Our classroom is a community in which each student is a contributing and appreciated member. The emphasis is on building each student's cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control (C.A.R.E.S.). Below are just some of the ways Responsive Classroom is integrated in our classroom. For more information on the background and philosophy, please visit the Responsive Classroom Northeast Foundation website. http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/
Morning Meeting: We begin each morning with a meeting. During this time students greet one another. We emphasize the 'social conduct'--eye contact and use of the other person's name. There are many different types of greetings that we will learn throughout the year. We then have sharing time. As we progress through the year, this will look different, however it will always emphasize listening to the 'speaker,' making eye contact, and learning to ask or give appropriate 'questions or comments,' that are specific to the speaker. We then have a group activity time to help build community. There are many different types of activities for us to learn as we move through the year. Some are quite challenging! Some are plain fun! Lastly, we have our News and Announcements chart. This tells something about the day. Students will be able to respond to a question asked at the end of the News and Announcements. This question can help us to get to know each other better or it can be used to check to see how well we remember the skills we've learned. Each Morning Meeting takes on a different academic focus, a way to make reviewing skills fun! Both the teachers and the kids love Morning Meetings. It's a great, fun way to start the day.
Guided Discovery/Modeling/Role Playing: At the beginning of the year, and throughout the year when new materials are introduced, students will take time to explore items. This will allow them to understand and generate 'appropriate' uses and care for each supply. During the year we may need to revisit a 'guided discovery' experience, as students may need a 'model' to remember how to appropriately use materials or review classroom expectations. Role Playing is an aspect integrated this year. This will allow students to act out 'potential problem' situations and discuss how the actors and actresses could best resolve the conflict. The goal is for these experiences to help empower children as they become more independent at problem solving future situations. Guided Discovery teaches us to appreciate and take care of our community's supplies so that they are there for us when we need them.
Establishing Classroom Rules: At the beginning of the year, students help to create the class rules together. When these are established as a 'community,' students tend to take on more ownership for the 'rules.' We establish some basic rules the first couple days of school, but we officially write down our list approximately a week into the school year. This allows students a chance to get acquainted with the new 'community' and identify what types of rules are most appropriate.
Logical Consequences: The consequences of our actions take on a 'logical' approach.
1. 'If You Break It, You Fix It'
If a child accidentally knocks something off another student's desk, it is only logical that they should help pick it up. Likewise, if a student hurts another's feelings, they need to fix it. This is done by making an apology or finding a way to make it up to the other person.
2. 'Loss of Privilege’
Sometimes loss of privilege is the most appropriate way for a child to regain an understanding of their responsibility of appropriate conduct.