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 as the stories and observations of colleagues, her practical and empathetic guidance has inspired teachers for decades and in turn has impacted the Read More »
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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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Getting Started with Responsive Classroom

No matter where in the year you are, when you’re feeling ready to start using the Responsive Classroom approach, that’s the right time to begin! But where do you start? “It’s all…
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Bring Social Studies Into Morning Meeting

Morning Meeting is a chance for teachers to introduce and reinforce critical academic and social-emotional skills for students of any age. Bringing social studies into Morning Meeting can give students extra opportunities…
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Time-Out: Early, Often, and for Everyone

At least once a year, one colleague or another comes to me and says, “Gina, something is not right. Can you observe my class and see if you can figure out what’s…
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Academic Engagement in the Home Stretch

You’ve made it to the last few months of the academic year! From spring fever to state testing, there are lots of reasons why students might need a nudge to stay engaged…
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Spring Rejuvenation

No matter what the weather is like where you are, it can be challenging for both students and teachers to maintain enthusiasm at this point in the school year. The beginning-of-school energy…
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Helping Students Give Effective Compliments

Telling students what they’re doing right is one of the most powerful tools we have for helping them solidify and build on their positive behaviors and skills—and teachers aren’t the only ones…
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Revisiting Classroom Rules

How often do you revisit classroom rules? Most teachers establish rules at the beginning of the year, and many devote time to modeling and practicing rules with students in the first weeks…
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Engaging Middle Schoolers During the Holiday Season

With interrupted classroom schedules, school vacations, and increased disruptive student behaviors, managing the classroom can feel like a daunting task during the winter holiday season. With a little strategizing, you can help…
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Responding to Defiance in the Moment

Children who defy us often get to the core of our fears as teachers. They make us question our abilities and provoke feelings of insignificance. But when we rise above our own…
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Self-Assessment and Goal Setting Go Hand in Hand

When built into daily schoolwork, goal-focused self-assessment fosters academic achievement by helping students develop lifelong skills.
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Peanut Butter, Grape Jelly

As seen in The First Six Weeks of School, 2nd Edition! Students get a kick out of this song.
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Time for a Brain Break!

Middle schoolers are at an age when they need frequent opportunities to pause, move, and interact with each other to recharge themselves and refocus their energies for more productive learning. Teachers can…
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Setting a Positive Tone in Special Area Classrooms

What happens in the first few minutes of each class period can have a huge impact on students’ focus and productivity throughout the rest of the period. A calm and orderly opening…
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