Morning Meeting in the classroom

Do you have Morning Meetings in your classroom? Morning meetings are a way to further your positive classroom community, creating a classroom climate that feels safe, secure, and fun for students.

I learned about Morning Meeting through several Responsive Classroom courses that I took- I HIGHLY recommend signing up for these professional development courses if they are offered at your district. It completely changed my classroom management style, as well as turned my focus toward social and emotional learning, instead of solely on academic learning. Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching that ultimately enables optimal student learning. Instead of simply focusing on student's behavior being "good" or "bad," it looks at every perspective of a child's time at school.


Absolutely nothing! There are so many Internet resources for morning meetings (I linked a couple fo videos on the bottom of this post). Although you can always choose to incorporate materials into morning meeting, you don't need anything to do it. All you need is for students to either sit in a circle, or pull chairs over in a circle. If you're interested, check out Morning Meetings by Responsive Classroom in your professional library, or you can find it here on Amazon (this is an Amazon Affiliate link which provides a mean for Glitter in Third to earn a fee by linking to at no cost to you). 


There are four components of morning meeting. Although morning meeting follows this specific structure, each of these components is adaptable and flexible. I change each section of my morning meeting every day to keep it interesting, yet the structure is the same so that students know what to expect. This helps students feel a sense of stability in the classroom. Morning meeting takes about 20-30 minutes each morning, but without a doubt it is the most important part of our day.
  • Greeting: Not every student hears their name at home. I emphasize the importance of making eye contact, not standing to close to others, looking interested, etc. 
  • Share: This is a time when students share events going on in their lives. There are so many ways for them to do this. Sharing allows students to practice public speaking, as well as how to communicate. Even the student not sharing is learning- they are learning how to be a good listener and conversationalist. The listeners learn how to ask empathetic questions. This is NOT show and tell. I also make sure the kids know that this is not a time to brag, and to be empathetic when sharing (for example, not talking about another student's party they are going to if other kids are not invited as wel).
  • Activity: An activity can be a game. An activity can be learning review. I NEVER use the word "game" for this, because students come to expect it. Everyone participates in the activity that helps create group communication. My students often play these cooperative games during recess and dismissal as well because they enjoy them so much!
  • Message: Every morning I write a message on the board. I read it to the students. Sometimes, we do a choral reading. In the message I mention some things that are exciting that are coming up so that the kids will think about what they can look forward to during the day. I also go over the schedule for the day. 


Morning meetings create a positive classroom culture. My first two years of teaching, I did not do morning meetings. I see a complete difference of the attitude and respect that my students give one another. My students take the social and emotional learning that they learn during morning meeting, and utilize it in places like the lunchroom and playground. Morning meetings set the tone for the entire day. A peaceful, calm, and stable morning starts the day off right. I saw behaviors in my classroom decrease as morning meeting goes on throughout the year. It creates an incredible climate and culture in the classroom that fosters meaningful student relationships.


I notice that my classroom environment becomes more trusting. Students are more willing to take risks and feel vulnerable with a group of students that they become comfortable with.

Empathy & kindness


There are some fantastic videos on YouTube of teachers' classrooms where a morning meeting is performed. I embedded a few below!

As with anything in teaching: model, model, model! Show what the procedure should look like. Discuss what it looks like. Make sure that students know that only one person is talking at a time, it is a time for respect and listening. Create the morning meeting rules together so that the students are responsible and held accountable for the rules.

You want to start morning meeting - that's awesome! It can feel overwhelming to start. Here are some ideas to get you started:


  • Simple
    • All students stand up in a circle. A student walks across the circle, says "good morning *insert name here*," then sits in that student's spot. Next, the student who got greeted finds someone else to greet. This continues until everyone has been greeted.
  • Skip counting
    • Pick a number to skip count by. For example, four. A student will start. They count four students, then say good morning to that student. They take the student's spot, then the greeted student continues the skip count. The greeting is over when all students have been greeted.
  • One-minute greeting
    • Students have one minute to greet as many students as they can.
  • The Price Is Right greeting
    • Students form two lines facing one another. A student runs down the line getting high-fived. 
  • Table share
    • Every day, I let a different table share. Kids do not have to share, it is up to them.A After they do a respectful share, they say, "Thank you for listening. I will now take one respectful question." Students can ask a question - NOT a comment. We emphasize that the share is about the sharer, not the person asking a question.
  • Maitre d' share
    • The teacher will yell out a number (like "party of 3!"). Students need to quickly create a group of three. Then the teacher will come up with a share question ("what is your favorite color?"). The group members share with one another, then the teacher calls out a another "Party of" number.
  • Four Corners
    • You probably remember this oldie-but-goodie from your elementary school days! A counter sits in the middle of the room and counts to ten. The other students in the classroom walk to a corner. The counter yells out a number ("corner 2!"). Everyone in that corner must sit down.
  • Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
    • A student hides a small ball (or stuffed animal, whatever you have in your room) in a slightly concealed spot. The other students walk around the room looking for it. When they find it, they say, "zip-a-dee-doo-dah!" and walk to the opposite side of the room. The game is over when all students have found the item.

Do you use mornings in your classroom? How do you do it in your classroom? Leave me a comment below!

Winning Wednesday giveaway on Instagram!

Hey there!
I wanted to announce a new weekly giveaway I will be hosting on Instagram. Introducing- Winning Wednesday! It starts today @GlitterinThird on Instagram.

Make sure to stop by Instagram today and all future Wednesdays to enter! Entering is easy, you just have to tag a teacher friend! You can get even more entries and chances to win by tagging as many friends as you'd like.

Good luck, see you there!

5 ways to use Google Classroom if you are not 1:1

Is your school 1:1? If so - that is awesome! A neighboring school district of mine went 1:1 two years ago, and I love hearing about how it works from my teacher friends that work there. However, my school district is not yet 1:1, so I can relate to teachers out there who are also not 1:1! Many people think that not being 1:1 means that you can't use Google Classroom resources in your classroom- this is absolutely not true! I use Google Classroom every single day in my classroom, while only working with 5 laptops. Our school also has the option of checking out a small group set of iPads. Using Google Classroom is just as easy as 1:1 when you only have a few devices (or even just one- the teacher laptop!). Providing a mix of a few devices along with normal teaching materials gives a good balance in the classroom of hands-on, concrete learning with technology!

Below I discuss six ways that you can use Google Classroom if you have a limited amount of devices within the confines of your classroom. I hope it provides a good scope of how versatile that Google Classroom truly is, no matter the amount of devices in the classroom!

Google Classroom is easy peasy to incorporate into any block where you work with small groups. In my classroom, small groups are used in math and reading. I utilize math stations as well as literacy stations, so during my math and reading block I can quickly incorporate Google Classroom.

The teacher can set out a laptop or iPad at each spot of your small table during teacher time. My students know that as soon as they get to their seat for teacher time, they need to immediately log in and pull up the day's assignment. We work through a page in one of my resources as a group. For example, if we are learning about multiple meanings, I will assign a slide from my Dictionary Skills for Google Drive resource. I will scaffold my thought process when doing multiple meanings, then we work on the questions together. Worried that students will be too distracted to listen to you when they have technology in front of them? I always have my students do a "half-close" on the laptops, meaning that they close the laptop cover halfway. If you're using iPads, use a white piece of paper to cover the laptop. Tell the kids that any time the teacher is speaking, their iPad needs to be covered. Think about adults with televisions or their phones- we so easily will stare at our phone instead of the person right in front of us, it's human nature! Diminish and minimize those distractions to make sure the best learning is happening!

An example of my
 literacy station rotations
This is an awesome way to not only incorporate technology into math and reading, but also to save you a ton of work each day. I have a set Technology station during math (my stations include independent work, math centers, technology, and teacher time). My easiest station to plan is by far my technology station. I simply need to pull up a page or two from the topic that we are either studying or reviewing, and assign a copy to each of my students. This takes about one minute on Google Classroom!

If you let your students use the laptops or iPads at their desks, I did run into one problem. The one issue I ran into for stations was that during rotations, my students who had just finished the technology station would loudly state, "WHO NEEDS A COMPUTER?" As helpful as this is (not), it was distracting, loud, and unnecessary. I made a new procedure for finding the laptops around the room. My students know that when it is their turn to rotate to the station, they need to quickly find a computer from around the room and get to work. As long as the computer was at an empty desk, they could snag it and bring it to their own desks.

Sometimes I use Google Classroom during stations for new content, but I also sometimes have it as a spiral review. It is a great way to really focus in on a skill that you want students to work on. One of the hardest topics on my classroom every year is equivalent fractions. I often assign a page of my Equivalent Fractions for Google Classroom resource throughout the year to keep my students sharp on this topic. When you have a difficult topic from the beginning of the year that took students a while to master, definitely keep checking in on it throughout the year to ensure complete mastery!

It's so important to make use of every minute of the day, especially when you are trying to get all your students on technology at least a few times a week! I love having a rotating morning work schedule for my students. Each student in my classroom is assigned a number based on their last name. Each day, I put the six students who get a device on the board (example: #5-10). Those students know that after they arrive and unpack, they will be working on a Google Classroom assignment instead of their usual independent reading upon arrival. I find that the assigned students for the day unpack at lightning speed because they are so excited to get to work on their device- bonus! 

One of my favorite resources to assign for morning work is Picture Writing Prompts for Google Classroom. It contains 40 online pictures to help spark writing ideas. The pictures are silly and fun, great for kids to infer what is happening in each picture! Writing is tough to incorporate throughout the day, but during morning work helps make it easier!

I often do whole group lessons in the beginning of a math unit, or for a science/social studies lesson. All of my Google Drive resources are Smartboard compatible. This means that all those great drag-&-drop interactive pieces of the Google Drive resource can be moved around by your kiddos' little hands on the Smartboard! Simply calibrate your Smartboard for the day, and use the resources to guide your lessons! I don't know about your students, but my students are over the moon when they get picked to go up to the board and do a drag-&-drop question and move a piece on the board in front of everyone. This is a fantastic way to make a whole group lesson on a topic that can usually be a little dry (*cough cough* soil components. Soil is not my thing) .

No Smartboard? As long as you have a projector, you're in luck! Students can come up to your laptop to maneuver or type in answers. It is VERY similar to how a Smartboard looks and functions, but the kids won't be touching the board. This will definitely spruce up lessons and give kids that fun hands-on ability that Smartboards provide. All the students in the room will benefitting from this, and it will still be digital for all!

Do you use Google Classroom? Are you 1:1? If not, how do you get all your students a chance to work on technology during the day with limited devices? I'd love to hear all about it!

Back to School Sale: August 1st-2nd!

TEACHERS! It's that time of year again! The Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale is this Wednesday and Thursday (August 1st and 2nd)! Everything at Glitter in Third is on sale for 25% off - including bundles!

Also, make sure to enter the GIVEAWAY for a $25 TPT gift card- for both you and a friend! Find Glitter in Third on Instagram @Glitterinthird.




Are you all ready for the TPT sale? When do you start school?

Teaching map skills and geography in the elementary classroom

How to teach map skills in the elementary classroom

At the beginning of the school year, the first unit that I always teach in social studies is civics (since it goes hand-in-hand with discussing how to be a respectful classroom member), then map skills. My students LOVE map skills, and I can see why. It is pretty great as a kid to suddenly see how you are connected to the world around you. Map skills also lends itself to some fun activities that instantly engage students. As a teacher, my favorite units tend to be the ones with the most interesting activities for students. There is nothing that I love more than seeing my students truly love learning. Below, I have listed a few map skills activities I use every year, that not only help the kids learn, but gets them excited to start social studies!

I got this idea from a bakery near my house. They have a huge map at the bakery, and customers can mark where they have been wearing their bakery tee-shirt (it's a delicious and fun place....and I spend WAY too much money there). I buy a big map off Amazon (Glitter in Third is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising feeds by advertising and linking to Amazon.), but you could easily do this with a small map! Students thumbtack or mark the map with a post-it note with the name of the country or state that they have been. I don't have students use their names on this, because I don't want any of the kiddos to feel badly if they have not traveled much. I teach at a primarily military-family school, so there are some pretty neat places that kids have traveled before! This is also a great way for students to make connections with others.


How to teach map skills in the elementary classroomBelow are some book ideas that I enjoy using when I teach map skills. I am a big proponent of using whatever social studies or science unit that we are studying during our reading and writing time as well, so please note that I do the read alouds during those time periods! Below are a few of my favorites, along with an Amazon link if you're interested.

 I always go to the library and check out a bunch of books to display on my book shelves that go along with whatever unit that we are learning about. Make sure to check out your school library, there is always some good stuff lurking on those shelves! In the beginning of the year, I always come up with a list of read alouds that I will need and first see if my librarian will purchase for the school before I buy them for myself. You'd be surprised how eager and happy the librarian will be for suggestions, try it out if you haven't! (Glitter in Third is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising feeds by advertising and linking to Amazon.).

Students cut out all the continents and create labels for the continents and oceans. We lay everything out on the ground (I clear out all the desks to do this and push to the side of the room). I demonstrate longitude and latitude with yarn, laying it out on the ground. Then, students create a compass rose out of poster board. We use two pool noodles to create the equator and prime meridian, so that they really stand out from the longitude/latitude yarn.

When we have completed our interactive map, we quiz each other! I pick a student to create a question, then someone raises their hand to answer it. For example, "who can stand on eastern Europe?". Then a student raises their hand, jumps up, and shows us exactly where on the map we can find eastern Europe! This is an incredibly fun and memorable activity that I know your students will adore! I did this once for a classroom observation, and got rave reviews from administration regarding how engaged that students were.

How to teach map skills in the elementary classroom
How to teach map skills in the elementary classroom
How to teach map skills in the elementary classroom

I use my Map Skills & Geography interactive notebook with all of my lessons. The flips and flaps are not only fun for students to create, but also a good reference point. My interactive notebook is differentiated for learners and time. Each resource has a fully filled out copy, a partially filled out copy, and a blank copy. Sometimes I know that my social studies block will be extra short because we have an assembly/fire drill/etc., so I hand out notes already filled out and we simply discuss. Usually though I hand out the partly-filled slips so that we can figure out the answers together. 

Before each activity that we complete, I always have kids work on an interactive notebook piece beforehand. I want to ensure that my students understand the vocabulary terms, for example, before moving on to creating our own maps. 

Maps are all around us- the park, the mall, Disney World, downtown, the subway system, our GPS. In the beginning of the map skills unit, I send home a letter asking parents to look for maps in the every day world with their child. If the map is free, send it in! Together, students and I collect a ton of maps. I put these in our classroom library, and the kids enjoy looking and flipping through them during their independent reading time. 

An easy activity to go along with these maps is to find and identify the map features. After we learn about map features and complete an interactive notebook flipbook on map features, students work in partners to label the map features that they see. Each pair of partners gets Post-It notes and a Sharpie (this is always an exciting day in the classroom, it's hilarious how much my students love post-its and Sharpies!). They label the parts of a map, then when they are finished they flip-flop with another set of partners to check each other's work and see if they can add anything that they other group missed.

Have you used Google Earth in your classroom? Students go wild for this. I love it as a teacher because it's free and easy. I make it a little more special by having the kids pretend that we are taking a trip to each continent. We sit like we are sitting in an airplane.... I'm talking having an aisle and sitting in rows of three. I print out cute passports for each of the students to make this extra fun as we "visit" each continent. I stamp each passport before they "board" the plane. There are some free passports I found on TPT, but you could also just fold a piece of construction paper in half and have kids make their own!

We "fly" to each continent. While looking at each continent on Google Earth on the projector, I ask the students what they notice. How does the geography differ in various parts of the continent? How does it differ from other continents? What can we infer about the climate? Are there various regions that we notice? What are some countries that we can name in each continent? We so often talk about continents, but students do not always make the connection of countries and climate. We live in a globalized world, students need to understand how closely intwined that we are with all our geographical neighbors. 

I bring the class out to the playground in the morning before any grades are playing recess. We look around the playground, and create our own maps of the playground with a piece of white paper and a clipboard. I buy fun things at Oriental Trading (like whistles, sticky hands, etc.) then pass out one to each student the day after we create our intricate maps. With a parent volunteer, we take turns going outside to hide our treasure. Finally, students create a list of treasure hunt directions that another student can follow to find the treasure. For example, "look to the north of the basketball hoop)", then we give our treasure hunts to another student and go out on the hunt!

I always love using technology in my classroom, and am a Google Classroom addict! I included a video to show my Google Drive map skills resource. I use these as centers during our literacy stations for kids to reinforce their map knowledge. If you're a 1:1 classroom, I highly recommend this product to engage kids! It has drag-&-drop activities, writing pieces, KWL charts, map diagrams - it has the works for kids to learn all about map skills!

If you're interested, I have two products to teach map skills & geography that I love, love love! Otherwise, I hope you find some of my other ideas useful. Do you teach map skills in the classroom? What are your go-to activities that you enjoy doing with your students?

How to teach map skills in the elementary classroom

Using picture prompts to excite student writers on Google Drive & Classroom

How to teach writing and excite student writers in Google Drive & Google Classroom

It’s the same thing every year for me- my girls love writing while my boys… well… hate it. Every September I have the same conference critiques with parents in writing, and they express the same concerns with me. “My child is a reluctant writer- he/she has fabulous ideas, but they simply can’t figure out how to put those ideas onto paper.” I knew that I needed a change to get my students practicing writing. I began to use picture prompts through Google Classroom. Picture prompts were something that worked for my students and could be used weekly so that students understood and knew the routine. Not sure what I mean? Read on!

How to teach writing and excite student writers in Google Drive & Google ClassroomThe idea of using real-life pictures as prompts has been around for a few years now. I remember during a school meeting, one of my fellow teammates mentioned how she loved using real-life pictures to help spark students’ writing and work on those oh-so-difficult inferencing skills. I can see why! Real-life pictures automatically gain a student’s attention, and naturally as humans we start to wonder, “what is happening in this picture?” I am an enormous Google Classroom advocate, so I started looking for ways to use this idea with Google Classroom. Unfortunately, I did not find much available. Finding 40 pictures and making a new assignment for students every week felt daunting. I ended up creating my own to address this need. If you want to save the time, you can also find my product on TPT!


I knew that I needed something to make my students WANT to write, to practice writing in a way that didn’t seem “boring.” My students love looking at non-fiction books complete with lots of graphics and pictures. I have seen fellow teachers and peers use picture prompts to help excite students and give them an idea what to write about. I KNEW that I wanted to use this for my students, but I wasn’t quite sure if it would be enough. How else could I intrigue my students to begin writing and make them excited? I am a huge advocate for technology in the classroom… stick a laptop or iPad in front of one of my students, and suddenly they will think any math problem or reading comprehension passage is a blast. I decided to incorporate picture prompts into my students’ daily writing with the use and ease of Google Classroom.

Your students will not only work on their writing skills, but on their inferencing skills! My kids greatly struggle with inferring, so any way that I can practice this vital reading comprehension skill makes me excited. I don’t know about you, but I find that every year my students struggle with things that aren’t smack dab in front of them. We talk so much about finding evidence in the text, but the thought of locating evidence that is not in the text and is instead inferred, is plain hard. I get it, as humans we naturally look for things that are concrete and in front of us. The abstract? Not so much. But these are skills that kids need to learn to help with their understanding of their reading.

I introduce the writing picture prompts whole group. I scaffold and model my thought process on using them up on the projector while students watch. I am literally thinking aloud to them how I would go about doing this. I do this once a day for two weeks, starting to ask for additional ideas in my writing. For example, I look at a slide and say “hmmm… this is a picture of a dog. The dog is staring at an empty food bowl. What could have happened to make the dog bowl empty? What is the dog thinking? Is there anyone else around the dog? What will be do now?” I start jotting down and writing my ideas. My students’ hands shoot up as they try to answer my questions and create fun stories about this dog. Children have a wild imagination- they are eager and their minds are racing as they think about a picture in front of them. After a few weeks of scaffolding, they will naturally begin to think about questions and decide how to answer them on their own.
How to teach writing and excite student writers in Google Drive & Google Classroom
Each week, give students a new Google Classroom picture prompt. I give my students a week to complete each picture prompt. Why a week? I think once a day is too ambitious, at least for my third-grade classroom. Of course, you know your students best, so differentiate accordingly for the needs and abilities of your own students! My students work on this prompt the entire week. I have a writing station during my literacy centers, and students work on it during that. I also tell them that it is up to them to get this finished in time. Some of my kiddos choose to write a couple sentences at home. Some students ask if they can work on it during dismissal. Some students This could easily be done for morning work. Think about the very beginning of your day- some of my own students get to the classroom at 8:50, and are there until 9:10 when the bell rings.

Of course, there will still be students that struggle getting their ideas and thoughts on paper. To alleviate their frustration, try out the voice tool on Google Classroom. Your students can literally speak into the microphone to record their writing. This goes a long way with those reluctant writers. They will begin gaining confidence in their writing and inferring skills as they keep getting more comfortable.

We are teachers... we use data in the ways that we teach. After implementing these visual prompts for Google Drive & Google Classroom, I found that not only was my students' writing stronger, but the kids WANTED to write. They ask every day what the new picture would be. They would discuss the pictures during lunch and recess with their friends. This made my heart so happy, and allowed my students to have practice that did not feel monotonous, boring, and a chore. 

There are different ways that you could do this! You could find a weekly picture and have students type up or write their answers. Want to save some time? My Visual Picture Prompt for Google Drive & Classroom resource will cover your weekly picture prompts for the entire year. Each image is engaging, and will make your students truly think, infer, and… most importantly….write!

How to teach writing and excite student writers in Google Drive & Google Classroom

Enter to win- 40 book bins from Step to Literacy!

I am raffling off one set of 40 book boxes, in your choice of Primary or Fun colors! The Primary set includes 40 book bins in red, yellow, green, and blue, while the Fun color set includes 40 book bins in neon green, light blue, purple, and orange. A set of 40 book boxes at Steps to Literacy are worth $119.96!

I LOVE these book boxes. I use the green and blue ones in my classroom. Check out my previous post to see different ideas to use!

Want to win a set of your own? There are a few ways to enter. Increase your entries to increase your chance of winning! You can:

Enter using Rafflecopter below. You can enter up to five times by following Glitter on Third on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Teachers Pay Teachers, sharing the contest on Facebook, and/or leaving a blog post comment.  If you need help or assistance on how to enter, email me at

Winners will be announced here on July 3rd! Winners will also be contacted by email and announced on Facebook and Instagram. 

Good luck, teachers!