Challenge Is a Part of Learning

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” –Frederick Douglass This famous quote, printed on bright pink cardstock and posted above the whiteboard of a third grade classroom, stood out during a recent school observation.  I tend to see a lot of these on walls during observations—words of wisdom laminated and carefully hung, intended Read More »
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Clearing the Way for New Growth

Recently I was in a school conducting observations, and I noticed that all of the classrooms were picture-perfect. The decorations on the walls looked like an advertisement for a teacher store, and…
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Highlighting Academics with Belonging, Significance and Fun

“When we start the day with everyone together, face to face, welcoming each person, sharing news, listening to individual voices, and communicating as a caring group, we make several powerful statements. We…
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Healthy Teachers Make Healthy Classrooms

Responsive Classroom Consulting Teachers Joe Tilley, Luke Mason, Jenny Spero, and Ramona McCullough, and Professional Development Designer Michelle Gill weigh in on the importance of self-care.   You already know that social…
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2018 – The Responsive Classroom SEL Year in Review

It’s been another great year at Center for Responsive Schools! We are grateful for the opportunity to continue sharing the Responsive Classroom approach to Social-Emotional Learning with educators around the world. Here…
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A Unified Approach to Teaching in a Diverse International School

Students come to ACS Cobham International School in England from all over the world. Some stay for their entire pre-collegiate school experience and others make a home there for just a few…
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Responding to Misbehavior with Empathy

Taking proactive steps to build a strong learning community, with practices like positive teacher language, interactive modeling, and investing students in rules through Hopes and Dreams, does a lot to prevent misbehavior…
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The Challenge of Kindness

National Bullying Prevention month may have ended last week, but the work of stopping bullying in our classrooms and schools continues throughout the year. By committing to The Challenge of Kindness we…
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Restoring Trust After Bullying

We do our best to create positive learning communities and stop bullying before it starts, but when bullying has already happened, how do you repair the classroom community? We asked Responsive Classroom…
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Creating Lasting Change

Michelle Gill is a professional development designer at the Center for Responsive Schools, and former educator at Garfield Elementary School in Fairfax County, Virginia. During her time at Garfield, she was part…
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Building a Joyful Foundation

I can remember my first days as a principal as if it were yesterday. The vividness of the memory is largely because my first days of being a principal were also the…
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What Are Your Hopes?

As we prepare for our upcoming Teachers and Leadership Conferences, we’ve been thinking a lot about hope. Students’ hopes and dreams are, of course, an integral part of the beginning of the…
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This Room Was Made for You and Me

Children need a classroom environment they can understand and trust. They need to understand the routines and to know where to find things, they need uncluttered spaces to do their work, and…
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Our Actions Speak Louder Than Our Words

In 1991, Ruth Charney, co-founder of Responsive Classroom, wrote a book that impacted K-8 educators all over the world, Teaching Children to Care. A reflection of her 20-year teaching career as well…
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Setting a Vision for the Future

As the bustle of the after-school and after-work hours wound down for the night, I found my eight-year-old daughter in tears in her bedroom. She was hunched over her sketch pad. Colored…
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It’s Time to Reconnect

Helping students build relationships with each other is a key to creating an optimal learning environment. Stronger bonds mean students will be less likely to be unkind, to exclude others, to call…
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Teaching Students to Speak Confidently

“As their teachers, we hold in our hearts our own hopes and dreams for [our students]. We want them to engage in academic rigor and to be ideamongers who contribute to classroom…
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Know Your Students: Developmentally Responsive Planning

Knowing the students in your class happens in different ways for different teachers. A middle school teacher who sees 150 adolescents for one subject, 45 minutes a day will likely develop different…
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The Natural Learning Cycle

It’s the perfect time of year to pause and reflect on your personal teaching and learning goals—the hopes and dreams you set when school began. First, let’s take a step back and…
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What is Responsive Advisory Meeting?

Responsive Advisory Meeting serves as an anchor for adolescents, a predictable routine that students need more than ever as they undergo rapid physical, emotional, and intellectual changes. Just as Morning Meeting helps…
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What is Quiet Time?

Consider the energy and intensity that often accompany the middle of the day. Lunch and recess provide students with opportunities to run, play, eat, and socialize, and teachers often see this energy…
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Stop Bullying Before It Starts

National Bullying Prevention Month is an opportunity to reflect on a serious problem that not only deprives students of a joyful learning environment, but can have toxic effects on the recipient that…
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Teachers, Specializing in… Everything!

You’re a master of flexibility, an expert gear-switcher, and you know and teach every student at your school. You’re a Special Area Teacher. And you’re amazing! Being a Special Area Teacher means…
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Starting the Year Off with Joy

Each of these practices promotes active teaching over direct teaching: Rather than education being a one-way street in which a teacher lectures, learning becomes a collaboration between teacher and students. And if…
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