Every morning as I walk the fifth grade hallway, I see the same basic pattern: students put their backpacks away and gather their supplies for the day, teachers take attendance, organize their own supplies, and visit with students about last night’s sporting events, tv shows, homework, etc. After the commotion subsides, everyone moves to a central location for their daily “Class Meeting.” While this may seem trivial at first, I believe it could be the most important part of the day for these students.
I asked some of the Timberview Fifth Grade Teachers to answer a few questions about class meetings. Here are their responses:
The Purpose of the Class Meeting
- Builds trust and team unity
- Gives students time to share what they think could improve our school/classroom
- Builds relationships, both student to student and teacher to student
- It’s a great time to get to know each other.
- It’s a quick check of how kids are feeling and what issues might be going on that might affect learning.
- Gives students a time to be heard; to voice celebrations, concerns, and compliments.
- Offers an opportunity to clarify issues and problems, and offer solutions
- Reminders about expectations/changes to the daily schedule
- Sets the tone for the day.
What Happens in a Fifth Grade Class Meeting?
- “I always have students share something short at the beginning – How are you feeling on a scale of 1-10? Give a compliment to someone on our team. Then we check the ‘Class Meeting Box’ which is basically a parking lot for concerns. After that we talk about what our day will look like, answer questions, and discuss important topics for the day.”
What is the Role of the Teacher in these Meetings?
- The teacher guides students in appropriate discussion. Students learn to share in positive ways and look for solutions, instead of just complaining. The teacher listens to the students and tries to incorporate the suggestions and ideas into the classroom.
Outcomes of Classroom Meetings:
- Real improvement of processes such as restroom time, dismissal procedures, and classroom rapport.
- Students feel more ownership of their classroom and school because they see how they can make a difference.
- Helps students deal with “Real Situations.” A teacher shared with me a time they helped a student deal with the loss of a family pet by allowing other students to share their experiences.
Other Information Our Teachers Want You to Know about Classroom Meetings:
- The meetings seem time consuming, but they are proactive, and save A LOT of time in the long run!
- It might be even harder to find time to do this at the middle/high grade level, but might be even more important to their learning!
- “I’m so happy we do this. Kids and I love that time together, and our class is ‘kinder’ because of it.
Students deserve to have a voice when it comes to their learning. Daily classroom meetings allow them to be heard! In my opinion, that’s time well spent!