How to Have Successful and Productive Team Meetings

How many of you have weekly meetings with your team?  I know it is best practice, but it is soooo hard to stick to a consistent schedule, especially when my inclusion team involves 3 general education teachers, 4 paraprofessionals, and myself.  And that is not even including the special area folks and related services providers.  

When you have several adults working with the same group of students, it is vital for everybody to be on the same page.  It is especially important to keep the paraprofessionals in the classroom up to speed on student progress and your expectations for continued growth, both academically and behaviorally.  

Over the years, I have learned a few things about successful and, more importantly, productive team meetings and I am hoping to put them into practice before I go on maternity leave in October.  That way, my team can easily continue our schedule.   

Consistency Matters

The first thing, is to schedule consistent meetings.  Pick a day.  Pick a time.  Stick to it.  It doesn't matter if somebody is out.  Keep the meeting, as scheduled.  Once you cancel or postpone one meeting, it makes it easier to do it over and over again. 

Have an Agenda

Nobody likes attending meetings with no purpose.  Have a list of things to discuss ready prior to the meeting beginning.  One thing I have in place with my team is a "Hold That Thought" board where we can all leave post-its in a location that is hidden from the classroom view.  

This is so helpful because we can collect things we need to discuss over the course of the week.  Of course, it is important that your team is comfortable bringing up vital topics immediately, if needed.

You can read more about how I use this part of my classroom and other ways I communicate with my teaching team between meetings during our busy weeks in this blog post.      

Take Notes

Have somebody take minutes of your meetings and make copies for each member of your team.  This serves a couple of purposes.  First, you will always have a record of discussions that were had and solutions that were found.  Second, those that may have not been able to attend will know what was discussed.

You can make extra copies for those special area folks, related services providers, and even your principal to keep them in the loop.  Who knows?  Maybe they'll want to attend your next team meeting!

Be Respectful

This should be a given but sometimes team meetings can become a little heated.  It is important that all members of your team feel important and listened to.  When bringing up a minor issue, "we" language is helpful.  For example, instead of saying "you need to ____ more" you can say "we need to ____ more."  Using "we language makes conversations less threatening.  

Bring Treats

In my opinion, this is the most important thing!  If you have food, people will come.  If you have especially tasty treats, people that were not even invited will try showing up!  In all honesty, having food on the table puts people at ease and makes team meetings seem less formal and more conversational.  Bagels and cream cheese are my favorite treats to bring for morning team meetings.  You can take turns being the one in charge of treats to ease the cost.  

The first few weeks of working together as a team are the hardest!  But, if you put in the time and effort to get everybody working on the same page, the rest of the year will be more successful.  I created an Ultimate Co-Teaching Start-Up Kit and a Paraprofessionals In The Classroom - Collaboratively Working Together In Harmony to help get you started!

The Ultimate Co-Teaching Start-Up Kit is perfect for co-teachers, whether it is they are new to co-teaching, new to each other, or have been partnered up for year.  There are tips and tricks I have learned along the way and printable for you both to fill out together to make sure you're on the same page.  It even includes a parent brochure that explains what co-teaching is.  

The Paraprofessionals In The Classroom - Collaboratively Working Together In Harmony is perfect for any teacher that is working with one or more paraprofessionals.  This product will help you set high expectations from the beginning and includes a lot of tried and true tips I have learned by having paraprofessionals in my classrooms my entire career.  

Thank you for visiting and I hope to see you again soon!

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  1. Great tips to put into practice! My favorite is "hold that thought"!

  2. Love these tips! Our team meetings need all the organization they can get! Thank you!

    1. You're right! The more organized the meeting, the more productive the discussion! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I love this idea and am going to be using this outline for my meetings this year.

  4. The "Hold that thought" area is brilliant!

    Krazy Town

  5. I love your "Hold that Thought" area! One of my teammates is very good about bringing a list of discussion topics, but I need to get better at it. Thanks for the great ideas!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  6. I absolutely love the "inside the closet" idea for "hold that thought". We've always used the term "parking lot", but I love the idea it's shaded from the kiddos!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

    1. Thanks, Sally! Keeping the notes inside the closet door helps to protect confidential information. It's worked wonderfully for us!

  7. Awesome ideas... thanks! You're "Hold that thought" board could also be totally be useful during the team meetings to "park" discussion topics that weren't on the agenda.

    Hope your routine gets built up & everything runs smoothly before you go off to enjoy a little time with your babe! All the best!

    Tammy @ Teaching FSL

    1. Tammy,

      You're so right! Thank you for that idea. And thank you for the well-wishes. :)

  8. I just stopped over after reading the post you have on Minds in Bloom. Great post there, and another great post here! I'm a new follower on BlogLovin! =)
    ~Heather aka HoJo~