Does the Responsive Classroom Approach Work in Urban Schools?

When I describe the Responsive Classroom approach to educators from urban areas, somebody always says, “That sounds great, but it would never work at my school.” When asked why, the person usually cites issues familiar to all of us who work in urban schools: a high poverty rate, turnover of teachers and staff, an inadequately-equipped building, a crime-ridden neighborhood, and more.
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School Spotlight: Hollin Meadows

“My teacher’s coming, my teacher’s coming,” squeals a gleeful six-year-old as he catches his first glimpse of his teacher as she steps out of her car and walks to his front door.…
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Including All Staff in the Responsive Classroom Journey

When Bristol Elementary School, a public school in a small Vermont town, started its journey of Responsive Classroom implementation a few years ago, it took a two-pronged approach, focusing simultaneously on classroom…
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A New Way to Start

When Steve Bahn became principal at Ideal Elementary School, a K–6 school with 245 students, he didn't like how the school day began. "It felt chaotic and fragmented," he recalls. Students entered…
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Engaging Hearts & Minds

In this climate of high-stakes testing and fast-paced teaching, inviting student passion into the classroom can be difficult. Where do we find the time? How do we do it without compromising required…
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Making Bus Rides Go Better

At Grafton, all 707 students are assigned to a bus. "That means fifteen buses with all the usual problems, including bullying," says fifth grade teacher Martha Hanley.
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Talent Days Offer Every Child a Chance to Shine

Come to Talent Days at our school and you’ll see children sharing a kaleidoscope of skills and interests—doing magic, photography, cooking, writing, gymnastics; training pets; and singing or playing instruments. No matter…
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Taking the Responsive Classroom Approach Schoolwide

At a time when many policy makers are concerned primarily with children's cognitive development and how they do on standardized tests, educators from around the country gathered in Amherst, Massachusetts, to reaffirm…
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Collaboration and Consistency Ease Moving Pains

“You can see our school from the bridge,” a fifth grader proudly points out about the recently renovated Regional Multicultural Magnet School (RMMS). Built into a hill overlooking the New London waterfront,…
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Crowning Day for Ks

Our school celebrates and welcomes our new kindergartners with a special all-school Morning Meeting affectionately known as “Crowning Day.” Planning for Crowning Day begins before the kindergartners start school. The fifth graders…
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Student-Led All-School Meetings Bring the School Community Together

In a school with over 500 students and more than eighty staff, it can be difficult to get to know one another. At K.T. Murphy Elementary School in Stamford, Connecticut, the staff…
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