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    Although I am not formally trained in Responsive Classroom, I model my first six weeks of school after their recommendations. Lots of cooperative games and activities, lots of "getting to know you", lots of talk, lots of explicit instruction about things that we don't usually think to teach about (ie. how to use a crayon...yup, I do a 40-minute guided discovery on crayons with my second graders).

    I also teach routines explicitly. I spend A LOT of time teaching routines and procedures at the beginning of the year. Knowing what to do and when to do it helps children feel more confident. When they are more confident, they take more risks in their learning. Routines and procedures also build community, because they know that "this is how we do things in room 12".

    We write a class promise (our classroom rules) and we all sign it.

    This year I used The Daily Five plans to build stamina for independent work. I feel that this really built my students' confidence...they couldn't believe for how long they were able to read! I don't use The Daily Five in my classroom, but their suggestions for building independence are fantastic.

    I really recommend the Responsive Classroom books:

    The First Six Weeks of School
    Rules in School
    Morning Meeting Book
    Classroom Spaces that Work
    Teaching Children to Care (I haven't actually read this one, but I know that it is the foundation for RC)

    Next year I need to learn how to explicitly teach group work. I really feel that I failed here this year...I just couldn't get my kids to work cooperatively with more than one other person. As soon as they were working in groups of 4, I had to spend all my time running around and putting out fires. Anyone have any recommendations on books or websites for teaching children how to work collaboratively?

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