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 shape the way students see themselves and their school. When all school adults—not just classroom teachers—use positive language, children hear consistent messages about Read More »
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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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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 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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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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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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Chewing on Ideas

Like many educators these days, the teachers in my building have new initiatives added to our plates each year. We need (and want!) to collaborate as a faculty about them, but it's…
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SOAR Schools

At SOAR, a network of public charter schools in Northeast Denver, Responsive Classroom practices are embedded in the daily life of schools, and the approach itself is integrated into the network's core…
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Garfield Elementary

Garfield Elementary, a K–6 public school, began its Responsive Classroom initiative seven years ago. Located in Fairfax County, the sixth-largest public school district in the U.S., Garfield is a Title I school…
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Lessons from Co-Teaching

In my kindergarten classroom, there are two teachers: Pat Douglass and myself. We combined our classes two years ago by opening up the wall between our classrooms and merging them into one.…
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Coaching: Not Just for Athletes

Everyone knows that coaching is a key to top performance and excellence in athletics, so why don't we apply the same idea more widely to teaching? In "Personal Best," a recent article…
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Leadership That Inspires Change: Three Keys to Success

When Rita White stepped into her first principalship at an inner-city school in Memphis, Tennessee, she faced daunting challenges. The school of 980 students was on the state’s “needs improvement” list, students…
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What Keeps You Inspired?

In the throes of a winter snow storm, progress reports, parent conferences, state testing and the flu season, imagine what might have inspired these comments:"This was totally worth giving up two weekends!""This…
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Encouraging Classroom Visits and Peer Observations

Heather Anderson remembers the year she decided to go to art with her second grade class as “magical.” As she worked on art projects alongside her students, she saw children who struggled…
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Our Passion for Teaching

I was so moved by your responses to my last post about the importance of bringing joy to classrooms! The images of college students being read to, classes dancing at “boogie breaks,”…
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Better Together

"This year, in partnership with the United Way of Greater Toledo Women's Initiative, the Toledo Public Schools, and the Toledo Federation of Teachers, our focus will be on creating caring learning communities…
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Have You Read This?: Organized Chaos

I read quite a few blogs written by elementary teachers, and Organized Chaos: A think tank focused on creative solutions for future problem solvers is one I particularly enjoy. The author, a…
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What’s a Responsive Classroom book that you rely on?

A: Our school finds The First Six Weeks of School incredibly helpful. At the beginning of each year, new and returning staff members meet weekly for a book study on this book.…
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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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Afternoon Meeting

The classroom at the end of the corridor rings with happy chatter. But the voices belong to teachers, not children. School has ended for the day as the teachers circle up for…
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Rebuilding Community by Reuniting School Staff

“We used to have pictures like these going back for years,” says Peter Harrison, principal of Young School, indicating a pair of large framed photos by the school’s entrance. Each picture shows…
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Learning by Observing Colleagues in Action

It's Morning Meeting time in Angie Morrison’s second grade classroom. As they do each morning, Angie and the children gather in a circle to greet each other and begin their day together.…
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Teachers Become a Community of Learners

When each school in her district was required to convene a literacy team, Karen Casto, then principal of Penn Valley Elementary School, saw it as an opportunity for the whole school to…
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Guest Teacher Handbook

After you’ve been teaching for even a little while, you’ll probably find yourself in this situation: You’ll be attending a reading workshop tomorrow. Today, you talk with your students about how they…
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Teachers Learn from Visiting Each Other’s Morning Meetings

"Good morning, friendly learners. Today we have a visitor joining us for Morning Meeting!” This is an announcement that students hear frequently when they begin their Morning Meeting at School 14. Every…
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