Finding Time for Self-Care During the School Day

Research doesn’t have to tell us the effect teachers’ mental and emotional health has on the classroom community (though it does). As we all know from experience, it impacts not only ourselves and our successes at school but our students’ experiences and school successes as well. Responsive Classroom’s second guiding principle reminds us that “How Read More »
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Helping Students Turn Anxiety into Achievement

According to the Child Mind Institute, there has been a 17% increase in anxiety disorder diagnoses in young people. When these children show up in our classrooms, they want to be successful…
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Student Sharing: A Strategy for Culturally Responsive Teaching

Responsive Classroom strategies, structures, and techniques offer a wide array of practices we can use for culturally responsive teaching. One of these strategies is student sharing. Providing opportunities for students to share…
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Using the Responsive Classroom Approach to Support ALL Students

Ensuring that all our students are academically engaged is our highest priority as educators. We want to teach our students the skills needed to creatively engage with content while becoming critical thinkers—…
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Strategies for Cultivating a Classroom That Represents Students

Imagine walking into a family member’s home and seeing your photograph on the mantel, or being in class and hearing your professor use a cultural reference you connect with. These experiences make…
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Strengthening Your Community: Continuing to Connect with Students and Families

Recently, as I was returning a rental car, the associate behind the desk asked me an all-too-familiar question: “How was everything?” Without very much thought, I smiled and provided my routine answer:…
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Valuing Cultural Norms That Differ From Your Own

Black History Month is an opportunity for us as educators not only to teach students about historic contributors to our American history, but also to help students experience and find value in…
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Strategies for Getting Students Back on Track

Helping students get back on track when they are engaged in off-task or rule-breaking behavior is an important goal when responding to misbehavior. We want students to quickly get back to positively…
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Bullying Prevention: How Aware Are You? 5 Steps You Can Take

According to stopbullying.gov, between one in four and one in three U.S. students say they have been bullied at school. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and this provides an opportunity for…
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Communicating with Families: Operating from a Place of Empathy

It was the morning of the first day of school and for the first time in four years, I was preparing my daughter to attend a school where I was not one…
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Having Effective, Affirming, and Energizing Conversations with Families

Every interaction we have (or don’t have) with parents does, to some degree, reflect how much we value families’ input and the extent to which we see caregivers as our partners in…
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How to Create Meaningful and Rewarding Relationships with Colleagues

A guiding principle of Responsive Classroom is “How we work together as adults to create a safe, joyful, and inclusive school environment is as important as our individual contribution or competence.” In…
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Responding to Misbehavior with Empathy

Taking proactive steps to build a strong learning community, with practices like positive teacher language, interactive modeling, and investing students in rules through Hopes and Dreams, does a lot to prevent misbehavior…
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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…
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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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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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The Invisible Boy

Do you have a child in your class who is invisible to the other children? I'm thinking about the child who is forgotten when children choose work partners, who plays alone at…
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“We All Get Angry Sometimes”

Just as we teachers help children recognize letters and patterns, manage their belongings, and control their movements, we must also help them identify and manage their emotions. Such self-regulation preserves social relationships…
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Each Kindness

A new girl joins Chloe's class. Maya's clothes are old and ragged. Despite the fact that there's snow on the ground, Maya's shoes look like they're meant for spring. The teacher seats…
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Extraordinary Acts

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the amazing things teachers do, often almost without thinking. While working on my latest project, a book about behavior challenges, I've been interviewing some experienced…
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Habits of the Heart

I was fortunate to hear Parker Palmer speak last week in a program sponsored by Courage in Schools (an initiative of Courage & Renewal Northeast) at Wellesley College. There were 120 educators…
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Building Empathy to Prevent Bullying

My fifth grade class was about to welcome a new student—I'll call him Mark—who had a number of medical challenges. For instance, he had a feeding tube, and he suffered from uncontrollable…
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Welcoming Hannah

One November morning, I learned that Hannah, a transfer student, would join my third grade class the very next day. Feeling fortunate to have a little notice, I shared the news with…
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Respect & Responsive Classroom

This past summer at the Responsive Classroom Schools Conference, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot’s keynote speech on the dimensions of respect gave me a new lens with which to reflect on Responsive Classroom and…
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A Sustaining Routine

Megan’s Great Uncle John was dying of cancer, and she needed to share this distressing experience with her fourth grade classmates. During a Morning Meeting Sharing in October, Megan explained that her…
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Helping Others

“Helping others in need” is a theme I like to use for focusing classroom activities with upper-grade students. The recent Asian tsunami disaster offered a good opportunity for an activity. It connected…
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