Two elementary schools in Minnesota are working to create a culture of caring through the Responsive Classroom method, which focuses on interactions among teachers and students, and students and their peers.

Students begin the day by greeting each other and their teachers, before starting the “morning meeting,” which includes activities designed to build community. “This is about changing the whole climate so that kids are emotionally stronger and they’re academically more successful because of that,” one principal, Sheila Beckner, said. 

But it’s not as simple as that. The morning greeting is only a small part of the elementary schools’ Responsive Classroom method, which is designed to improve the ways teachers interact with kids and the way the kids interact with each other, Beckner said.

The goal is to help create a culture where students care about each other, their school and their learning.

Burnside Elementary began using Responsive Classroom techniques four years ago and fully implemented the method three years ago. This is the first year Sunnyside has been using Responsive Classroom.

“This is about changing the whole climate so that kids are emotionally stronger and they’re academically more successful because of that,” Beckner said.

That initial greeting is worked into what is called the morning meeting, which also includes an activity to get kids moving around and interacting with each other, a share time to allow students to tell stories and react to other kids’ and a written morning message from the teacher explaining what will happen that day.

Read the full article at Pierce County Herald

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