Thursday, January 23, 2014

Interactive Morning Messages

Hi!  I'm Jennifer and I blog over at Elementary School Garden!  I am in my seventh year of teaching 4th grade and am currently at home on maternity leave after giving birth to my first daughter.  I'm very excited to embark on this new blogging adventure with all these amazing bloggers at Who's Who and Who's New.

Today I wanted to talk to you a little about Interactive Morning Messages.


Our district uses a responsive classroom approach.  Each morning we have a morning meeting which includes an interactive morning message.

When I first started teaching I would spend my precious morning minutes creating a fun morning message that would often be ignored by distracted students as they arrived.  How could I save my morning time and present a morning message in a way that would catch students attention immediately as they entered each morning?

I decided to make my morning messages interactive!

How do I do this?  By adding a section at the bottom of each message for students to respond.  I keep a little bin of post-it notes and markers nearby.  I post my morning message up front by our door so it's the first thing students see when they enter our classroom.  They stop, read the message, and immediately respond.  Then, we read and discuss our morning message as part of our morning meeting.

To save time I bring the pad of paper home over breaks or long weekends and write out a months worth of messages all at once.  I follow a simple schedule:

Monday - Weekend Happenings
Tuesday - Social Studies / Science
Wednesday - Math
Thursday - Language Arts
Friday - Riddles, Jokes, and Fun Stuff

This schedule helps me think of new and creative messages rather than falling into a pattern of the same boring posts.

Here are some examples:

This is the message that I plan to post on the first day back from February Break.  This will also be my first day teaching after my long maternity leave.


You can underline key words to make them pop.  Use color to make different parts of your message stand out.  Place a post-it note on the message as an example of your expectations for students.

Here is another example.  This morning message ties in our math content.  I am collecting data about students' favorite colors.  We will use the tally chart to make a bar graph during morning meeting.


Notice how I left the day and part of the year blank at the top of the message?  I do this so I can reuse the message next year.  I'll just cut off the bottom and put a new piece of paper underneath it.  You can use post-it notes to add the date to the top of your message or have students help you fill in the date during your morning meeting.

Here are some helpful tips to make your interactive morning messages amazing:


Do you use morning messages in your classroom?  What tips would you share?



32 comments:

  1. Ooooh I like this idea! I'm now wondering how I could adapt it for non/emergent readers in the early years........

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  2. For emergent readers I would use easy sight words and very simple sentences. Maybe you could use pictures or symbols within the text as well. Use predictable patterns in the beginning sentences and practice reading the message together during your morning meeting. Interactive morning messages are so much fun. I'm sure your students will LOVE them!

    Jennifer
    Elementary School Garden

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jennifer! I will definitely be trying this idea out!

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  3. What a fantastic idea! I LOVE the schedule you have to incorporate all subject areas. I'd love some of your jokes/riddles ideas too! =)
    Lisa, I add clipart to my morning messages (I teach first) to make them easier to read. I also try to incorporate our previous week's sight words and spelling patterns so they are a bit familiar with them. It took a lot of time to create, but I save them on my computer and just display on my Smartboard so I don't have to write them every year. I'm going to try to modify them to make them more interactive and the kids can just write on it since it's on the wipe-off board. Thanks for the ideas, Jennifer!

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  4. The Responsive Classroom website has some good ideas for morning messages. I also have a book called Morning Meeting Messages K-6 that has a lot of good suggestions. As far as the jokes/riddles, I pull from a few joke books that I have. Sometimes I will put some blanks at the bottom of the message and have the children play hang-man, or I scramble the letters of a word and have them try to guess a vocab word for social studies or science. I love how you use the Smartboard to display your morning messages. What a great idea!

    Jennifer
    Elementary School Garden

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this! I teach 6th grade and never thought to do a morning message with my students (I always thought it was more of a younger age thing). However, your interactive approach is fun and engaging for all ages. We do "bell work" each morning and I think I am going to start incorporating this idea.

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    Replies
    1. Teresa, I think your students would love having a morning message.

      Jennifer
      Elementary School Garden

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  6. Great post! I think my building is considering adopting the Responsive Classroom approach; I'm really hoping we do. I am going to try this out!

    Deb
    Not very fancy

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    Replies
    1. Deb, we adopted the Resonsive Classroom approach a few years ago and our students and teachers LOVE it. The training sessions are a lot of fun and there are loads of great resources available to get you started.

      Jennifer
      Elementary School Garden

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    2. Jennifer, I'm so glad to hear that! I tried to add an interactive component to my morning message--you can read about it in today's post:
      <a href="http://not-very-fancy.blogspot.com/2014/01/morning-meeting-fun.html>Not very fancy--morning meeting fun</a>
      Thanks for the inspiration! :)

      Delete
  7. I love that you have a schedule of what you write about each day! Why didn't I think of that! Great post! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Hilary
    Second Grade is Out of This World!

    ReplyDelete
  8. WOW! What an amazing plus brilliant Interactive Morning Messages that are looking beautiful.
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  9. I love this idea! I've been using a morning slide up on the projector each day to tell students what they need to do. It has helped, but some have been skipping it, thinking they don't need to check. By adding a question they need to respond to, I can make sure they REALLY do read it. I may move where the question is too so they don't just skip to the end or only read the first thing.

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