer the question. And if somebody didn't answer - well, we're coming back to you. {And my heart's pounding a little, cuz I know I can't make anybody do anything, but really, come on!} The book gives some ideas of questions - favorite color, what you like to do at recess, that sort of thing. We did some of those, but then I asked my kids for some ideas. We were studying oceans to start the year, so one suggestion was favorite ocean animal. And then somebody got really smart and we asked favorite ocean mammal.

To me, the great thing about this was suddenly we all started knowing each others' names. And as a bonus - we figured out that somebody else had the same favorite color as us; or also like to play tag at recess; or like the same ocean animal as us. So I really felt it was a great team building exercise.

Unfortunately, we couldn't keep up our morning meetings because our whole mornings were pretty structured {set by the higher ups}, but I would like to see if I can't continue those at least once a week. I wanted to do that last year, but it didn't happen. This year I'm going to try again!

For more ideas, stop by Flip-Floppin’ Through 3rdGrade! 

As for me, we are definitely into summer – 100 degree or better temps all week. Yesterday and today, 108! It’s a little early for this much warmth, in my humble opinion!

Stay Cool!


  1. Sara, I appreciate what you had to say about morning meeting. I started it last year but for some reason let it fall by the wayside. After reading your post, I feel more determined to stick with it next year. Thanks! :)
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  2. I love this book! I purchased it last year along with its sister book, "The Morning Meetings Book". You should definitely look into getting it too because it even has MORE great ideas. Wow, 100+ temperatures all week seems dreadful! We are getting a lot of rainstorms in Chicagoland. Keep cool and wear lots of sunscreen!

    Cheers To School

  3. I love the idea of everyone standing and answering a question. What a great community builder. Thanks for the book recommendation.

    Mrs. Bartel’s School Family

  4. It looks like a great book. The first six weeks are so very important. :)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  5. Community is so important. I was just saying this morning that I don't really teach the first week. We spend time getting to know each other and our routines so that we can jump into our curriculum together as a team. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners