Creating More Engaging Classroom Environments

Creating More Engaging Classroom Environments photo
Creating More Engaging Classroom Environments photo 2
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.”