We can reframe the way we view behavior to look through a lens that all behavior is a form of communication or a need for skill fluency practice (need for the behavior to be explicitly taught with precise language and practiced multiple times in multiple situations).
We also reframe our requests to students to specifically teach what we DO want students to be doing. We are teaching the correct behavior instead of giving attention to the incorrect behavior.
Using positive, precise language to help support the development and practice of social and emotional skills.
REFRAME to the POSITIVE and/or to the PRECISE
Use walking feet to stay safe.
Use a quiet voice to be ready.
Don’t touch the wall.
Keep your hands locked in front of you to stay safe. (behind you). (make sure students understand the vocabulary of in front and behind)
Walk on the line a shopping cart length behind your friend to stay safe.
Listen to me
Eyes are watching me, ears are listening to my voice, hands and feet are still to be ready.
Put away your coat.
Hang up your coat on the hook in your cubby to be responsible. (remember that “put away” at home might mean throwing the coat in the corner)
Stop playing with your mask.
The mask needs to stay on your face. We are being kind to ourselves and each other by wearing our mask. We will go outside soon for a break.
Don’t grab it from your friend.
Everyone has their own supplies. Please use the items in front of you or raise your hand if you can’t find yours.
Many children need explicit, direct teaching of skills. Below is a resource that may help.
Two Versions- click on the links to view them at TpT- then sign up for my blog and send me an email at email@example.com and let me know which version you would like to use. I will send it to you at no cost.
Teaching Your Child When to Take a Deep Breath (noticing signs in their bodies)
and How to Take Deep Breaths
We, most likely, all need some deep breaths right now.
Sit with your spine in a line, feet flat on the floor, inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth.
Repeat 3 times.
Why- there is scientific evidence that taking deep breaths truly slows down our stress response- it is like slowing but firmly stepping on the gas pedal. It also produces a feeling of calm, it is relaxing, we don’t need any equipment, it provides more oxygen to the brain which improves our thinking and we can take deep breaths anywhere!
Children need to be taught when they need to take deep breaths and how to take deep breaths. If a child is already escalated and upset, this is NOT the time to start teaching how to take deep breaths. It would be like someone telling us to slow down, stay calm and take deep breaths when we are out camping and running from a bear that just spotted us! If your child is upset, let them see you taking deep breaths- gift them your calm BEFORE you tell them to take deep breaths. After they see and respond to your calm, then you can gently encourage them to breathe like a bunny or smell the flower and blow out the candle.
Remember to gift your calm – when you exhibit calm behavior and slow, even, deep breathing, the child will start to mimic. An escalated adult cannot deescaluate a frustrated child.
Teach different ways to take deep breaths when the child is calm. Have fun! Make it into a game.
Choose one metaphor or way of taking deep breaths that your child can relate to, when your child is calm and in a good mood.
Show a visual of the method and hang it on the refrigerator, in the play area or in the child’s sleeping area.
Practice, Practice, Practice at all times of the day. Students need lots and lots of practice so that the techniques can be used automatically in times of stress. It takes LOTS of practice to become an expert.
Teach your child to recognize signs of stress, frustration, and anger such as face getting hot, clenched fists, heavy breathing, crying, sweating, scrunched eyebrows, pounding heart.
Teach your child the difference between short, quick, shallow breaths and long, deep, calming breaths. We want students to be using deep breathing since short breaths can actually make anxious feelings increase.
Model and role-play different situations practicing self-talk such as “I am upset that he took my toy. I can breathe like a bear 7 times.” “I am nervous about your mom working at the hospital today. I can take 7 bunny breaths.” “I’m frustrated that I don’t know what to make for dinner but I can take 7 deep breaths and that will help me think better.”
I have opened my packet of 11 different ways to teach deep breathing as a FREE DOWNLOAD. I hope the visuals and ideas for different methods of teaching deep breathing are helpful for both you and your child.
WOW! Teachers in the Union Public Schools in Tulsa, OK are incredible. I recently had the opportunity to visit some of their classrooms. They so graciously allowed me to take pictures to share with you the intentionality of their classroom design.
The environment in which children spend their day at school needs to support developmentally appropriate practices that allow children to freely move, to explore with hands-on opportunities, to engage in dramatic play experiences, to build social/emotional skills, and to develop their symbolic thinking and cognitive flexibility among others.
Learning theories from constructivism to social learning
to experiential learning underscore the importance of
active and inquiry-based learning, knowledge construction
through interaction with the environment, social contexts
and meaningful experiences.
-“Most Influential Theories of Learning,” Unesco Education
Intentional Design for hands-on exploration while encouraging symbolic thinking, problem solving, and cognitive flexibility.
Intentionally Designed Art Centers that encourage the process of art instead of the product, and free exploration of creative ideas instead of template art.
Intentional Design of the Classroom Aesthetics so that the students can live and breathe in a beautiful space. Use of natural colors as we use in our homes for a calming effect.
Intentional Design of Student Contributions, the classroom belongs to the students. It should be a reflection of the students instead of the teachers passions or “cutesy/pinteresty” type themes.
Intentional Design to Include Dramatic Play. Students require dramatic play experiences to build executive functioning skills.
TOP 10 Reasons Why to Greet Students at the Door Each and Every Morning
• Provides a smile and a reassurance that the teacher is glad the student came to school today, which sets the tone for a positive day
• Promotes a strong relationship between the teacher and student • Enhances a positive classroom climate
• Provides a moment of connection when you greet them by name- young children love to hear their name – let’s use them in positive statements
• Assists children with letting go of issues that may have occurred on the bus or at home- they are being welcomed to a new start to the day
• Promotes a sense of belonging and trust that school is a safe place
• Provides social and emotional support
• Demonstrates and models of how to greet others, how to use kind words, and how to be respectful
• Provides a proactive, preventive technique to reduce challenging behaviors
• Starts the day for the teacher with LOTS of smiles and positive interactions!
Greetings must be delivered with sincerity and genuine care for the students. If you rush through greetings, the students will not feel valued or respected which may lead to challenging behavior.
Use the student’s names
Provide options that include touching as well as include no touching to meet the needs of all students
To be intentional means to act purposefully with a goal in mind and to have a plan for accomplishing it.
Intentional teachers set up experiences where they present information, model skills, and guide the learning toward a specific developmental standard or learning target.
BELLY BREATHING art:(teaching how to take deep breaths during a small group art project)
Place a piece of paper in a tin cake pan.
Squirt some paint on the paper.
The student takes a deep breath in through their nose (pretending to smell a flower).
The students blows out through their mouth and the straw blowing around the paint.
Social Studies: Sounds Around Us/ RULES FOR LISTENING
After completing a lesson on how to sit at circle time- body calm by having a quiet voice, listening ears and eyes that are watching:
Take children on a listening walk
During the walk, cue children by saying, “Body Calm.”
Students stop and hug their bodies.
Point to your lips, the corner of your eye and cup your ears.
Students remain quiet to listen.
Call on a student to tell you what he/she hears.
Ask, “Is it a noise made by people? A machine? Or an animal?”
Moving to the music/beat during gross motor/ HOW OUR BODIES FEEL with DIFFERENT EMOTIONS:
Following a lesson on how our bodies feel when we are feeling:
Brainstorm ways our bodies would move to music that is sad (slow, 60bpm music such as Baroque), excited or worried (fast temp, lively), angry (hard beat) and ready to learn (classical, New Age or alphabet or number song)
Play the different types of music in the gross motor room and move to the beat.
Nurture a Community of Kindness
KINDNESS CLASS PROJECT
When children give each other a compliment or perform an act of kindness, they can tie a ribbon, bead, or other objects on a heart, a dream catcher, or a big piece of cross fencing.
KINDNESS CHECK-OUT TICKET
At the end of the day have each student write or draw on a sticky note a compliment to another student. You can have the students give any compliment or have them focus on the specific social skill being taught that week.
The students can also share the compliment of another student during an end-of-the-day class meeting.