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 routine—a set of actions that students do in a certain way each time they enter the special area room—helps ensure that students ready themselves quickly for the day’s learning and work productively throughout the period.
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Taking Positive Language Schoolwide

Positive language is a powerful tool for building a calm, safe school climate. The words we use when we talk to students, the intention behind these words, and how we deliver them…
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Music Class Rules

I’d been teaching for over 30 years and felt pretty comfortable with the way I managed my music classes. But a few years ago, I took a Responsive Classroom workshop, and it…
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Special Area Rules

Special area teachers may come up with their area rules on their own, use or adapt classroom rules, or use schoolwide rules. No matter where your special area rules come from, the…
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Changing a School Climate: How Responsive Classroom Helped

A little over a year ago, I became the principal at a school where discipline referrals and staff stress were at all-time highs. Change was clearly needed, and soon. I’d spent the…
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Morning Meeting Visits: Sharing Ideas and Insights

I enjoy planning Morning Meetings for my students, and each year I see how beneficial these gatherings are in creating a positive classroom community. I’ve also found that sharing and being exposed…
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Magic Minutes

As students arrive first thing in the morning, I’m stationed in my customary position at the door, ready to greet each one. I offer Chase our usual gentle double fist bump and…
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Lively Learning for Professional Development

With increasing demands to meet rigorous curriculum standards and improve the quality of instruction, efficient, productive professional development (PD) and staff meetings are more critical than ever. Too often, though, these sessions…
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The First 12 Weeks of PE

Starting on the first day of school, students wait excitedly at the door for PE to begin. And as soon as they see me, they always pepper me with questions: "What are we…
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The Power of Responsive Classroom

Sometimes a few little numbers can tell a great big story. That's the case with the changing numbers of disciplinary referrals at Palmyra-Macedon Primary School in Palmyra, NY. When the Responsive Classroom approach…
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Greeting Ideas for School Gatherings

In my newsletter article, "School Gatherings: Build Community, Boost Learning," I talk about the power of school gatherings. Over the years I've taught in a variety of settings—and no matter what the setting,…
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School Gatherings

During my thirty-nine-year teaching career, I’ve walked school hallways in five states and taught many students in public, private, and parochial settings. Over all those years, I’ve seen the power of group…
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Three-Year Survey of Students

Principal Dennis Copeland had one goal in mind when he decided to survey a group of 200 students in his school over a three-year period:
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High-Morale Schools: Readying Students to Take on the World

Morale can be hard to define, but you know it when you see it. When you walk into a school and everything immediately feels calm, safe, respectful, rich with learning, you know…
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Big Changes, Big Gains

When principal Susan Mele arrived four years ago at Stewartsville Elementary School, the discipline was in chaos. More time was being spent on discipline than instruction; teachers were exhausted from dealing with…
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Q & A with Matt Miller

Last week, when the national news media picked up a story about a 2nd grader's idea for making recess work better at his school, Roundtown Elementary principal Matthew Miller contacted us right…
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Teach Effectively

Ms. Simpson signals for attention and waits a few seconds, until all students are looking at her, before explaining that today they'll be learning a reading strategy called "visualizing." Using second-grade-friendly language,…
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Hyde-Addison Elementary School

A strong community and a student-centered focus have long been the heart of Hyde-Addison Elementary, a well-regarded public school in Washington, DC. Since Hyde-Addison began using Responsive Classroom practices in 1999, staff…
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A Principal’s Job Is Also to Teach

Early in my career as a school leader, I learned a great lesson: that as a principal, I needed to help children learn the skills that would enable the behavior their teachers…
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Kensington Avenue Magnet School

Teachers and administrators at Kensington Avenue Magnet School view the Responsive Classroom approach as a foundation upon which they can build. "We look at each new initiative through a Responsive Classroom lens,"…
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Strong Leadership Results in More Effective Teachers

Research has confirmed it: Principals play a crucial role in teachers’ use of Responsive Classroom practices. The study. A recently completed three-year study conducted by the University of Virginia’s Curry School of…
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