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Responsive Classroom

Responsive Classroom helps students learn good character through evidence-based practices.

Adapted from Responsive Classroom’s website

Key tenets:

  • The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  • How children learn is as important as what children learn.
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • There is a set of social skills that children need to learn and practice to be successful. They form the acronym CARES – cooperation, assertion,responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  • We must know our children individually, culturally, and developmentally.
  • Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children.
  • Teachers and administrators must model the social and academic skills that they wish their students to learn.


  • Morning Meeting – Students gather as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead.
  • Rule Creation – Classrooms establish rules that support an environment where class members meet learning goals.
  • Positive Teacher Language – Teachers use words and tone as a tool to promote children’s active learning, sense of community, and self- discipline.
  • Interactive Modeling – Teachers model expected behaviors to teach children to notice and internalize them.
  • Classroom Organization – Staff sets up the physical environment to encourage students’ autonomy, cooperation, and productivity.
  • Guided Discovery – We introduce classroom materials to encourage autonomy, creativity, and responsibility.
  • Academic Choice – Teachers promote student learning by allowing students structured choices in their work.
  • Working with Families – Staff creates partnerships with parents and guardians to help develop positive, autonomous, and intrinsically motivated learners.
  • Collaborative Problem Solving – We use conferencing, role-playing, and other strategies to resolve problems.
  • Logical Consequences – Staff responds to misbehavior in a way that allows children to learn from and resolve the consequences of their mistakes while preserving their dignity.
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