Community Begins with the Morning Meeting

Community Begins with the Morning Meeting


>>Teacher: The assassin’s going
to start winking at people, and when they wink at
someone, that person dies. And the detective’s job is to find out who the assassin is before
everyone in the room dies.>>Narrator: In every middle school in
Louisville, Kentucky, the day begins with a healthy dose of fun. For twenty minutes each morning,
students and teachers engage in a series of games and discussions
designed to engender empathy and encourage collaboration.>>Teacher: Speak up for your
friend and let somebody know.>>Narrator: These morning
meetings are a key component of the district’s social
emotional learning initiative, called CARE for Kids,
which has been spearheaded by Superintendent Shelly Berman.>>Sheldon: There’s a pretty complex
puzzle that we have to put together to have to have a successful school. But a foundational element
of that puzzle is the culture and climate of that school. And when students feel safe–>>Principal: Hello, sweet girl,
you have a good day, okay?>>Sheldon: When they feel that that
culture and climate supports them, when they feel cared about, not
only by the adults in the school, but by other students in the
school, they can do their best.>>Good morning, Casey.>>Good morning, Tessa.>>Sheldon: We have morning meetings, which are really community
building meetings. Students greet each other
and there’s eye contact and handshakes and things.>>[in Spanish] Buenos dias, amigo.>>[in Spanish] Buenos dias, amiga.>>Sheldon: And then there’s
sharing about each other’s lives.>>What you do?>>I had a football game.>>Did you all win?>>No.>>Our friend’s house
burnt down this weekend.>>My gosh, were they able to find
somewhere to stay after it happened?>>Uh-huh, they’re living
in this one hotel. I forgot what it’s called.>>Narrator: The homestead student
body president, who acts as a mentor to this sixth grade class, has seen
dramatic changes since the CARE for Kids initiative came to
his school two years ago.>>Paul: Before CARE for Kids,
it was mainly a disaster because we had a whole lot of
bullying going on around here, kids getting scared to
come to school, people, they’re hitting people,
more violent stuff. And now that CARE for
Kids has came along, it had changed the whole
atmosphere in the school building.>>Teacher: Should look like fair. That means you want everybody
to have a fair chance.>>Paul: It’s teaching kids
how to care for one another, how to be a bigger person
and how to resolve conflicts.>>I’m going to get
everybody to move, ready? When the cold wind blows, it
blows for whoever has on shoes.>>When you give us activities where
we able to move, get all our noises out before school and stuff, it
gets us more hyped about learning.>>Two more minutes, you guys.>>Bill: We have increased our
attendance, our pupil attendance, every single pupil month, as
compared to the previous year, so created an environment, I think,
of less problems in the classroom and in the school in
terms of behavior, and a sense of students
wanting to be at school.>>Teacher: Look at the name on
your piece of paper and think of something nice to
say about that person.>>It isn’t touchy feely stuff.>>Good morning, Storm.>>Good morning, Diedre.>>I like your humor.>>Sheldon: It’s core social skills,
that give students the experience and the knowledge and talent to
work effectively with others.>>Thanks for always being nice.>>Sheldon: This is serious work. It’s serious work to create a sense
of community and it’s serious work on the students’ part to be able
to manage themselves in a way that is constructive, and that’s
the most important contribution that they learn.>>Teacher: How did it feel to say
something nice about someone else?>>Student: It felt good,
’cause I actually got to say something positive
about somebody.>>Teacher: Okay, we’ve been
discussing bullying all week long. What are some ways that
we can stop the bullying?>>Narrator: Teachers who conduct
the morning meetings draw on CARE for Kids curriculum
materials and participate in several training
sessions throughout the year.>>Teacher: And I think that’s what
I see you all, if you struggle with anything, is the language,
because it is so different than corrective language. It’s all, the negative or,
“Don’t do that, don’t do this. This is what you did wrong,”
whereas the language in CARE and in developmental designs
is all about self regulation, about acknowledging what you’ve done. It’s all in a positive,
it’s non confrontational. So is that what you all
see, is the language, as probably the biggest change?>>Narrator: There’s also a CARE for
Kids leadership team in each school, which includes the principal
and key staff mentors who mentor their colleagues.>>Teacher: Maybe they’ll
become more engaged. As far as the one young man
that, you know, we had discussed and he’s sometimes, you
know, has an issue…>>We need to politely ask him to
take a break out of the classroom–>>Joanna: Tell Jasmine what
you think is special about her.>>I like when you share with me.>>Thank you– Caroline.>>Narrator: The morning meetings
and other elements of CARE for Kids have helped
promote academic gains and reduced disciplinary problems
since it was adopted in 2007.>>Joanna: Jasmine, tell us something
that’s really special about you.>>I like to ride my bike.>>Joanna: The whole morning meeting
not only sets a really good tone for the students, but
it sets a tone for me.>>Thanks for filling my bucket.>>Joanna: How did they fill
your bucket today, Jasmine?>>Because they was real nice to me.>>Joanna: And what happens when
your bucket keeps filling up?>>My heart starting dancing.>>Because people are?>>All: Nice.>>Saying nice things to her.>>Joanna: When I see them first
thing in the morning, and the smiles on their faces, they’re excited,
they want to be here, I’m ready. My bucket is full.>>Narrator: For more
information about what works in public education,
go to Edutopia.org.

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *