Responsive Classroom

I have been asked several questions this year about Responsive Classroom and how it has been implemented here at CSI, so here’s the scoop.

Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching that includes effective research-based practices and strategies that create a safe, engaging and joyful school community.   In addition to academic content and knowledge, the emphasis is for students to develop their social, emotional, and communication skills.  We know that in the coming years as we move further into the 21st century, our students will need to be prepared to navigate a very complex world. They will need to learn problem-solving and critical thinking techniques, develop effective communication skills, and understand how to work collaboratively with peers.

This summer, our staff attended three days of training in Responsive Classroom practices and will have a follow-up workshop day in December.   Next month, our trainer will visit CSI classrooms and common areas to observe our implementation and to give us feedback on how and where we might improve.  Teachers will also have the opportunity to observe peers and refine some of the signature practices that were learned over the summer.

A key piece of Responsive Classroom is creating a learning environment with high expectations and student autonomy.  At the beginning of the school year, each classroom developed its own set of rules, values, and agreements.  Students worked together to determine what the classroom environment should look like, how it should be organized, and the elements that need to occur to build a sense of community and trust.  For the past few weeks, we have expanded this to the school level, and classroom representatives began the process of creating school-wide agreements for the common areas on campus including the Bistro, Think Tank, playgrounds, and Welcome Center.  Once the rules have been developed, they will create posters and presentations to share with the entire school community.

Some of the elements of Responsive Classroom include:

Morning Meeting – Each day, classrooms start out with a morning meeting that includes a greeting, a sharing, a group activity, and a morning message.  Many parents experienced this at our Back to School Night in September.

Energizers – Short playful activities to help build community, collaboration, and teamwork.

Closing Circle – At the end of each day, students reflect on and celebrate their learning.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information about Responsive Classroom and how we will be including our CUSD Profile of a Graduate competencies into our work here at CSI.