Over my 14+ years of teaching, I’ve noticed that more and more students come to school unable to self-regulate their feelings and emotions. My school has been implementing trauma-sensitive training to make our school a safe place for students – academically, physically, socially, and emotionally. A trauma-sensitive approach is beneficial for ALL students. Many children who have experienced trauma have difficulty managing their emotions and can react in an extreme way to a minor difficulty. These types of students are usually on the radar of a counselor or administrator but there are ways to help students learn about their emotions and teach them strategies to cope with them.
To help students understand and manage their emotions, I’ve set up a “Calm Down Station” in my classroom. I have a desk in a corner of the room. At the desk, I keep a stash of tactile toys that students can use to help alleviate stress, anger, or frustration. I keep a small box that contains things such as a bean bag, modeling clay, pattern blocks, and foam dice. I carefully select items that are soft and won’t create much noise. At the Calm Down Station, I also have a cup of colored pencils and an assortment of paper and coloring pages, a mirror, small toys, and a glitter wand.
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