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How to Kikori: Morning Messages + Advisory Announcements

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

Start your day the Kikori way: Building meaningful student connections


What are Morning Messages and Advisory Announcements?


If you work with students, you know how school mornings go - students blaze into the building and classroom, bringing with them stress, joy, and chatter from home. Teachers are there to meet them with steadiness, structure, and love. But sometimes, this transition can feel tricky for students.


The switch from their home to school environment can be jarring - a different adult is setting the norms, their peers are surrounding them, they're in a new place - so implementing daily routines (especially meaningful, connective ones) can bridge this gap beautifully.


An excellent strategy to set the tone for the day (popularized by Responsive Classrooms) is an interactive Morning Message (Elementary) or an Advisory Announcement (Middle & High School). These are daily messages from the teacher that are posted for students when they enter the classroom - a consistent element to look forward to and interact with. They can be written on chart paper, on the dry erase board, or projected on a Smart Board via Google Slides.


The Morning Message / Advisory Announcement welcomes students to school and helps reinforce academic skills. Adding an interactive component helps increase student motivation and engagement, while building classroom community. Students anticipate the message and know that their first task each day is to read and respond to it. This is a time of connection - students feel seen, heard, and appreciated as they share their perspectives with others.


Creating messages such as these from scratch each day can be a lot of extra work - which is why Kikori makes it easier than ever by providing you with a relevant, engaging message or announcement every day!



How are Kikori's Morning Messages and Advisory Announcements unique?


I. Kikori provides you with two options daily for how to lead Morning Messages and Advisory Announcements that are RELEVANT and CREATE CONSISTENCY.


Option 1: Kikori provides you with a Morning Message (Elementary School) and Advisory Announcement (Middle & High School) that is aligned with content from that day's special National Day! This means that every day, there is unique learning for students that may involve history, math, literature, and/or science - over time and around the world. The information helps students open their minds to new ideas, while learning new things about their classmates.


Option 2: Kikori also provides you with the option to use the Morning Message (Elementary School) and Advisory Announcement (Middle & High School) to help students talk about the daily theme: Mindful Monday (mindfulness), Together Tuesday (team-building), Wellness Wednesday (health & movement), Thoughtful Thursday (problem solving & reflection & Fun Friday (joy and laughter).


II. EVERY DAY includes a different way for students to interact with each other through different Cooperative Learning Structures.

Different Cooperative Learning Structures were first popularized by Spencer Kagan as a way to help students learn how to work together and gain valuable social skills!


How do you lead each of the Cooperative Learning Structures?



Value of Popcorn Cooperative Learning Structures: This is a great way to start the week with those as popcorn sharing is low-risk and allows lots of choice for students on when they share out. As students feel more comfortable with each other, encourage those who share to pause and those who are more cautious to take a risk and share earlier. Celebrate growth in these areas!


Steps:

  1. Students should be sitting in a circle at the beginning of the exercise.

  2. Tell your students that it is now time for Sharing, and that today they will be sharing, using popcorn-style answering and that each student should answer in 1-2 sentences (this can be shorter “one-two words” or longer “up to one minute” depending on the amount of time you have allotted for Sharing)

  3. Give students their prompt.

  4. Explain that popcorn style answering means students should put their hands in the air and open and close them like popcorn when they would like to share. Students should not put their hands up until the person who is speaking is finished. If many students put their hands up to share, you should name them in order so they know that they will be speaking and do not have to compete to go next.

  5. Call on students who “popcorn” to Share.

  6. Thank students when they have completed Sharing and call on new students. Provide positive reinforcement for caring listeners.

  7. If time allows, encourage students to say kind words to each other or ask each other questions based on their Shares.

Value of Partner Cooperative Learning Structures: Think-Pair-Shares give all students 'thinking time' to organize their thoughts first and come to their own conclusions, while reducing anxiety. Sharing with one partner is a low-risk way to practice putting their thoughts into words. Whole group sharing offers the opportunity to increase self-confidence and see others connect with ones' ideas.


Steps:

  1. Tell your students that it is now time for Sharing, and that today they will be sharing within partners.

  2. Explain that within Partner Think-Pair-Shares, students should take turns sharing, practice active listening during their partners' turn, and share in a limited time. It is often helpful to give 30 seconds to each partner to share and tell students when it is time to switch.

  3. Encourage students to find a NEW partner and someone that is not sitting on either side of them to answer the question. Another tip is to have a rotating schedule of partners for a quick visual when you tell students to partner up.

  4. Give students their prompt.

  5. THINK: Provide time for students to think independently: Give students around 30 second to think for themselves about the answer to the prompt. Another option is to have students give you a thumbs up when they have thought of their answer and find a partner at that time.

  6. PAIR: Provide time for students to share with a partner: Invite students to share with their partner and encourage asking questions to learn more!

  7. SHARE: Provide time for students to share with the whole group: Invite pairs to share what they learned about each other with the class. This encourages students to really practice active listening and makes them feel special to hear how their share impacted their partner! ALWAYS have students ask permission from their partners before sharing their shares!

  8. Thank students when they have completed Sharing. Provide positive reinforcement for caring listeners, and encourage students to thank each other if they felt 'heard.'

  9. If time allows, encourage students to say kind words to each other or ask each other questions based on their Shares.


Value of Round Robin Cooperative Learning Structures: Round Robin is great for students who are extroverted to share their thoughts and good for challenging those who take more time to think or share to push themselves.


Steps:

  1. Tell your students that it is now time for Sharing, and that today they will be sharing in a 'round robin' format.Note: Depending on the question given, this could take a lot of time.

  2. Explain that 'round robin' answering means students answer the question in a short one or two word answer, and that for this activity, students do not need to provide an explanation. Students should listen closely to each other's answers and plan to ask their friend later if they would like to know more. (Depending on the amount of time you have and the number of students in your group, you may change this to "up to one minute" of sharing). Remind students they are always allowed to pass, if they prefer.

  3. Give students the Sharing Prompt (see attached pdf for ideas).

  4. Begin on your right or left in a 'round robin' fashion. If you want to add a bit of extra excitement around who goes first, the students to the right and left of you may play 'rock, paper, scissors' to decide who shares first.

  5. Thank students when they have completed Sharing and encourage them to make eye contact with the next person as a signal that they are done. Provide positive reinforcement for caring listeners.

  6. If time allows, encourage students to say kind words to each other or ask each other questions based on their Shares.

Value of Journal Writing Collaborative Learning Structures: Journal writing supports independent thinking and critical writing skills, as well as allowing space for students with more internalized learning styles to thrive.


Steps:

  1. Tell your students that it is now time for Sharing, and that today they will be sharing, using Journal Writing Sharing.

  2. Explain that this morning meeting sharing format is when students are given the sharing prompt and then are provided time to write the answer in their journal. Encourage students to notice how their thoughts change and grow as they write them, rather than saying them. This is a great activity for students who are introverts to practice writing their thoughts before sharing. It is also good for those who love to share to slow down and think about what they would like to say.

  3. Give students their prompt.

  4. Provide students with up to 5 minute to complete their Journal Writing Sharing. If time allows, call on a couple of students who would like to Share.

  5. Thank students when they have completed Sharing, and provide positive reinforcement for caring listeners.

  6. If time allows, encourage students to say kind words to each other or ask each other questions based on their Shares.


Value of Small Group Cooperative Learning Structures: Small groups require students to practice taking turns, active listening and opening their minds to different ideas and constructive debate.


Steps:

  1. Tell your students that it is now time for Sharing / Acknowledgements, and that today they will be sharing within small groups. Depending on the prompt, you may offer a timer for students to share their ideas (while others listen). This helps students sharing practice their public speaking skills and encourages active listening (without interrupting!)

  2. Give students their prompt.

  3. Encourage students to get into small groups, either by grouping up with neighbors who are sitting nearby them, counting off or using another fun 'Dividing' Activity.

  4. If there is time, invite groups to share their thoughts with the whole group.

  5. If time allows, allow students to ask each other questions


Why is it helpful to build in different ways for students to interact with each other? Variety encourages students with different learning styles to access their comfort zone at some times and their strength zone at other times. By leading the same Cooperative Learning Structure every week on the same day, you are also providing consistency that helps students know what to expect to prepare themselves for a type of sharing that requires risk-taking!

How do you use Morning Messages and Advisory Announcements in your classroom? Or, how do you help make the transition from home to school smoother with your own students? Please share below.

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