Classroom Meetings

     I am a big believer in classroom meetings. Research shows that when the students work out their issues together in a safe environment it is more beneficial and truly solves problems in the long run. There are MANY ways to conduct a classroom meeting, but here are some things I do.

I have a sign (Marzano) for students to know when the "Next Meeting" time will be. I also have a white board for them to write their name down to "Make an appointment" to talk about an issue. 

You can see in spot #3 that someone had an issue to talk about...but worked it out on their own so they were able to erase their name. WoO HoO! This is the whole point!
Reasons to have classroom meetings:
#1 The whole point is to participate in general discussions and problem-solving strategies. "Findings indicate that meetings are effective in improving children's behavior and that this improvement carried over from classroom meetings to the larger classroom setting"...Isn't this the goal of EVERY CLASSROOM!!!!!! Sign me up :)

#2 These meetings provide excellent opportunities for students to practice communication and
socialization skills mandated in the curriculum. These skills are difficult to develop unless students actually practice them. Classroom meetings provide the perfect forum. Just like everything else...they have to be TAUGHT how to problem solve and communicate. 

Key things to keep in mind:

1. A tight circle is by far the most satisfactory arrangement.
2. Have a "Talking" stick...without it...you don't talk.
3. Have an agenda (next meeting time, list of who will talk, other things to discuss)
4. We use specific names and specific examples.
5. It is not a tattle time (we really practice the difference between a tattle and a problem worth talking about). 
6. No one ever gets in trouble based on what they shared in the meeting.

Here is an outline of my meetings: 
  1. Compliment time: Students raise their hand to share a compliment from the past week to someone in our class. After they share they give a high five to that person (or an "air" high five if they can't reach). I take as many as possible (usually 1 per child). 
  2. Goal-setting meeting: Discuss the goals for the meeting. 
  3. Problem solving time: Students who are "signed up" are allowed to talk. If there name is not on the list...they do not share at this classroom meeting.  The student shares and talks directly to the person they have an issue with. That person is first to share how to solve the problem, then we open it up to others to give input. This often ends in apologies, but are not forced.
  4.  Teacher Talk: This is where the teacher congratulates them on working out problems, shares things the class is doing great as a whole, and then thoughts to think about until next time.