In September, our homeroom and specialist teachers were trained in Responsive Classroom. At the time I wasn't able to attend this training, however more training was conducted during the 2 PD days at the start of the new term, and I was able to join in with this. I find it an interesting approach, and it seems that our teachers have experienced a lot of success with it in the 3 months they were using it before Christmas. Since I was not very familiar with RC (and I'm assuming many readers of this blog are also not familiar with it), I thought I'd write a short post about what it is.
Responsive classroom is an approach that leads to greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement and improved school climate. The focus is on teacher effectiveness to design lessons, use language to promote social and academic growth, encourage students to make meaningful choices, start each day in a positive way, set high expectations for students, establish routines that promote autonomy and independence, build a sense of community and teach students 21st century skills.
The training I attended today focused on the Morning Meeting - the way that every day starts in our elementary school. The goals of the Morning Meeting, which lasts around 20-30 minutes are to:
- Create positive power of community (though belonging, significance and fun)
- Model & practice social and emotional skills
- Merge social, emotional and academic learning
The Morning Meeting has 4 components:
- Sets a positive tone for the day
- provides a sense of recognition and belonging
- helps students learn and use everyone’s name
- lets students practice hospitality and freedom
- to help students know each other
- to develop social and emotional competencies
- to teach thinking, listening and speaking
- to strengthen language development and reading success
- Group Activity
- to build positive community by developing a repertoire of songs, games, chants and poems
- to foster active and engaged participation
- to heighten the class’s sense of group identity
- to have fun together while becoming more competent in a set of social and emotional skills that include cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, self-control
- to enhance the learning of curriculum content through engaging group experience
- Morning Message
- to develop and reinforce language, math and other skills in a meaningful and interactive way
- to build community through shared written information
- to reinforce social and emotional skills
- to help students make the transition from Morning Meeting to the rest of the day and get them excited about what they’ll be learning.
Other things we talked about today were the importance of quiet time, interactive learning structures, energizers and a Closing Circle at the end of the day. The idea behind the Closing Circle is
- to end the day on a calm and positive note
- to practice the habit of reflection
- to foster students’ awareness of school and themselves and classmates
- to build and reinforce a sense of community
I found the Responsive Classroom training to be very interesting and look forward to seeing more of it in practice during the second half of the school year.