Responsive Classroom

Claire Rixie and Kate Shea


Responsive Classroom: A research and evidence based approach to education that is associated with greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and improved school climate


Goal: Apply a safe, joyful, and challenging learning environment for the students using Responsive Classroom in grades K-12th focusing on Adolescent Young Adult Education


Responsive Classroom

Been recognized by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning as one of the most well-designed, evidence-based social and emotional learning program

Offers on-site consulting services to schools and districts, workshops and institutes for educators in locations around the country

The Beginning of Responsive Classroom

In 1981, four public school educators founded the not-for-profit Northeast Foundation for Children (NERC). Their vision was to bring together social and academic learning throughout the school day. They then created the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning.

Since 1995, over 65,000 teachers have been trained in the Responsive Classroom approach.

In the past five years, Responsive Classroom has worked in 41 states plus Canada and the District of Columbia.

Early Elementary Level

Currently, the Responsive Classroom approach is only at the elementary level because there is a growing body of research that indicates the critical importance of early education and its stronger connection to later academic success. Creating a safe, joyful, and challenging learning environment at the elementary level will help to prepare our students for lifelong learning and success.

Core Principle: Every child serves a warm and safe learning environment: a place that supports them to take risks, learn, and reach their full potential


  1. Engaging Academics

  2. Positive Community

  3. Effective Management

  4. Developmental Awareness


Is Responsive Classroom Working?

Researchers at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education conducted a three year controlled study of Responsive Classroom led by Dr. Sara Rimm-Kaufman. The study examined questions like, “Does the Responsive Classroom approach work?

If so, how and for whom?” The study followed 350 teachers and over 2,900 students from the spring of the students' second grade year to the spring of their fifth grade year.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, researchers found that teachers’ use of Responsive Classroom practices is associated with:

-Higher quality standards-based instruction

-Gains in both math and reading achievement

-Equally strong gains for all socioeconomic groups

-Greater gains for lower-achievement students

-Better organized, more emotionally supportive classroom

     The Numbers

Each year, more than 6,000 teachers attend in-depth, weeklong training in Responsive

Classroom practices

Each year it provides training to more than 10,000 teachers and administrators from over 40 states and Canada.

Several thousand of schools across the U.S. and Canada currently practice the Responsive Classroom approach.

Core Elements

  1. A Daily Morning Meeting:

  • Message we read together on board includes date and SLO for the week

  • Can be an activity

  • First Part of the day sets the tone for the entire day

  • Simple, but powerful idea creates communities

  • Collaborate emotion, social, learning skills to start the day fresh

  • Share, get to know each other, greet each other

  1. Classroom organization:

  • View class as our space instead of my space

  • Create classroom rules together

  1. A Proactive Approach to Discipline

-Students demonstrate self-control

-Clear expectation

-Disciplinary Actions were decreasing

-Students help create rules, hopes, and goals

-Students learn how to respect each other and work together

-Changes the school culture

-Address issues as they arrive

  1. Positive Environment creates higher achievement

-Students do their best when the classroom atmosphere meets their daily needs

-Not a separate curriculum but an approach to teaching

-Creates school Communities

-Students know they are cared for, students matter

  1. Positive Teacher Language

-Positive vision language

-Respectful and Non-manipulative language to let students know what they’re doing


-Language is consistent among all teachers

  1. Giving Students Choices in their Learning

-Students are more engaged in their education

-Take ownership in their work

-Students make their own choices and develop their own skills that they enjoy doing



Applying it to ECE

    • Morning meeting/ morning message

    • Interactive modeling- model expected behavior and rules

    • Positive teacher language- always use positive and reassuring tone, when students get in trouble we make sure to tell them how we still love and care about them even though they made a mistake

    • Classroom organization- sit at tables instead desks in order to promote collaboration. The center areas are secluded in order to promote productivity.

    • Working with families- weekly newsletter including work parents can do with students allowing them to see the skills we are working on in class

    • Collaborative Problem Solving- role play when solving conflict in the classroom. I take on the role of the student and show

Applying it to AYA

    • Morning Meetings: Social and Educational Based

      1. Can benefit upper grades as well

    • Classroom Management

      1. First Day of School Techniques

    • Classroom Environment

      1. Positive

      2. Every child feels safe

      3. Everyone has a say

      4. Help create their learning styles they want: Instruction Styles

      5. Work Environment

    • Positive Language

      1. As students get older, it’s critical they treat each other with respect

      2. Real World Practice

      3. Job Market

    • Developing who they are as people

      1. Plans after high school



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