“Like Being at the Breakfast Table”

Adapted, with permission, from an article in Childhood Education, Spring 2001
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Working with Families

Question:In my classroom this year, I am implementing two teaching strategies, Morning Meeting and Rules and Logical Consequences, but I’m concerned about parents’ reactions. I can imagine that they will worry that…
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Choosing Choice

Several years ago, the school at which I was teaching adopted a new series of teacher’s manuals for reading and spelling and asked that teachers use them to guide their instruction. The…
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A Comfortable Routine in Uncomfortable Times

In the days and weeks following the events of September 11th, many teachers and children around the country gathered each morning in the comforting routine of Morning Meeting, a daily ritual that…
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Welcoming Second Language Learners

Question:The number of students speaking English as a second language (ESL) is steadily increasing. These children come to the classroom with diverse cultural backgrounds and varying degrees of proficiency with English. We…
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Hopes and Dreams in a Primary Classroom

I love the beginning of each school year with the coming of fresh new faces to excited to learn. Most of my students have been to kindergarten and come to first grade…
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Classroom Spaces That Work

Imagine spending every day in a physical space designed for people much bigger than you. To wash your hands or get a drink of water, you’d have to drag a chair over…
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Looking Back, Looking Forward

Question:The end of the school year offers a unique opportunity for students and teachers to reflect on their year of learning together. It’s a time to recognize efforts, celebrate achievements, acknowledge challenges,…
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A Conflict Resolution Protocol for Elementary Classrooms

April 2000A basic belief underlying The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching is that how children learn to treat one another is as important as what they learn in reading, writing, and arithmetic.…
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The Middle of the Day

It's a cool, crisp, autumn morning as 100 second and third graders burst onto the playground for a much-needed break from the academic demands of the day. Some make a beeline to…
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Ending the Day Right

Question:Many teachers spend a lot of time creating good beginnings to the school day through carefully planned morning meetings. But what about the end of the day? In this newsletter's Teacher to…
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Closing Meeting

It's 3:23 and my class has just finished a science experiment. I look at the clock and realize we have seven minutes to clean up from science and do everything else we…
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Homework!

Ask any teacher, parent, student, or administrator about homework and you're likely to get a different opinion about the quality and quantity at their school: there should be more, there should be…
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Getting the Most Value Out of Displays

Effective classroom displays are one of the most powerful—and overlooked—tools for teaching. They can generate excitement about the curriculum, increase children’s investment in learning, help children appreciate their own work and the…
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Keeping Music Alive

When I was a child, music found its way into the daily life of most elementary classrooms. My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Monahan, started each day with the pledge and the piano.…
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Building a Sense of Ownership

Question: In the book The First Six Weeks of School, co-authors Paula Denton and Roxann Kriete emphasize the importance of helping students feel a sense of comfort and ownership in the classroom…
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In Case of the Blurts

How one teacher deals with interruptions and keeps learning running smoothly. Picture this: My reading group is attentive and prepared for a discussion of a favorite novel. “What if Darry had called…
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