Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review :: The Morning Meeting Book

Title: The Morning Meeting Book
Author: Roxann Kriete
Genre: Education

Publisher: Northeast Foundation for Children
Publication Date: June 1st 2002 (first published January 1st 1999)
Source: Borrowed from library

Did I like the cover?: Clean, simple. I like that it matches the other books from Northeast Foundation for Children.

This book reminds me of: First Six Weeks of School by Paula Denton

Summary from Goodreads:
The time one commits to Morning Meeting is an investment which is repaid many times over....Morning Meeting is a microcosm of the way we wish our schools to be--communities full of learning, safe and respectful and challenging for all.

- from The Morning Meeting Book

Since its original publication three years ago, The Morning Meeting Book has introduced thousands of teachers to this powerful teaching tool that builds community, increases student investment, and improves academic and social skills. The book's step-by-step implementation guidelines; clear explanations of purposes; and specific examples of activities, greetings, and charts have helped teachers across the country launch their school days with Morning Meeting.

This is my second time reading this book. It was first recommended to me by my professors in my teaching credential program. I read it earlier in my career and struggled to implement it in my classroom because I couldn't validate my reason for taking away instructional minutes from the curriculum and state standards to build classroom community.

8 years later, I know what it is like to use almost every single instructional minute to teach our state standards every day but, I also know how hard it is to deal with upper grade (5th graders) students when they go through their many issues. Bullying is an issue that is garnering a lot of media attention lately and rightly so, schools are implementing more and more training for teachers on how to handle bullying with their students. At one of our trainings at the end of our school year, one of our teachers shared about class meetings and I immediately remembered reading The Morning Meeting Book. Her presentation really moved me and inspired to work on building a better classroom community in my class for the upcoming school year.

So with more experience under my belt, I am ready to implement Morning Meetings in my classroom next year in a wholehearted attempt to build classroom community. I can teach the standards all day long and cram it down their throats, but if my students don't care about each other, then can I really live with myself as an educator? For many years, I was confused about how to go about this because of the high-stakes, test-driven environment that plagues the education system today. I have proven myself as a teacher with students that perform well on the state tests, I need something more than that and I'm ready to make that stand now.

The Morning Meeting book reads well and it provides a lot of research to back up the effectiveness of Morning Meetings (MM). The book includes many examples of how to implement MM in classes of all different grades, including middle school in the 2nd edition. The extensive appendix provides sample greetings and a list of group activities. There are other books of greetings and messages that I'm curious about, but I'm going to start with just this book to see if it's enough or if I should supplement.

My only complaint about this book is that I tend to want more practicality than theory when I read teacher books. I was on board with MM in theory from the get go, I wanted more real life examples of what it looked like in a real classroom. It did provide many examples, but I think the book weighed a little too heavy on the theory side and repeated the some things over and over again that could have been said once.

It was an easy read and looks like it'll be a great resource I'll be pulling from throughout the school year. The book is organized intuitively and I highly recommend it to all of my fellow teachers.

4 out of 5 stars

This is book #14 of the year. I am participating in the 2011 Goodreads Reading Challenge. My goal is to read 50 books this year.

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