Photo Credit: mattjlc via Flickr, CCL 2012
Last week I posted about powering up the start of the school day with a Morning Meeting routine. As promised, today I will share a few of my favorite “Greeting” activities for the start of the meeting time.
There are 4 things to consider when selecting your greetings:
1- Time: Sometimes you’ll have the time to do a longer greeting (such as a circle song that names each child.) Other days you’ll need a quickie (such as the “1-minute greeting.”) It depends on factors such as the activity you are going to do, the number of students sharing, and your plans for the school day as a whole. The goal should be to keep the entire meeting around 20 minutes.
2- Naming power: Try to go for “naming” power in as many greetings as possible. Greeting children by name makes them feel known, seen, and valued.
3- Comfort Zone: Some greetings are mellow and work well for a class just getting to know each other. Some greetings invite kids to let their personality shine and depend on an existing atmosphere of friendship and trust. Use your judgement as you go through the year. Your “teacher gut” will tell you which greetings will work for your class at it’s current level of community.
4- Fun factor: Make sure to keep the greeting time upbeat, energetic, and fun. Each class has its own personality. You will find that the “favorite” greeting one year is not as popular with a different group of children. Try a variety of different greetings and “mix it up” to keep things fresh. It’s good to keep introducing new greetings throughout the school year.
Here are 10 of my favorite greetings:
1- “We Are Here!”– This is a greeting sung to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell.” The children stand in a circle and we clap a steady beat. Then we all sing,
“Andrew is here!
Andrew is here!
It’s a great day because Andrew is here.”
(While we sing about Andrew, he walks around the inside of the circle, waving at his classmates or giving high-fives. Other options include hopping around the circle, skipping around the circle, dancing inside the circle, etc.) I usually give them a few options and let them choose.) This is always a favorite and it goes pretty quickly.
As an optional finale, you can sing “We are here- we are here- it’s a great day because we are here!” and let everyone dance at once.
2- The 1-minute greeting: This is for those days when you need a super-quick greeting. Teach the children how to properly greet someone with a firm (but not painful!) handshake, smile, eye contact, and a friendly “Good morning, Ryan!” (Tell them to be sure and say names.) Give them 1 minute (or less) to move around the room and greet as many peers as possible. Teachers participate too! *During flu season (or any time germs seem to be circulating) we switch to an “elbow” shake, fist bump, air handshake (shake hands without touching), etc.
3- Echo Greeting: Children stand in a circle. Each one takes a turn saying, “Hello, my name is _____ and I’d like to say good morning!” On the “good morning” part, they say it in a unique way and also add gestures. For example, one might say “Good morning” in a robot voice and add robot arms. Then, the whole class echoes the voice and movement by repeating “good morning” with robot voices and arms.
4- Greetings in other languages: It’s fun to collect “hello” words from other languages and compile a class chart. Teach children the proper pronunciations and then challenge them to greet at least 5 friends in other languages (they move around the room to do this.) Or, for younger children, draw each child’s name and go down the list. (i.e.- “Our next friend is… Ben! Let’s greet Ben in Japanese. Konichiwa, Ben!”)
- Konichiwa (koh-Nee-chee-wah) is hello in Japanese.
- Jambo (JAHM-bo) is hello in Swahili.
- Hola (OH-la) is hello in Spanish.
- Ni hao (nee-Ha-OW) is hello in Chinese.
- Bonjour (bohn-Zhoor) is hello in French.
- Buon giorno (bwohn-JOR-noh) is hello in Italian.
- Annyong ha shimnikka (An-YOH HASHim-ni-kah) is hello in Korean.
- Czesc (Chesht) is hello is Polish.
- Zdravstvuite (ZzDRAST-vet-yah) is hello in Russian.
- Al Salaam a’ alaykum (ahl sah-LAHM-ah-ah-LAY-Koom)) is hello in Arabic.
Two great books to go with this greeting:
Say Hello by Rachael Isadora
Can You Say Peace by Karen Katz (Learn how to say “Peace” in different world languages.)
5- The “Jump, Jump” greeting: This is such a fun greeting and is also a great way to get out some wiggles! See this post for a description of the “Jump” greeting.
6- Pass the Hello: The general idea with this greeting is that students pass an object and greet each other. Everyone starts by standing in a circle. The teacher greets the first child by taking (or tossing) the object to a child and greeting him/her by name, “Good morning, Andrea! I’m glad you are here!” The child accepts the object and responds appropriately, “Good morning, Mrs. Antonelli!” Then the child delivers the object to the next child with a proper greeting and then goes and sits down in her spot while the object is passed on. (Having children sit who have already participated prevents getting muddled at the end with questions like, “Who hasn’t had a turn?” It’s obvious that students who are standing are the ones who still need to be greeted.”
Objects that work well for this game are a soft ball like a koosh ball, bean bag or Beanie Baby toy, painted “talking stick”, or stuffed animal. The kids love tossing something to each other but you have to tell them to name the person BEFORE they throw the object so the receiver knows it’s coming their way!
*Fun Variations: After kids complete the first round, have them repeat the object pass/toss in the same order, faster and silently! They love it! Finally, you can also add another ball or two and have them going around simultaneously.
7- Hit the Floor!: This is one of my funniest, most loved greetings. (It’s a dance-based greeting and your students’ moves will crack you up.) Everyone stands in a circle and chants,
Come on, __________, and hit the floor!
We’re so glad you’re here today,
Hooray, hooray, hooray!”
Once a student’s name is called, he/she jumps out into the middle of the circle and dances during the end of the chant.
This one requires some strong, existing classroom community for children to be comfortable dancing for each other, but once you’ve got that established, it’s a hoot!
8- Snowball Fight: When the recycle bin is full of paper, this is a fun greeting to try. Give each child a piece of recycled paper and have them write their name on it. Then have them crumple the paper into a ball (i.e.- “snowball”) and put the kids into 2 groups on opposite sides of the carpet. Signal “Go!” and give them 1 minute to have a “snow ball fight.” When it’s over, have each child pick up a piece of paper and greet the child whose name is written on it.
9- Cow Greeting: This one cracks me up. Children get in pairs. They greet each other for a moment (say hello and chat) until the teacher calls, “Milking time!” Then they take turns “milking” each other. One child laces his/her fingers together with thumbs hanging down while the other child “milks” the thumbs. (The child being milked can “moo.”) Then they switch. So funny! You can do this once or let them repeat with another partner if you have time. (*Make sure the children know to be gentle while milking and avoid pulling down on the thumbs too hard.)
10- The Friday Greeting: This is a special one for Fridays (obviously.)
The class chants,
The weekend is near!
What are you going to do when it’s here?”
The child responds,
I’m going to ___________.”
Class: “Got it!”
Then the process is repeated for the next child. (It is important that children understand that their response should be very brief- just a few words.) You can also clap a beat or add hand signs such as waving during the “Hello, ______” part or thumbs-up during “Got it!” As the class gets comfortable and memorizes the chant, you can work on making it rhythmic and keeping a steady beat. (I like to give drums to 1 or 2 of my students and let them serve as the “beat keepers.” That is a very coveted job.)
So, there you go! 10 great greetings to get you started!
I created a downloadable pdf (freebie) so that you can have these greetings at your fingertips.
Click on the image below to download the greetings. Print, cut, laminate (or not), and bind with a binder clip. You will have a great start to your collection of Morning Meeting Greetings!
I’ll also be sharing some of my favorite activities for the “Activity Block” of the Morning Meeting in my next post.
Do you have other greetings to share? If so, post them in the comments below.
Sources for Greetings:
I have gathered many of these greetings from my fellow teachers through the years. I have also collected them from professional development workshops and professional resources such as The Morning Meeting Book and the Responsive Classroom website. Another favorite book is 99 Activities and Greetings. If you want more, check those links or simply Google “Morning Meeting Greetings.” There are tons of ideas out there!