Welcome back to another school year! The days are getting cooler, it’s getting dark earlier, and back to school clothes have been purchased. Time to dive right into another school year!
This week I want to talk about inclusion. This is a huge hot button topic right now. I am of the belief that students should have inclusion opportunities to the best of their abilities. This may look different for each student!
How do we decide when inclusion happens? One of the best opportunities for inclusion I have found in the elementary schools is during morning meeting. This is a time when the whole class comes together and there can be some really meaningful opportunities.
Many teachers in my school follow the Responsive Classroom approach to a morning meeting. In my experience with grades spanning K through 5, most morning meetings follow the same basic format. There is some kind of greeting, followed by a sharing opportunity, often a group activity, and a morning message. There are also various housekeeping things along the way (attendance, lunch count, etc).
These are all potential inclusion opportunities! The greeting is a great time to practice social skills. For those with AAC devices, they can use them to greet their peers.
A sharing opportunity is a good way to involve students who might not necessarily get opportunities throughout the day or may need a little more time or preparation. I’ve worked with general education teachers who will tell me a day ahead of time what their “question of the day” or other sharing opportunity is so we can prep the students or pre-program devices. This moment is a guaranteed time when students are required to stop and think and listen to what their peers have to say.
A group activity is another great way to include all students. Again, if it is more involved or needs modification, the general education teacher can plan ahead of time so that everyone is ready. This is a great time for general education and special education students to all come together as peers and interact with each other.
The morning message portion of the meeting is a time when the teacher can speak to the class as a whole and give any messages they have, even if it’s just “welcome back to another day, I’m glad you are all here.” Students can be involved in the morning message as well.
This style of morning meeting is inclusive to everyone and really helps to create that classroom community for all to start their day off right.
What does your morning meeting routine look like?
For more information on Responsive Classroom morning meetings, click here.