As a Responsive Classroom school, we are teaching our students to look each other in the eye, acknowledge each other and their teachers, and take part in creating a productive learning community. Responsive Classroom is based on the idea of teaching the students about C.A.R.E.S. which is an acronym for Cooperation, Assertion, Respect, Empathy, Self-Control. Each of these qualities are key to being a productive member of society and to promoting conflict resolution. We believe that by using each of these everyday our students will be an integral part of a successful learning community.
Each day at St. Mary´s starts out with Father Chip, Mrs. Eisel, and the classroom teacher greeting each student as they walk into to school so they know they are a valued member of our community. Then each class starts the day with a morning meeting.
After morning work, prayer, and the Pledge of Allegiance, the students and teacher gather in a circle in the back of the classroom. There are four parts to morning meeting: greeting, sharing, group activity, and morning message. Our greeting helps all students feel welcome, shows them that they matter, and we are happy to have them in our class. In sharing, students tell each other something about themselves. This kind of sharing helps students to get to know each other better. The group activity can be academic or social. It involves movement and working together. The morning message is posted every day and allows for a transition into the next part of the day. The school day ends with a short Closing Circle. We meet back in the circle and discuss our day. Our crayon tips may dull with time, but St. Mary’s teaching skills remain sharp with effective strategies from Responsive Classroom.
- In the picture above students discuss their morning message with Mrs. Kim, 2nd grade teacher.