For the past few years, more and more educators throughout the district
have been learning and implementing the discipline of Responsive
Classroom – a teaching approach that’s made up of specific practices to
create a joyful, safe, engaging classroom and school community. The
approach’s emphasis is placed on helping students, in addition to
developing academic skills, to build upon social and emotional skills in
a safe learning environment.
During the month of August, interested teachers at Bellerose Avenue took
part in a two-part professional development workshop focused on
implementing Responsive Classroom’s integral elements. During the
workshop, curriculum coordinator Dana Ward, classroom teacher Patti
DaCosta and speech and language specialist Judy Schneider covered the
basics of Responsive Classroom, including morning meeting, quiet time,
closing circle, energizers, interactive modeling and teacher language.
“All of these teachers are here by choice – they want to learn ways to
make learning more engaging for their students,” Mrs. Ward said. “They
are hungry for improved learning.”
Throughout the training, the teacher-presenters modeled much of the
behavior as they covered each practice. Each topic raised healthy
discussion and differing viewpoints amongst the educators, such as
specific instances in which to use reinforcing language – a specific
approach of highlighting students’ strengths in a helpful way.
“The feedback we received from our teachers was so helpful,” Mrs.
Schneider said. “They’d much rather a few focused, intensive
professional-development opportunities than a plethora of sporadic
subjects, and their responses to the offerings have been overwhelmingly
positive so far.”