I am the era of Assertive Discipline. That is all we learned. Our college professors pointed to success after success. Write your student’s name on the board. That’s a warning. Check their name. That needs a consequence-usually recess minutes. Then add checks-each with varying consequences from recess time all the way up to visit the principal. Sound familiar? We haven’t stepped very far away from this with those “lovely” behavior charts that people have created-and I made the mistake last year of trying again-that hang in our classroom. Even while using it, years ago, I knew there was “something” wrong. What about all those kids who were doing right, each and every day. Why was I ignoring their positive behavior? So, I tried something. I put up this great baseball diamond. Kids could move around the bases and hit a Home Run! Others could strike out, and go to the office. Sounds even more familiar, doesn’t it! But just like the “positive” points on today’s behavior charts, it didn’t work for me. I could see students needed more. And, at the time, so did my administration at my school site.
That was when we were introduced to “Logical Consequences”. This was a research project out of the University of Florida. We invited the program director to come and visit our school. She trained us in this idea, and, I must say, I REALLY liked it. It made sense. If a child forgot his homework, the consequences were he had to use playtime to make up the task. If he made a mess in the classroom, she had to stay back at a fun time to clean it up. If they caused a problem in the lunchroom, they cleaned the lunchroom. If they caused continual problems, they spent the time in the Timeout Room. Included in this was the fact that students could not return to the classroom when they caused a disruption in the room. This varied from an hour up to a number of days. It actually was great, and came with a variety of behavioral lessons, including on that you will see below-The Teacher’s Job and The Student’s Job clearly outlined.
When this fell apart, due to issues with the Timeout Room, I was still searching. That’s when it came, literally, to my teacher mail box-The Responsive Teacher Newsletter! Here is a sample of a VERY old newsletter-probably very similar to, or maybe even was, the one that entered my mailbox! It totally changed my ENTIRE outlook on how students should behave. To be honest, it is not for everyone. There are no charts, no prize box, and nothing but trust that is established through a variety of structured activities that are conducted by the teacher to build a classroom culture unlike other rooms! So, for a teacher’s budget, it is VERY cost effective! In fact, at this point, I only have two professional books that I have from them-The Morning Meeting Book and 99 Morning Meeting Activities.
So, take a little bit to think this over and I’ll be back with more information about The Responsive Classroom! I’ll share some of my successes, some of the lessons that I teach my children, and I’ll share what trust looks like in my classroom. The response is always amazing and it stretches beyond our classroom-into all areas of the school we visit!
Find Part 2 Here: Trust in the Responsive Classroom
Part 3 Here: The "Response" to Behavior Choices