In fourth grade, one of our most meaningful times of our school day is our morning meeting. Some might think of morning meeting as being something that is really most important in lower elementary grades because students are just developing many of their social skills in these early years. However, we know that fourth graders can benefit from morning meeting (upper-elementary style) just as much as the little ones!
What does our fourth grade morning meeting time look like? First, we all head over to “The Mat.” The Mat is a place that immediately invites community. It is in our classroom library so we are surrounded with warm wood bookcases and many times we sit on pillows. We have a lamp and a cheery calendar displaying today’s date on one wall. Students sit around the perimeter of the mat, so we are all together, seeing everyone else.
Usually we begin our meeting by singing some of our songs – often with great exuberance and energy! We sing all sorts of old favorites, from “This is the Day”, “Rejoice in the Lord Always”, and even “The Banana Song” (If you don’t know “The Banana Song”, we have several ten year-olds who could help.) Many times we will also sing a good morning song to our fifth grade friends in the room next door and they sing it back to us through the walls!
On Monday mornings we will share our weekends with each other. With 16 students, though, you can imagine how long this sharing could take! So, we usually will have a challenge such as picking three adjectives to describe the weekend and sharing those with the class, or 3 nouns: a person, place, and thing.
To conclude our morning meeting we always have a devotional time. We are working our way through the fantastic devotional Jesus is Calling by Sarah Young. Students take turns reading the devotional while the rest of us listen quietly. Following the reading, the reader will open us in a popcorn prayer. Students are so willing to pray aloud during this time and pray for our day, sick family members and pets, or world issues. When all is quiet again, a student or the teacher will pray for each child by name and close the prayer. Now our day is truly ready to begin.