START WITH YOURSELF
My Classroom: Of my 26 homeroom students, they are 81% white, 19% other ethnicities. My classroom is more diverse than the larger building. I also have 7% of my students receiving full scholarships and 30.7% of my students receiving financial aid. 23% of my homeroom students receive pull out and intervention services and 15% of my students are serviced for special education.
Being culturally responsive is more than the ethnic diversity in front on me.
Classrooms are diverse culturally, socioeconomically, intellectually and more. I wanted to focus on a time of our school day where I can identify and celebrate the many differences within my homeroom. Especially when the vision of my school seems to align with CRT more than I had investigated or realized.
Highland Catholic School Vision Statement
I chose to focus on a morning meeting for my unit plan. In our fifth grade schedule, 4 mornings a week I have a 35 minute block of time devoted to "other" teaching. I was told not to bank on this for a morning meeting. A few other middle school teachers told me this would be a waste, or I would regret devoting that time to just a morning meeting. I however find myself struggling to promote community and be the best culturally responsive teacher I can be. I want to take back our class time together, and go forward into next year with a plan to get the most out of our morning/community meetings.
- How do I create a developmentally appropriate morning meeting where everyone is heard?
- Can I create a meeting that allows for building community as a class?
- How do I create a meeting that can also spill into our academic areas?
- What might a community meeting look, sound and feel like?
Responsive Classroom: Morning Meeting Experts
Why Morning Meeting Matters
The video below highlights two teachers morning meetings, and some of the positive benefits and reasons of doing so.
Culturally Responsive Elements of Morning Meeting
- Student voice and choice- students can share and be heard. Their stories, and feelings matter.
- Validate who they are, where they come from. Understanding that they may show up in a different emotional space each day.
- Let the meeting be reflective of the individuals in the class.
- Provide a variety of sharing strategies, and activities to allow for maximum engagement.
Seeing my students in a different light:
Starting with the theme kindness has been wonderful. By having a theme to help direct our meetings, and a set of vocabulary and books that align allows for me to use a variety of Hollie's CLR strategies as well. It has a transferable effect on how my students are learning in language arts as well. Creating a culturally responsive morning meeting is helping me serve my learners better in other parts of our day.
I CAN do a morning meeting that matters. It can and will make a difference in my classroom community.
We have started doing community meetings in room 201. We have them on Monday and Thursday mornings, and it has been an adjustment as it is so late in the school year.
Some of my "cooler" (in their mind) students had trouble initially. The thought of a classroom meeting seemed juvenile or unnecessary. I have noticed as we develop norms and expectations that these same students are the ones who ask if we can do a morning meeting on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
During journaling I asked for students to write about what they like about morning meeting thinking the activity may be their favorite...I was surprised when many students wrote about enjoying sharing, and our greetings.
A noticeable Difference
I walked past your classroom and your students seemed so engaged.
-my students were doing a Three-Step Interview (Hollie 2012) when a coworker walked by and commented on how my students seemed so engaged in the work they were doing. I am learning to not take for granted how important it is to allow time for engagement and understanding amongst peers.
Being culturally responsive matters in every classroom, in every school, for every student.
This is what I want to continue to remind myself of as I continue to further my knowledge and understanding. I am eager to finish this school year with our morning meetings. I am excited to continue building bank of books for each theme and better understanding how to build community through CRT and CLR within my classroom.
Hollie, S. (2012). Culturally and linguistically responsive teaching and learning. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education.
"Morning Meeting and Older Students." Responsive Classroom. N.p., 16 May 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
Saifer, S., Edwards, K., Ellis, D., Ko, L., & Stuczynski, A. (2011). Culturally responsive standards-based teaching: classroom to community and back. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Teacher, T. (2015, February 17). Morning Meeting Activities with Themes in Literature Set 2. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Morning-Meeting-Activities-with-Themes-in-Literature-Set-2-1712848
Teacher, T. (2015, February 17). Morning Meeting Activities with Themes in Literature Set 1. Retrieved March 15, 2017, from https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Morning-Meeting-Activities-with-Themes-in-Literature-Set-1- 1431490