Steps for Interactive Modeling
Steps to Follow
Might Sound/Look Like
1. Describe a positive behavior you
1. “When we carry our chairs in the classroom, we need to be safe.
Watch while I carry this chair.”
2. Model the behavior.
2. Carry the chair safely. You do not need to narrate as you model.
3. Ask students what they noticed.
3. “What were some ways I was carrying the chair safely?” (If necessary,
follow up with questions such as, “What were my hands doing?” and “What
were my eyes doing?” to prompt students to list the important elements: used both
hands, looked at the chair legs so they don’t poke somebody, and so on.)
4. Ask student volunteers to model
the same behavior.
4. “Who else would like to show us how to carry a chair safely?”
5. Ask students what they noticed.
5. “What were some ways that Tom carried the chair safely?”
The children name specific safe behaviors that Tom demonstrated.
6. Have the class practice.
6. “Now we’re going to practice carrying our chairs safely from the circle to our seats.
I’ll be watching you do all the things we just practiced.”
7. Provide feedback.
7. “We were carrying chairs safely! I saw chair legs pointing down, and all of you were
using two hands and looking around you as you walked!”
Note: Interactive modeling is one of 10 classroom practices developed by Responsive Classroom ( www.responsiveclassroom.org).
Source: From What Every 4th Grade Teacher Needs to Know (p. 37), by Mike Anderson, 2010, Turners Falls, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children. Copyright © 2010
by Northeast Foundation for Children. Reprinted with permission.
don’t have lunch duty, you can still
go? If you won the lottery, what would An Amazing Year
teach students how to navigate the caf-
you do with the money? Posting conver- These ideas just scratch the surface of
eteria at the beginning of the year. Take sation starters like these on lunch tables setting 4th graders up for success.
your class down a bit early for lunch
can give students something to talk
Fourth grade can be an amazing year of
and make sure each student knows
about. You can also brainstorm conver-
learning in which students gain greater
how to pay for lunch, how to carry a
sation topics in class and have students command of an increasingly complex
tray carefully, and how to find his or
bring the list to the lunchroom.
and mature set of social and academic
her seat. In the classroom, during snack
Teach recess. That’s right—teach
skills—if teachers take the time to get to
time, you can model and practice how
recess. Consider the skills that students know their 4th grade students, under-
to clean up tables and how to wrap up
need to use on the playground: how to
stand their common characteristics, and
uneaten food for later.
join a game that’s already in progress,
plan and teach accordingly. EL
Assign seats. At the beginning of the
how to ask a friend to play, where the
year, assign seats for lunch to eliminate boundaries of the playground are, how
the jockeying that often creates hurt
to use equipment appropriately, how
Mike Anderson is a professional devel-
feelings and leads to lunches spilled on to solve a dispute, what to do if you see opment specialist and Responsive
the floor as kids dive for the seats they
want. Later in the year, students can
have more choice—once they’re ready
Promote conversation. What super
teasing, and so on. When we take the
time to teach and practice these skills
and then make sure we’re present (not
chatting with colleagues, but really
supervising) on the playground, 4th
Classroom consulting teacher for
Northeast Foundation for Children
(NEFC), Turners Falls, Massachusetts;
He is the author of What Every 4th
power would you choose if you could
graders will be better able to handle the Grade Teacher Needs to Know (NEFC,
have any one? If you could go anywhere increasing social challenges they face as 2010) and The Well-Balanced Teacher
in the world for a day, where would you they get older.