Grounding Responsive Classroom Practices One Step at a Time

Grounding Responsive Classroom Practices One Step at a Time

Walk with me as I share how my daily scheduled walks for self-care have served to ground and bring to life the Responsive Classroom core belief, guiding principles, and academic and social-emotional competencies in my work. The time and space that the daily walk offers enables me to purposefully reflect on my Responsive Classroom practices.


Intention Walk 

Putting on my shoes, checking the weather, and grabbing a jacket, I begin to ease into the day during my morning intention walk. As my walk finds its rhythm, my thoughts for the day awaken and follow a three-step thinking process: preview, envision and ground, and set. 

  • Preview – What is my schedule for the day? I run through a checklist of planned items as well as consider potential changes to the schedule
  • Envision and ground – What will success look like today- for me, the students, and the entire school community? What A+SEL competency or Responsive Classroom guiding principle will my intention be grounded in today? What do I want to pay special attention to?
  • Set – Towards the end of my walk, I set my intention for the day.  Examples of intention starters include: 
    • Today I choose…
    • The key for today is…
    • May I embrace…

For example, upon previewing the day, I realize that I have a team meeting on the schedule and begin thinking about the purpose of the meeting. As I walk, I center my thoughts on guiding principle 4: How we work together as adults to create a safe, joyful, and inclusive school environment is as important as our individual contributions or competence. Then I set my intention: The key for today is collaboration and acknowledgement of the gifts each one of us brings to the table.


Daily Mile

Each day my entire school community heads out mid-morning for the Daily Mile. During the Daily Mile, I find myself drawn into conversations with students and teachers alike. I revisit the intention I set earlier. How can I apply it during this walk? I might connect with a teacher or student and learn something new about them as we walk. Sometimes, a teacher or student seeks me out, and, as we walk, I listen for understanding. While my school is currently learning virtually, the Daily Mile is still a consistent part of our school schedule; the expectation is that everyone will walk away from the screen, get moving, and connect with nature.


Gratitude Walk

At the end of the day, the gratitude walk gives me the time and space to reflect on the intention set at the beginning of the day. How did I bring life to the intention I set at the beginning of the day? How were the guiding principles evident in my work?  The answers come in the form of gratitude for the gifts of the day – the people, events, and small moments that brought joy, growth, and success, and which in turn informs my next day’s intention walk.


Written by Julie Kelly