The Supportive Classroom curriculum is designed to be implemented by an instructional support team which includes the classroom teacher and a special educator. A paraeducator assigned to the classroom may also be a member of the team. The instructional team will share responsibility for implementing and evaluating the curriculum.

Instruction on each of the core concepts of trust, sharing, belonging and respect lays the foundation for the entire supportive classroom model. Understanding the core concepts and their importance prepares students and the instructional support team to mutually establish student success plans, entry routines, class norms, and collaborative skill instruction. Initial instruction on the core concepts requires a 20-30 minute session once or twice a week for at least four weeks (one week on each of the four core concepts). Following the initial block of instruction, the concept should be revisited as situations present themselves throughout the week. For example, if the class is learning about belonging, and during literature block, students are reading a story that demonstrates belonging (or a lack of belonging) the teacher should ask the students to think about the concept of belonging and discuss how it relates to the story. As classroom situations emerge that relate to belonging the teacher can remind the class of the concept and help them to problem solve. If, for example, students are pairing up for a class activity or a game and one student is left without a partner, stop the class and point out the dilemma, “Class, we have a person without a partner. Is this an example of belonging?” “What are some ways we can fix this?” Allow the class to brainstorm a few ideas and select one that will result in everyone feeling that they belong and are an important part of the class.

There are many ways to teach students the concepts of trust, sharing, belonging and respect. Two methods teachers have used successfully are teaching through personal examples and integrating instruction into content areas. Both methods involve direct instruction on the concepts and work best if used together. The curriculum includes several examples describing how instructional teams taught the core concepts at different grade levels.