Have you heard of Responsive Classroom or Tribes Learning Community?
These are ways of creating community in your classroom (or even at the school level). Both are primarily targeted towards elementary schools, but I think why not middle school?
So I have been working on making my own adjustments to make it work for me. I use the Tribes agreements (some people call them "rules") and now I am trying the Responsive Classroom model to start a lesson.
First, there is a morning message:
Next, students gather in a circle and greet one another by going around the circle and saying good morning or giving a high five or whatever you choose. Then students share whatever you prompted them about on the morning message. Finally there's an active activity related to the learning goal for that day.
This is where it's challenging for me. Right now we are working on expository writing. So on Monday I think I will give each student a different piece of a paragraph we made in class and ask them to put it all together - like a puzzle.
(Disclaimer: I teach special education and our paragraph is still a bit awkward so please understand it's a work in progress.)
And that's the FREEBIE for this week! You can get it HERE on Google Docs.
After the activity, students return to their seat to move on with the rest of the lesson. So, in essence, this is just an "starter" for the lesson but this is great way to meet Marzano's design question #5 with:
- Using Physical Movement
- Maintaining a Lively Pace
- Providing Unusual or Intriguing Information
- Providing Opportunities for Students to Talk about Themselves
There are other pieces to Responsive Classroom and Tribes - but that's a post for another day. :)