Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Currently and Responsive Classroom Discipline

I am happy to be joining up with my second Currently.  Thanks to Farley for hosting!

Listening: I got the soundtrack to the Broadway musical Memphis for Christmas.  I saw the musical last Thanksgiving and was blown away by the talent of Adam Pascal and Montego Glover.  The show was definitely one of the best I've seen.  The music is so energizing!

Loving: I feel like God has been convicting me over and over again in certain areas, which is hard, but good.  I think now that I have finally begun to listen to Him, He is starting to show me the steps I need to take to overcome some things and to find peace.

Thinking: I went back to school today, which means everything is getting back into full swing including lesson planning!  I hope I can get motivated and be productive tonight.

Wanting: I am really hoping to have an awesome New Year.  I am starting to try some new things in my classroom for management, discipline, and academics, so I am super hopeful that they work out well.  Keep reading for some of my thoughts on Responsive Classroom Discipline.

Needing: For more details see Meet Romelyn

OLW: Rest.  Something all teachers need to get.  I am hoping to start going to bed earlier, so I can get over mono and just maintain good health and a good attitude the rest of the school year.

As part of my "Wanting," I really want to have a great new year.  This year has been an eventful and challenging one so far.  Our school has had tons of days off, got a new (awesome) principal, went through Hurricane Sandy etc.  Plus, I have been sick for a month and a half and have a very challenging (but still lovable) class.  I know that 2013 will not be perfect, but I am hoping to try some new things and to get some help and support, so that I can meet the needs of all of my firsties and become a better teacher through it all.

One thing I am beginning to investigate is Responsive Classroom.  Before break, one of my colleagues loaned me her RC workshop book to read.  I was open to the ideas, but afraid that they would be too hard to implement.  As I started reading, I was encouraged to discover that I have already been using some of the language and techniques without even knowing it!  Still, I found the section on discipline very enlightening.

Here are some quotes and ideas that made me think and motivated me to try some new things:
  • Teacher Language: 
    • "Too many 'teacher words' overwhelm--children stop listening.  Too many 'teacher directives' take away children's autonomy; children feel the teacher doesn't respect them."
    • "The content of a teacher's words can be harmless, but the tone can send another message.  For example, sarcasm ('Excuse me!' or 'Hel-LOW-o') confuses or humiliates children."
    • "Encouraging and empowering language" should "give children the opportunities to follow through with appropriate behavior" and "turns expectations into actions."
I honestly never thought I would be guilty of saying "excuse me" after hating how often teachers in my student teaching school said it.  However, I have been catching myself saying it lately and not liking myself for it.  I am making a conscious effort to stop saying it.  Plus, I have begun to realize that I do say too much to my students.  I need to let them become more independent by stating directions clearly and directly and then expecting them to follow.

I also need to not get stern or assign consequences without giving my students a chance to change their behavior and to demonstrate self-control.  
  • Encouragement vs. Praise:
    • "Praise focuses on the produce and sets up a goal or perfection."
    • "Praise compares children to others and forces them to see their own worth in relation to the work of others."
    • "Dependence on praise can lead to avoidance of difficult work or fear of taking risks."
    • "Encouragement gives children specific information about how their efforts result in positive consequences."
As someone who is trying to work on not being a perfectionist and to not compare myself to others constantly, I realize that I am too dependent on praise.  I do not want to cripple my children in this way.  While praise is not all bad, I am making an effort to give more encouragement than praise.

Those are my thoughts for now.  I am just starting to read about "logical consequences," so I will probably be posting more as I adapt my procedures.  

Does anyone else practice Responsive Classroom techniques?  Are the workshops beneficial?

I would love some tips and ideas.  Please comment!

Citation (cause I'm OCD about MLA :-) )

Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc.. Responsive Classroom Introductory Workshop. Turner Falls, Massachusetts: Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc., 2003. Print.


  1. Hi Becky! I am visiting my Farley's currently blog hop. I think "rest" is a great pick for your one little word. Children pick up so much about how we're feeling and they will know when we are not at our best. By resting and being in our most positive state it will not only benefit us but our students as well. Best wishes with all the wonderful work you are doing :)

    Miss L
    Miss L’s Whole Brain Teaching

    1. You are so right! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. I am also OCD...but not responsible enough to post MLA! That made me laugh. :) I love your notes on teacher language and encouragement. It is definitely hard not to "over talk" to them...because we're just trying to make sure they understand!!! I don't know much about Responsive Classroom but I do use logical consequences and love them. The kids are much more responsive and I've never had a parent question why their child did/missed something because it made sense.

    I'm also hosting a linky party and I'd love for you to check it out. It's a little different than the standard link up...but totally worth it. ;)
    Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten

    1. Glad I made you laugh :-) I guess I still have the college mentality of "site everything!!"

      It's great to hear that logical consequences work so well. I have some things in place that are working, but I need to adapt things. Thanks so much for commenting.

  3. Hey! I found your blog through Currently and I am your newest follower! I think that rest is a great word and something teachers don't see often! Good luck in 2013 with that :)!

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