"Since I worked with Steve at Roosevelt Elementary School, I have observed hundreds of teachers. I have rarely seen any who approach his level of skill in building student-centered learning and self-reflective learning for young people. No one comes close to Steve in creating self-directed learners! If you have a chance to learn from Steve as a child or an adult, you are indeed fortunate- he is a gifted teacher, a role-model for all of us."Steve Reifman has been an elementary school teacher for the past 17 years. After earning his Master’s degree in education and teaching credential at UCLA in 1994, he began his career teaching first grade for two years at Loyola Village Elementary (part of the Los Angeles Unified School District) in Westchester, CA.
- Amy Fowler, Educational Consultant
During this time Steve discovered the work of W. Edwards Deming and William Glasser and developed a passion for Quality Theory and its implications for teaching and learning in the classroom. He threw himself into the literature, took numerous courses, and created his own philosophical framework. In 1996 he began sharing his ideas with fellow educators through a UCLA Extension course entitled “The Eight Keys to Classroom Quality.” UCLA Extension still offers this course annually in an online format. In 2008 Corwin Press published Steve’s work under the title Eight Essentials for Empowered Teaching and Learning, K-8: Bringing out the Best in Your Students.
Steve’s eight principles comprise a comprehensive approach to organizing and managing classrooms at every level. His philosophical framework encourages educators to embrace quality as the number one priority in their classrooms and describes how to create a productive, enthusiastic team-oriented environment where students are likely to thrive. In his book Steve emphasizes the importance of clear goals, parent involvement, continuous improvement, and intrinsic motivation, and he explains how teachers can create the conditions where students work exceptionally hard, understand the purposes of their learning, experience joy, hold themselves to high personal standards, find meaning in their work, and develop the habits of mind and habits of character that will empower them to live fulfilling lives and contribute to society.
After moving to Roosevelt School in Santa Monica, CA in 1996, Steve continued to develop his teaching philosophy - learning, innovating, and adapting to meet the needs of his students and empower them to reach higher levels of academic success. Class and Personal Mission Statements, The Tower of Opportunity, Student Leaders, and the Quote of the Day are just some of the hallmarks of his approach that have enjoyed great success at Roosevelt and beyond. In addition, since his move to Roosevelt, Steve has earned National Board Certification and traveled to Japan as a Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar.
More recently, Steve has developed a passion for brain research and its implications for improving teaching and learning in the classroom. Again, Steve has thrown himself into the literature, presented four times at the annual Cal Poly Elementary Physical Education Workshop in San Luis Obispo, CA, and developed a workshop series for teachers in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. His new book project Rock Your Students’ World features over a hundred strategies and ideas Steve has gathered, adapted, and created over the past few years to help children become more successful and more enthusiastic learners. With a special emphasis on movement, music, and storytelling strategies, the ideas contained in Rock Your Students’ World promise to take student learning to a new level.
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Teaching Tip of the Week
Teaching Kids How to Get "Unstuck" While Writing (Teaching Tip #106)In this Teaching Tip I provide a link to a short YouTube video I created. The video features two effective strategies that help children become “unstuck” while they are writing. The first of these strategies is a familiar one, while the second is less well-known and a bit more novel. Try these ideas in class with your students or at home with your children.
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