Responsive Classroom


What is Responsive Classroom?

Responsive Classroom is a school-wide initiative that stresses cooperation, community, caring, responsibility, and self-esteem. Responsive Classroom blends social learning with high academic standards. Houghton School "uses a positive approach to discipline that draws upon children's ability to demonstrate behavior in constructive, friendly ways as well as the teacher's ability to empower children to do so."

What is the goal of Responsive Classroom?

The goal of Responsive Classroom is to create a learning environment, in which children can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

When does the teaching of Responsive Classroom practices begin?

It all starts with the first six weeks of school when all classes focus on:

  • teacher and children creating classroom rules
  • teacher and children begin to create a classroom community
  • teacher guides children on classroom practices and routines

At the beginning of the year each classroom will explore and practice the social skills of cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control (CARES). Through age appropriate activities the children will learn what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like to practice each skill.

Within this same timeframe Houghton School focuses on its School Values:

Kindness, Respect, Honesty, Cooperation, Responsibility

Each of these is introduced as a Word of the Week during the first six weeks of school and all are posted in our classrooms.We are concentrating on the first two components of Responsive Classroom which are Morning Meetingand Rules & Logical Consequences. Morning Meeting is held daily in each classroom. It has four basic components:

1. Greeting: Children learn and use everyone's name through the practice of welcoming one another.

2. Sharing: This helps in filling the need for belonging, eases the transition from home to school, allows children to use oral language, and practice listening skills.

3. Group Activity: This aides the building of class cohesion and spirit, increases participation and encourages cooperation,

4. News & Announcements:The teacher writes a morning message on chart paper, an easel or white board that orients the children to their class day. This also provides children with opportunities to practice social/academic skills, oral and written expression, listening, and experiences to work cooperatively.

Rules & Logical Consequences:

Within in the first few days of school children share their hopes and dreams for learning. These can be posted in the classroom and reviewed periodically throughout the year. It is important to note that Classroom Rules are built upon the children's hopes and dreams. These rules are modeled, discussed, and practiced regularly. They may even be posted in the classroom.


As taken from our school's Mission Statement: ….. "our school offers a safe supportive environment where children care to learn and learn to care." This carries over to classroom rules that may include:

  • treat others the way you want to be treated
  • keep everyone safe and healthy
  • take care of our school
  • be a respectful learner

Logical Consequences:

If a child does not follow a rule they are given a consequence related to and relevant to his/her action. There are three kinds of logical consequences:

  1. You break it, you fix it.
  2. Loss of privilege
  3. Take a break or time out

Principles and practices of social development need to be modeled for children daily. Such topics are often introduced at Morning Meeting where role playing can be used. When expectations are clear and understood children are able to follow rules. As our children develop respect for themselves and one another our/their Houghton School becomes a place where children care to learn and learn to care.