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teacher kneels at table of students and helps student with lesson as she points to letters on table

Responsive Classroom

The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching is comprised of a set of well-designed practices intended to create safe, joyful and engaging classroom communities. The emphasis is on helping students develop their academic, social and emotional skills in a learning environment that is developmentally responsive to their strengths and needs.

In order to be successful in and out of school, students need:

Social and Emotional Competencies:

cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control

Academic Competencies:

Academic mindset, perseverance, learning strategies, and academic behaviors

students draw and color with crayons at different tables in classroom

Responsive Classroom Guiding Principles

  1. Teaching social and emotional skills is as important as teaching content
  2. How we teach is as important as what we teach
  3. Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction
  4. How we know and believe about students informs our expectations, reactions, and attitudes
  5. What we know and believe about students informs our expectations, reactions and attitudes
  6. Partnering with families, knowing them and valuing their contributions, is important
Teacher sits with students on the ground outside while they all draw with chalk

Key Practices

  • Morning Meeting: Morning Meeting gives students a consistent time and place every day to explore and practice social skills and to merge social, emotional, and academic learning.
  • Interactive Modeling: Interactive Modeling is a simple strategy that is used to teach routines, social-emotional skills, and academic skills through modeling, practice, and repetition.
  • Teacher Language: The language we use in the classroom is an essential and powerful mode of communicating our expectations to children.
  • Logistical Consequences: Logistical consequences help children recognize the effects of their actions and develop internal controls.
  • Established Rules and Routines: School and classroom rules are established through the lens of helping students understand the purpose of rules and how the rules will help them reach their goals.
  • Closing Circle: A closing circle brings a peaceful end to the school day.