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Wednesday 31 August 2016

Morning Meetings in the Primary SPED Classroom

Hi Everyone!  I am excited to be a part of the Back to School blog hop hosted by The Autism Vault.  There are lots of great post and prizes to be won!  Make sure you make your way through the entire hop for your chance to gather some great freebies and great prizes!

I start everyday in my classroom with our morning meeting. It brings everyone in the class together and I have found that this is a great way to start off our day.

When the students come into the classroom, they complete their entry routines.  They take off their jackets (if wearing one), change their shoes (they have indoor/outdoor shoes), unpack their backpacks, put their lunches and communication books away, get their AAC device/book, check their schedules and go to the carpet for morning meeting.  Since my student all complete their entry routines at different paces, once they get to the carpet they choose a book to read on the carpet while we wait for everyone to join us.  We taught them to do this as part of the morning meeting routine and we found that it helps to settle them for the day.  Now, when I say read, I mean that they look at books or complete interactive books as none of my students are fluent readers yet.  Once everyone arrives at the carpet, I tell the students to put their books away and we start our morning meeting.

I run our meeting on our SMART board using a Notebook file that I created.  I absolutely love the SMART board for group lessons because I can make the activities engaging and interactive for my students.  Before we had the SMART board, I used paper based materials and we always had a difficult time keeping the students engaged and on task.  This piece of technology has assisted in decreasing excessive behaviours and increasing on task behaviour.  It's not say that things always run smoothly.  My students still have autism, and some of them still require reinforcement to remain engaged and on task throughout the morning meeting.  For those who need it, they get reinforced using edibles or tangibles or through token boards.  For the students who need the token boards, once their books are put away, they choose what they are working for and place it on their token board.  Then they hold their token boards in their laps or on the floor beside them and are reinforced throughout the morning meeting.  I was trying to find a pic of the token boards we use in my room, but I could only find this one on my phone!  If you want a better visual, you can find them in my TPT store.

The focus of my morning meeting is communication and appropriate behaviour. I use this time to address social skill development, as well as to introduce and review academic concepts. Typically, I emphasize attending, imitating, listening, and turn taking, and waiting skills.  I include calendar skills, but no other math skills.  I teach a math group lesson later in the day, so we focus on math skills at that time.  In my morning meeting, I include songs, questions, and interactive activities.  I just revised our morning meeting and made a new Notebook file, which you can grab here.  Obviously, you will have to edit to include your class information, but this gives you an idea of how to run it.

We start our morning meeting by singing the national anthem, as my students arrive after the school's announcement.  Then we say our morning prayer and take attendance.  For some songs I use you tube videos and other we sing.  I find mixing it up like this helps to keep the students engaged and on task.

You will notice that some of the info seems to be missing in the pics I am posting...that's because it is!  I created the templates for the Notebook file in Powerpoint first because I find it easier to work with and then imported into Notebook.  I had to add the interactive pieces in the Notebook file.  When you download the Notebook file, you will find everything you need is there!

Okay, back to my morning meeting.  After attendance, we sing a "Hello" song and then I say hello to each student.  By doing this, we work on the critical communication skills of greetings and eye contact.  I also ask the students how they are feeling today and they answer using vocal language, or their AAC system and then post their answer on the SMART Board.  We then work on learning each other's names.  The students either point to the named person, say the person's name when asked or match their written name to the picture depending on their skill level.

Then we get into the calendar skills.  We sing the months of the year and days of the week song and students match the abbreviations of the months to the month.  We work on relating the days of the week to each other (today is.., yesterday was...) and then count the days of the month until we get to the current day.  Lastly, we practice saying and writing out the date and counting the number of days in school.

After that, we discuss the weather.  Students take turns each day identifying the weather for the day and then we tally the sunny days for that week.  Next, we discuss the seasons and choose the appropriate clothing for the season.

The last part of our morning meeting is focused on vocabulary.  Each month, we have different vocabulary words that the students learn.  For September, vocabulary instruction will focus school words.  The students will either point to the labelled word or expressively identify the picture when it's their turn.  Finally, we do a question of the day.  I ask each student the question and they respond using vocal language or their AAC system.  We tally their answers and discuss which had the most responses (more/less comparisons).  Then students check their schedules and move onto the next activity!

How do you run morning meeting in your classroom?  I am always looking for new ideas and would love to know!  Drop me a comment below!  And don't forget to enter our giveaway for some awesome prizes!  

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to hop over to Autism the Teen Years for more tips and freebies!  

Until next time,

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  1. I always enjoyed Morning Meeting... there is so much you can do with it! I can't really do it because I'm a resource teacher and work in small groups all day, and it is something I really miss about being in a self-contained class.

  2. I think the most challenging thing about back to school is getting so many new students used to a new routine!

  3. I think the most challenging thing is getting schedules made that include the right amount of inclusion minute.

  4. I think the most challenging thing is finding a new back to school activity to do with my kids since I have them for 3 years in a row....I can't use the same activities or books year to year.

  5. I love the ideas in this post! Thanks for sharing with us!

  6. I miss using the Smartboards. The district I am in now does not have them in all the special education classroom like my last district. It makes such a difference in getting students with Autism engaged.


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