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Main Office
fax 612.668.2730
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Pre K - 8th
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1200 West 26th St.
Minneapolis 55405
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7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Monday - Friday

Responsive Classroom

Responsive Classroom

Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to teaching and discipline that focuses on engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness. 

Engaging Academics

Learner-centered lessons that are participatory, appropriately challenging, fun, and relevant and promote curiosity, wonder, and interest.

Positive Community

A safe, predictable, joyful, and inclusive environment where all students have a sense of belonging and significance.

Effective Management

A calm and orderly learning environment that promotes autonomy, responsibility, and high engagement in learning.

Developmentally Responsive Teaching

Basing all decisions for teaching and discipline upon research and knowledge of students’ social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.

Core Belief

In order to be successful in and out of school, students need to learn a set of social and emotional competencies-cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control-and a set of academic competencies-academic mindset, perseverance, learning strategies, and academic behaviors.

Guiding Principles

TheResponsive Classroom approach is informed by the work of educational theorists and the experiences of exemplary classroom teachers. Six principles guide this approach:

  1. Teaching social and emotional skills is as important as teaching academic content.

  2. How we teach is as important as what we teach.

  3. Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.

  4. How we work together as adults to cre­ate a safe, joyful, and inclusive school environment is as important as our individual contribution or competence.

  5. What we know and believe about our students-individually, culturally, developmentally-informs our expec­tations, reactions, and attitudes about those students.

  6. Partnering with families-knowing them and valuing their contributions-is as important as knowing the children we teach.

Key Practices
  • Interactive Modeling-An explicit practice for teaching procedures and routines (such as those for entering and exiting the room) as well as academic and social skills (such as engaging with the text or giving and accepting feedback).

  • Teacher Language-The intentional use of language to enable students to engage in their learning and develop the academic, social, and emotional skills they need to be successful in and out of school.

  • Logical Consequences-A non-punitive response to misbehavior that allows teachers to set clear limits and students to fix and learn from their mistakes while maintaining their dignity.

  • Interactive Learning Structures-Purposeful activities that give students opportunities to engage with content in active (hands-on) and interactive (social) ways.

  • Morning Meeting-Everyone in the classroom gathers in a circle for twenty to thirty minutes at the beginning of each school day and proceeds through four sequential components: greeting, sharing, group activity, and morning message.

  • Establishing Rules-Teacher and students work together to name individual goals for the year and establish rules that will help everyone reach those goals.

  • Energizers-Short, playful, whole-group activities that are used as breaks in lessons.

Professional development in theResponsive Classroom approach strengthens educators’ ability to:

  • Design lessons that are active and interactive

  • Use effective teacher language to promote academic and social growth

  • Encourage engagement by giving students meaningful choices

  • Start each day in a way that sets a positive tone for learning

  • Set high expectations and teach students how to meet them

  • Establish routines that promote autonomy and independence

  • Build a sense of community and shared purpose

  • Teach students 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation

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1200 West 26th St.
Minneapolis 55405
Main Office
fax 612.668.2730
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