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The Responsive Classroom approach is a researched based approach to teaching and learning that uses practical strategies for bringing together social and academic learning throughout the day. It is grounded in the belief that the social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum and optimal learning takes place when children are in a school environment that is safe, respectful and predictable. One of Responsive Classroom’s seven guiding principles is that in order to be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self –control. Another guiding principle is that knowing the children we teach – individually, culturally, and developmentally is as important as knowing the content we teach. Focusing on these principles and practices will better enable us to prepare our students for success in the 21st century.
 
* At the heart of the Responsive Classroom approach are ten classroom practices:
 
Morning Meeting– gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead.
 
Rule Creation – helping students create classroom rules to ensure an environment that allows all class members to meet their learning goals
 
Interactive Modeling – teaching children to notice and internalize expectedbehaviors through a unique modeling technique
 
Positive Teacher Language – using words and tone as a tool to promotechildren’s active learning, sense of community, and self discipline
 
Logical Consequences – responding to misbehavior in a way that allows children to fix and learn from their mistakes while preserving their dignity
 
Guided Discovery – introducing classroom materials using a format that encourages independence, creativity, and responsibility
 
Academic Choice – increasing student learning by allowing students teacher-structured choices in their work
 
Classroom Organization – setting up the physical room in ways that encourage students’ independence, cooperation, and productivity
 
Working with Families – creating avenues for hearing parents’ insights and helping them understand the school’s teaching approaches
 
Collaborative Problem Solving – using conferencing, role playing and other strategies to resolve problems with students
 
This nationally acclaimed approach was developed by experienced public school teachers and is sponsored by the New England Foundation for Children in Turners Falls, MA. You can find out more about Responsive Classroom by visiting their website www.responsiveclassroom.org
 
*From www.responsiveclassroom.org
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