March 8 Update

Wow! I can’t believe it has been a month since I’ve provided an update on my project. Time flies! I am happy to report that I have had a busy and successful month of project work with my Grade 3/4 students. Over the past month we have:

  • continued our use of Microsoft Teams for daily check-ins with our feelings monsters
  • continued to learn about zones of regulation
  • discussed emotions related to anger, frustration, being upset
  • learned about stress
  • learned and practiced coping strategies for our toolboxes
  • administered three surveys – primary, middle years, parents
  • analyzed survey results and generated some ideas for the future to address needs

Let’s chat about all of this in a little more detail.

Our daily Teams check-ins continue to be extremely valuable. The kids are so into it and are so forthcoming with how they are feeling. It has really helped us touch base with students and identify who needs a little extra attention each day. The language and understanding the kids are using and showing is truly remarkable.

I mentioned in my last post that we learned about the Zones of Regulation.

Reflecting on the 'Zones of Regulation' - GREEN FISH LEARNING

Students have continued to use the language of the zones and can easily identify what zone they are in.

We have spent a lot of time talking about different levels of emotions. Emotions can be similar and related, but can also be at different levels, and therefore in different zones. A great example of this is the emotions related to being upset. We used a Ladder resource to get a visual understanding of this:

This visual helped students understand the different intensity of emotions. We put a focus on recognizing when we are experiencing emotions that are at the top of the ladder which lead to us being out of control and in a state where we are unable to learn and make good decisions.

In health, we did a unit on Stress – works nicely with my project doesn’t it?!?! Wink wink, nudge nudge! We learned what stress is, our stressors, how our bodies react to stress, and of course practiced some coping strategies. I have to share a story from today that demonstrates the learning of one of our students. He was having an off morning and was found hiding behind a door in the hallway. When asked why, he said he was walking down the hallway and heard footsteps and a voice behind him. In his words, “this caused my body to Fight or Flight and I flighted!” Great evidence of learning haha.

I am going to end this post with some of the strategies we have been practicing as we try to fill our personal toolboxes. The big goal of my project is to have students have a number of strategies they can use when they feel anxious, upset, stressed etc. Thus far we have tried:

  • a variety of breathing exercises – counting, box breathes, smelling the flower blowing out the candle, tracing your hand…
  • guided muscle relaxation – tensing muscles, exhaling as tension is released
  • coloring
  • making personal music playlists – check out this article for some interesting facts about music

We will continue learning and practicing more strategies as the weeks go on.

Okay, still with me??? I feel like this has been a lot. I am going to leave the survey details and results for an update next week. We plan to begin implementing some of our new ideas to address the student’s feedback next week. Please stay tuned for more to come…

7 thoughts on “March 8 Update

  1. Hi Chris, I loved reading your blog on emotional regulation and the connections are you making. It is so important to intentionally teach these strategies to the students. Common Sense Education has some lessons and supporting material for students in this area. I taught grade 3 for a while and am interested to see how you continue to make such important connections. How did your surveys go? What tool did you use to implement them? Take care! Kola

  2. Great post, Chris! I love the little story you shared – that must have been so cute coming from a little guy!
    I think you’re on to something really cool here. I always start each class (high school english) with an attendance question, and I usually gage how kids are feeling/acting by that question. It’s usually something silly like “What is your favourite breakfast good? or if you could meet a famous person, who would you want to meet?” What started out as a way to remember to do attendance (ha ha!), has turned into a pretty good way to see how kids are doing.

  3. I love that you are giving students the language to talk about their feelings and the strategies to help them deal with stress and anxiety – such important skills for little people that we don’t always take the time to focus on. Well done! I can’t wait for the next update!

  4. I love using the inside-out characters with zones of regulation. I wish whoever created the characters would have given joy a green dress though because then it would match up so nicely with the zone colours! I’m curious what grade you teach? I find that with my grade 6 students are past the point of learning about the zones of regulation and should be implementing them regularly. However I obviously still have to walk some students through some big emotions at times. Have you come across a more middle year’s friendly version of this? I find they often jump straight into mental health/stress/anxiety/depression once they reach middle years and highschool. I want students to recognize that they will have a spectrum of emotions and it doesn’t necessarily have to label them struggling with mental health right off the get go. Teaching coping mechanisms is usually where I start!

  5. The Zones of Regulation is such a great curriculum to teach. I truly believe that it is instrumental in helping children evaluate where they are at and language that can be used far beyond your classroom. I am interested in how you are using teams with your class? We only use it for teachers or when the division office has something to present.

  6. This is awesome Chris, I think even I could get away with using your graphics and charts at the high school level. Its essential to teach them to identify where they are at and provide them with tools to practice. This is something I do in one unit for grade 10’s, but it deserves to be revisited throughout the semester. I love that you are surveying and evaluating where to go from here…often times we are committed to the implementation phase and forget about the evaluation phase. What works, what doesn’t feedback for growth. And it all takes time, time, time and more time. Don’t all good things take time?

  7. I love love, love, how you are giving kiddos an opportunity to talk about feelings, frustrations, etc. This is something that is all too often overlooked as something that needs to be talked about at home, or privately. I think it’s so important that you are giving students not only the tools to discuss what they are thinking and/or feeling, but the terminology as well as an opportunity to engage in dialogue and constructive ways to work through issues. I am excited to continue to follow along on your journey!

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