Free Character Education Lesson for Morning Meeting
By Mary Montero
Share This Post:
We often take the ability to have meaningful conversations for granted, but this is actually an important character education skill that needs to be taught, modeled, and practiced. That’s why I am such an advocate for morning meeting and make sure to include opportunities for practicing personal skills in our daily plans. Here’s a free character education learning lesson for morning meeting that makes a BIG impact. Add it to your back to school plans now and then revisit the same idea to help students build relationships all year long.
If you’re new to morning meetings, this Making Morning Meeting Work in the Upper Elementary Classroom post is a great place to start.
Find Someone Who Morning Meeting Lesson
After greeting, we play this FREE Find Someone Who Back to School game. You’ve probably seen these activities before, but here’s the catch: I don’t just hand them out and send students racing off to get as many signatures as they can as quickly as possible!
Instead, students have to greet each person they talk to by name (or ask names if they don’t know everyone on the first day of school). This can be as simple as, “Good morning, Carter.” or “Good morning, what’s your name?”
Then they have to ask questions based on the sheet until they find a block their current partner can sign. “Did you go on vacation this summer?” or “Do you have an older brother or sister?”
After about ten minutes, or once most students have finished most squares, I collect the papers and we gather back in our meeting spot so I can model having deeper conversations. I ask individual students to tell me more about one of the squares they signed. For example, “Charlotte, I see you play a sport. What do you play?”
I also ask follow up questions to model a short conversation with each student. “What’s your favorite thing about that sport? How long have you played?” etc.
While the rest of the students listen to our conversation, they can use hand signals to indicate a connection, me too, etc. Hand signals allow everyone to be involved without interrupting so that everyone respects the talking time.
Note: So often while sharing, another kiddo would raise their hand and say, “OH! That happened to me too…” and proceed to tell their story. Instead, I teach students to do a “me too” single or “connection” single to acknowledge that they relate to what’s being said. Then I encourage students to share their connections another time.
Once you’ve taught students how to intentionally use Find Someone Who activities, you can do other themes throughout the year. With time, students will take more ownership of conversations and follow up questions as they’re signing squares. You can download more FREE Find Someone Who themes here.
More Ways to Build Relationships
Using picture books during morning meeting is another way to build relationships and discuss important topics with your students at the same time. This morning meeting book recommendation post has several book suggestions and related activities to use with each one that are also perfect for character education.
Teaching students collaboration skills is another key part of relationship building. Some classes are naturally more inclined to collaborate than others, but we can help all groups of students develop the interpersonal skills necessary to collaborate without getting their feelings hurt by intentionally teaching collaboration skills. This collaboration blog post includes several ideas for increasing classroom synergy and a FREE lesson plan for a fun STEM activity too.
Ideas from other Upper Elementary Teachers
For a more creative task, have students use Legos or art supplies to create something that describes their favorite part of summer break. Then allow students to share as they introduce themselves.
How do you encourage relationships with your students and integrate character education lessons in upper elementary? I’d love to hear about it! Share your ideas with us in our FREE Inspired In Upper Elementary Facebook group.
I’m so glad you are here. I’m a current gifted and talented teacher in a small town in Colorado, and I’ve been in education since 2009. My passion (other than my family and cookies) is for making teachers’ lives easier and classrooms more engaging.