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I Have a Classroom! & Easy Peasy Class Meetings

Hurrah, hurrah for second grade!  I am so excited to say that I went back to teaching kidlets after Labor Day! I'm at a school with super small class sizes (think 20-22 per room) and two certified teachers in every room.  My new second grade co-teacher is fantastic - full of positive energy, flexibility and loves kids.  I'm jazzed to be back in the school mode, but also excited that there are two of us to handle the day to day responsibilities and to look at each other when we're thinking "Did you hear what that child just said?!"  Fun, fun, fun.

Class meetings are a great way to foster classroom community and can be used for any number of things - nuts & bolts, student spotlights, awards, sharing time, etc.

Here's how I structure mine.  Click on the picture below if you'd like a Google Doc copy of my agenda.  :)
Students sit in a circle - not in desks or like they typically do at our carpet area.  Class meetings should be different than anything else you do in your classroom.

1.  Announcements & What's Going Home
Show students any papers going home and give them any school/classroom announcements.  I always forget one or two but luckily with 29 or so students someone is bound to remember the events I've forgotten.

2.  Big News
Give students a chance to share something exciting that happened to them that week.  Be careful though.  This can turn into show and tell.  I don't allow students to bring objects from home (this can be done during their spotlight week).  Every student gets a chance to share one sentence of their Big News for the week.

Note: in the past I had a "Big News" bag where students could write down their news.  Then we would read the cards that were submitted.  This became problematic because the same students would write 5-10 pieces of big news, while students who didn't love writing wouldn't write down anything and would promptly fall asleep when the few students who always wanted to share big news went on and on about their new toys/lost teeth/football games.  Doing a quick Big News share circle has worked best for me.

3.  Student Spotlight
Do this however you would like.  My new teammate gives students a Read All About Me poster from Scholastic to fill out and bring back.  I've done blank posters and also "King of the Wild Things" canvas bags that students could fill with items from home to share.  I've found that the latter worked best for me since having students try to summarize 50 pictures on a poster can get somewhat monotonous ("This is me, this is me and my cousin, this is me when I was 5, this is me when I was a baby, this is me with a stuffed animal, this is me with my mom and dad, this is me at the lake, this is me when I was . . . . . . . hmmmm. . . . I don't remember how old I was. . . this is me when . . . ").
I like to do top ten lists for students and make a fun bulletin board that we add to throughout the year. Here's my Top Ten Spotlight product if you want an editable version of my Top Ten lists, bulletin board lettering, and student interview sheets, but they're easy peasy to make on your own too.
4.  Compliments & Concerns
I have a compliment and concern bag in my classroom where students can write down compliments for other students as well as class concerns (these should be something like "there are too many pencils being thrown on the floor" rather than "Becky gave me the evil eye on the jungle gym and then ran away from me at recess!") Proper compliment/concern usage is a great mini-lesson for the first weeks of school.
5.  Awards and/or recognition
My C.H.I.P. Awards used to take center stage at this time, but since I'm now sharing a classroom and was too lazy to shrink chip bags during my summer move we are now giving Stamina King and Stamina Queen magnets to worthy students.  They are loving them so far!  Check out this amazing freebie from Mel D at TpT if you would like to use them too.
Class meetings are a great way to end the week and can be easily adapted to fit with the time you have on Friday afternoons as well as your classroom routines and rewards.  Other than recess and lunch, classroom meetings are always on the top of the list of things my students like most about school.  :)  
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