Morning Meetings have become a staple for classroom community building! They are an effective way of continuing to build positive student relationships on a regular basis throughout the school year.
Our Class is a Family and both A Letter from your Teacher books have also become staples for many teachers in helping to set the foundation for building class community. And so I wanted to create a version of Morning Meeting that connects with these picture books. I’m calling it…
Class Family Friday!
If you already do daily Morning Meetings, this can be a “special edition” type of Morning Meeting. Perhaps something for your class to look forward to every Friday.
Maybe you haven’t tried Morning Meetings, or find it challenging to work them into your daily schedule with all the curriculum to teach. This is a great way of still setting aside reasonable time for classroom community building on a consistent basis! That scheduled time can be just once a week instead of every day. But still make a big impact in continuing to nurture those positive student connections.
So I’m sure you’re probably wondering- what do you actually do on Class Family Friday? I’m excited to share everything you need to know. Here we go!
Weekly Slide Decks
This is a time to get cozy with your class. I recommend having everyone start out by sitting in a circle on the carpet or rug. Then simply display the slides for the week, which are all ready to go for you! Use the slides to help guide the rest.
The slides follow a pattern each week. Here are the types of slides you will see:
A Letter from your Teacher
This slide has an editable text box, where you could type a quick note for your students to read aloud.
If you choose to use this slide, it isn’t something you need to overthink. Just something super quick and simple will do the trick. It can be only a couple of sentences!
Students look forward to hearing what you share each week. It’s an extremely powerful way to check in and personally connect with them. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that it provides a little burst of extra reading practice in a “real life” application.
Class Family Quote of the Week
It’s just like it sounds! This slide will always have a classroom community building quote that can be read aloud.
The quote will often have a focus or theme that goes along with the rest of the slides. A few of them are from Our Class is a Family and A Letter From Your Teacher. Students can make those text connections!
You might choose to take a quick moment to have students respond to or discuss the quote. This can help in developing all kinds of important academic skills, such as analyzing and making connections.
This could be done verbally, or sometimes you might opt to have them respond in writing. Have students jot down a quick personal response to the quote before discussing with classmates.
Here are just a few different printable organizers where they can get their thoughts down on paper. You’ll notice a spot for a Conversation Response too (more on that later)!
Use the same response sheet every time, or mix it up throughout the year. You might start out with a page that has questions/prompting. And then move on to one of the other sheets when students may no longer need the visual prompts.
After students write down their responses, provide time for them to share out. This can be done in either partners, small groups, or whole group. You could stick to the same routine, or switch it up throughout the year to keep things fresh!
Class Family Fun
The Class Family Fun slide will always have a community building activity for your class to do together. It’s likely that this may become your students’ favorite part of Class Family Fridays. It’s a time to have fun together and bond with one another!
The Class Family Fun activities range in terms of theme or purpose. But most have a focus in team building, social emotional learning, or growth mindset.
Many of them provide opportunities for students to get to know one another better. In particular, the earlier weeks will have more get-to-know-you type of icebreakers for back to school time.
Most of the Class Family Fun activities will not require any materials at all. If they do happen to be needed, they are all common classroom materials (pencils, etc.). They will always be listed on the slide.
Just a few of the activities also come with a printable. Sometimes the printable will be a page to copy for the whole class. Other times it’ll be just a “cheat sheet” of ideas for your reference only. For instance, this “Group Up” activity comes with a cheat sheet.
Basically, this is for any activity that might require questions, topics, etc. If you don’t want to have to think off the top of your head, ideas are provided for you in case you need them!
Class Family Conversation
This is how each Class Family Friday session will conclude. There is a discussion question that’s designed to get kids comfortable sharing with one another. They get to work on their listening skills, and discover commonalities and differing opinions with their classmates.
Some of the questions are lighthearted and fun, some dive deeper, and some are in between. And not always, but the conversation question will often tie in with the quote and activity for that week. For example, this is the discussion question that follows the “Group Up” activity pictured above:
Earlier, I shared about the Student Response Sheets (in the “Class Family Quote of the Week” section above). Here is another one of those:
A written response to the Conversation Question can help students in various ways (especially those who may benefit from having more “think time”). They may feel more prepared before sharing an answer with their teacher and peers. It’s also beneficial of course for the writing practice with responding to and answering questions.
You could have the same routine for the Class Family Conversation each week, or change it up in different ways throughout the year. Here are some ways you might choose to vary it:
•Have the whole group sit in a circle. Take turns going around the circle, giving each student a chance to answer the question. If you wanted, you could use a “talking piece” to have them hold and pass around. This helps designate whose turn it is to speak. A wireless microphone works especially great!
•Put students in small groups and have them share within their groups. Then choose a few to share out to the whole group.
•Pair up students in partners and have them share with their partner. Then choose a few to share out to the whole group.
•Have students write their responses on one of the Student Response Sheets. Do a “gallery walk” around the room where everyone can read each other’s answers to the question. Choose a few to share out to the whole group.
However you might have them share, students get the opportunity to have meaningful discourse with their peers. Which as we all know is an important skill that can be applied to academic areas as well.
Bonus Slide Decks
Do you do any seasonal or holiday activities with your class during the school year? I’ve always loved celebrating the different seasons and holidays at school. It helps break up the day-to-day, and can help make learning more fun for the kids too.
With that in mind, I decided to create some additional slide decks that are themed for different seasons and holidays.
If you chose to make these a part of your Class Family Fridays, you could just add them in during certain weeks when the seasons change, or when a particular holiday is coming up!
Here’s just a small sampling from a few of the themed slides:
Here are all of the holidays/seasons that are currently included:
- Holidays Around the World
- New Year’s
- Valentine’s Day
- St. Patrick’s Day
In the future, I might decide to add more for other holidays! If/when I do, anyone who already owns the Class Family Friday resource will be able to re-download the file and get those future Bonus Slide Decks for free!
Class Family Fun Days
Are you someone who’s thinking you’d love to try all of this out with your class, but on a different day than Fridays?
There were 3 reasons my mind went to Fridays in particular when first creating this resource:
- It just sounded catchy! I like the alliteration of Family Friday.
- I know that for many teachers, Fridays can tend to be a lighter day in general. It’s often the day for things like behavior rewards, etc.
- It just feels like something to look forward to at the end of the week. And getting to head into the weekend on a positive, warm & fuzzy note!
That being said, I know that every teacher’s schedule is uniquely different. If Friday is not the best day for you to do this with your class, not to worry!
This resource includes an additional version with slides and printables that say “Class Family Fun Day.”
This way, you can choose ANY day of the week to do this with your class.
FAQs about Class Family Friday
Just in case you might have any of these same questions yourself, hopefully some of this info will be helpful!
How many slide decks are included?
With this resource, I’ve provided more slide decks than you will actually need. It comes with 40 regular slide decks- enough for every Friday (or other day of the week) for 40 weeks. There are also those 10 additional bonus slide decks that are themed for seasons and holidays.
I figure- extra slide decks are better than not enough. This way you can pick and choose, and use the ones with the quotes, activities, and questions that you like best! And if you need to skip a week here and there, no biggie.
What kinds of slides are provided?
All of the slides come available in both PowerPoint and Google Slides.
Are the slides editable?
The “Class Family” titles and images on the slides are not editable. But if you’d like to customize the Weekly Slides with any of your own quotes, activities, or conversation questions, an editable version with text boxes is included in both PowerPoint and Google Slides.
Where Can I Get all the Slides and Printables for Class Family Friday?
Everything is available in my web shop or TPT store. Clicking either of the blue buttons below will take you directly there!
Wanting more classroom community building activities that go along with my picture books?
This new Class Family Friday resource is also a part of a MEGA bundle of book companion activities. They go right along with Our Class is a Family, Our School is a Family, and both A Letter From Your Teacher books for the first and last day of school. It’s the best savings if you’re wanting multiple classroom community building activities that can be used throughout the whole school year.
Classroom Community Building
Classroom community building is often most focused on during back to school time. That is certainly a crucial time for it, without a doubt. But building class community and positive relationships is also an ongoing process throughout the school year.
This is the simplest of comparisons, but it’s like a plant that needs to be watered! It takes time for a group of students to grow together. Not only academically, but also socially and emotionally.
And while there are multiple ways to go about it, there are two main components in nurturing a class community that truly feels like family:
- Making personal connections with kids through those little everyday interactions that aren’t on the lesson plan.
- Prioritizing some more official, intentional time for community building on a consistent basis.
Those two things combined are the water and sunlight, if you will.