OCM BOCES-Responsive Classroom® Blog: Trauma in the Souls of our Classrooms: Deeper Learning – Part 2 of 3

Last month I started a 3 part series on childhood adversities. This blog series was inspired by an individual study that I did as part of my professional development for my Responsive Classroom Certification.

The main resource we used for the study was one that I would highly recommend, Paul Tough’s book Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why (2016). You can visit Tough’s website and either buy the book or download it for free! It would make for a great professional book talk book for whole faculties to share with one another. I made so many connections with Tough’s book with the work I have done with Ruby Payne and Eric Jenson and their work on Poverty. Tough starts his book answering the question why poor children struggle in school and what to do to best respond to children who live in stress. Continue reading

OCM BOCES-Responsive Classroom® Blog: Trauma in the Souls of our Classrooms – Part 1 of 3

As a certified trainer for the Responsive Classroom I have to take part in professional development each spring with the developers of the Responsive Classroom approach, the Center for Responsive Schools. This year we were given an academic choice (a Responsive Classroom practice) to delve deeper into either the topic of Equity or Childhood Adversity. I decided I was most interested in the topic of childhood adversity. Ironically, the Winter 2017 issue of neaToday was devoted to “Trauma: The Effects on Children and Learning.

Now upon completion of this professional development, I now feel all educators need to learn more about this topic because through my own research I discovered that the problem is bigger than we might think! According to an article called How Teachers Help Students Who’ve Survived Trauma (Lehey, 2014) from The Atlantic “One in every four students currently sitting in American classrooms have experienced a traumatic event.”  This statistic was startling to me and learned too this statistic is even higher in impoverished communities. Continue reading

OCM BOCES-Responsive Classroom® Blog: Using Video to Deepen Classroom Practice

Recently I was lucky enough to attend professional develop for my own personal growth. Jim Knight spent two days with us around his book Instructional Coaching. Research suggests that PD is more successful when followed by instructional coaching. How often do we as educators follow professional development with instructional coaching to foster and guide higher levels of application of practices learned during a professional development experience? In the Responsive Classroom courses, teachers learn instructional practices that support building positive learning communities that are effectively managed and developmentally responsive to foster engaging academics every day for every child.   At the end of the training educators are encouraged to goal set for classroom application of their learning. Jim Knight discussed the importance of giving teachers choice regarding what and how they learn and have opportunity to reflect on professional learning. A memorable quote from Jim Knight was, “Part of your job is to get better at your job.” Continue reading

OCM BOCES-Responsive Classroom® Blog: Great Ideas for December and the Holidays in the Classroom

Once Halloween hits, we sometimes start to feel like we lose our class until New Year!   But this time of year shouldn’t be stressful for our students or for classroom teachers. The Center for Responsive Schools has many ideas for making our classroom focused on learning right up to the long break in December. I have compiled some great articles that you can use to maintain the joyfulness and learning in your classroom during December.

Holiday Celebrations
Center for Responsive Schools -December 06, 2010 Continue reading

OCM-Responsive Classroom: Public Discipline Systems Need To Go!

In a Responsive Classroom, we believe that “discipline” should be associated with the positive (acts of learning) rather than the negative (punishing). We believe we need to set children in our classroom up for success by providing direct instruction and guided practice in pro-social and academic skills. We use many proactive strategies such as interactive modeling, role-play, morning meeting, positive teacher language, democratic rule creation, interactive learning structures, guided discoveries, academic choice, energizers, closing circles, and others.   These teaching practices develop positive learning communities that are developmentally responsive and effectively managed so that engaging academics can flourish.  Responsive Classroom teachers spend a majority of their time and energy in the proactive side of discipline. (Being proactive is one of the habits of highly effective people, according to author Steven Covey). When we respond to misbehavior and are reactive Continue reading

Use the summer to plan your first six weeks

I feel the best gift you can give yourself is to use some time over the summer to either plan on your own or get together with your grade level colleagues to plan out your first six weeks of school. This old favorite has been majorly revised to fit today’s busy classrooms. Beautiful and in full color! There are ideas K-2, 3-4, and 5-6 for the first day of school. Sample schedules to help your plan to make that first day a smooth transition into the school year. Then learn how to apply all you learned during your Responsive Classroom training to the first six weeks. This is the perfect resource to help your apply all you learned.

Watch children’s learning blossom all year long when you lay the groundwork with the help of this classic, comprehensive guidebook for K–6 teachers. Day by day and week by Continue reading

OCM BOCES-Responsive Classroom® Blog: “Surviving the Late-Spring Jitters” – A reprise

I have been a Responsive Classroom® trainer since 2003. Back when I first started training, participants received the “Responsive Classroom Guidelines” (©96,97 by Northeast Foundation for Children – 8th printing April 2001). Since that time, the Responsive Classroom training has been revised and training materials changed. The Northeast Foundation for Children has also changed their name to The Center for Responsive Schools since the time of when we used the “Responsive Classroom Guidelines”.

Each year, I find myself thinking about a memorable article that was included in the old training materials called “Surviving the Late-Spring Jitters”. This article is out of print and no longer available online anywhere that I can find. I feel there were many helpful tips that teachers may find useful, especially now, as they put closer to their school year.

In the late spring many teachers will report to me that they are seeing more children beginning to test behavioral limits almost like they did the first few weeks of school. Teachers may feel a sense of frustration but the article encourages teachers,

“don’t despair and, most importantly, don’t give up! This is a phenomenon that occurs every year, in every classroom to some degree, without fail. It’s called “end-of-the-year-anxiety” or “the late-spring jitters.” Continue reading