Learning to Care
“I love when we roll the ball to each other and say ‘Good Morning!’.”Schools often focus on academic content with little emphasis on belonging. When children feel part of the group they can achieve higher academic performance. Randolph Heights recognizes the impact of a proactive approach to teaching social skills and is on board with the Responsive Classroom’s research based “learning to care“ curriculum.
There are six components to the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching socialization:
1. Classroom Organization
2. Morning Meeting
3. Rules and Logical Consequences
4. Academic Choice
5. Guided Discovery
6. Assessment and Reporting
Randolph Heights has chosen to implement Morning Meeting schoolwide to get the ball rolling. “It’s a great way to start the day...everyone is on the same page.”
The Morning Meeting is:
- Group Activity
- News and Announcements
When the teacher announces the meeting, students gather in a designated area of the classroom where everyone can see and be seen. Greetings are done in a positive tone using everyone’s name, making friendly eye contact, and practicing welcoming gestures. To add interest, greetings will vary and may include a game-like format. Children look forward to the Morning Meeting and recognize the importance of being on time to school to take part in this community building ritual.
Sharing provides an opportunity for students to learn about others and make connections with them while they practice speaking to a peer audience about a comfortable topic, event, or object. This safe format sets the stage for future public speaking, respectful and active listening, and the abilty to formulate questions that enhance the topic.
The Group Activity builds classroom spirit and cooperation This engaging and fun activity often involves group problem solving, taking turns, and working together. Games, songs, and other activities encourage cooperation rather than competition. Students are not passive during this exciting time.
The written message of News and Announcements prepares students for the day’s activities incorporating Math, Reading, and Language Arts as a natural transition into the academic day.
Students participate and contribute to the Morning Meeting by being on time, getting ready quickly, and using etiquette including listening intently, acknowledging the speaker, and waiting politely. Students help develop expectations for the meetings and understand the consequences for deviating from the rules which may mean a new placement in the circle or time away until ready to rejoin the group with a fresh start.
Teachers and students school-wide are engaging in the Morning Meeting at the same time each day. Students have a bounce in their step as they join the group to learn about similarities and what makes each person unique. In this way they show that they care about others and feel like a valued part of the group. They can hear and be heard, see and be seen, and above all appreciate that learning can be fun while being appreciated for their contribution to the classroom and school community.