Sunday, December 4, 2016

Responsive Classroom Practices

Excellence in Education: Responsive Classroom Practices
Two relatively innocuous actions taken by Ms. Irving in her Biology class reminded me of something that it takes far too many educators to learn or act on.

After her students set up the room for an interactive, movement and team-based Kahoot! Ms. Irving stopped, “This isn’t working quite right. I need to make a change…” Then she turned to the students, sought their opinion and essentially put it to a vote.

In the matter of 30 seconds, she “violated” two old-school rules--rules that should never have been rules.
Rule/Myth 1: Never admit mistakes in front of the students.
Rule/Myth 2: It’s your classroom.

Reflecting back on my first year, I remember several veteran teachers, who shall remain nameless, challenging me to take more control. “It’s your classroom.” “Don’t listen to them [students].” Of course, this was also followed by, “Don’t smile until Thanksgiving (or for the real hardened teachers until Christmas).”

Ironically, the year BEFORE I joined this school, teachers had studied the work of William Glasser. Anyway, back to Ms. Irving….

In the matter of 30 seconds, Ms. Irving modeled reflection and self-improvement (Let’s change this up to make it work better) and established a responsive, shared classroom approach (What should we do?)

Of course, she’s not alone in establishing a responsive classroom.

Responsive Classroom Practices
  1. Student choice, whether in how to learn, where to learn, or how to demonstrate learning.
  2. Working to get to know your students beyond your classroom through conversations with students, counselors, TDT or teaching colleagues, families, etc.
  3. Remaining positive and focusing on student strengths while embodying a growth mindset
  4. Modeling the behaviors we desire.
  5. Establishing logical rules, procedures/routines and consequences, so students know where they stand and feel safe.

What are some of your favorite responsive classroom practices?

Responsive Classroom Principles (from

  1. The social and emotional curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  2. How children learn is as important as what they learn.
  3. Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  4. To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn a set of social and emotional skills: cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  5. Knowing the children we teach—individually, culturally, and developmentally—is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  6. Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children we teach.
  7. How we, the adults at school, work together is as important as our individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.

Need to Knows:
Pineapple Learning Walks:

Please don’t forget that the expectation is that all students complete at least one “assignment” in each class for each term to upload to their online/open portfolios.

Portfolio Assistance If you have a student who needs assistance setting up his/her portfolio, click here

Technology / Website Permission Request Form Please use this form to request use of a website that requires student log-in if the site is not already on the approved list. DART approved list

Calendar and Memo Items
A-B-A-B-B Week: Friday = Club Day

December 5, 4th block: FIRE Drill!

December 9: B-Day

All exams are expected to be given at the assigned time. More information about the all-school activity will be distributed early this week.

December 7: HMSA Open House (5pm), Curriculum Expo, 6pm

December 8: Band Concert, 7pm

December 13: Chorus Concert, 7pm

December 15: Mandatory AM Faculty Meeting with Breakfast Provided (Focus Teams will resume in January)

Worth Your Time

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