It is often difficult for a student to control their emotions when they are angry or upset. Over the years I have tried many different strategies and this is one easy way that I have found works brilliantly.
When a student is frustrated or on the verge of losing control, it is imperative to nip it in the bud before it escalates. I have found over the years that the use of these cards has really helped my students to self regulate and become more in control of their behaviour.
At first I was genuinely worried that the use of a card to go to the office / time out space / calm down room / buddy class would be taken advantage of, however every time I have used these cards the students are aware that this is a strategy that is being used to help them.
Obviously you don’t want to send your student off in to the yard without supervision, but instead to a supervised area. This could be the office, a buddy class or even the front office. Before introducing the card to the student, I will speak to the office team / leadership team / teacher colleague and discuss the situation with them, making others aware that I have a student who often simply needs a quiet space to breathe and take a few moments to clam down before returning to class. Every staff member I have ever asked to be that 5 minute time out person, has always been happy to help.
When introducing the card to the student, make it REALLY clear that this isn’t a punishment, but simply a chance for them to calm down and take some time to settle before returning to class. I quietly sit down one on one and read the card with them, pointing out the words ‘When I am ready, I will go back to my classroom. Thank you for helping me. ‘ Students need to be aware that we all care about them and want to help them to be the best they can be. That’s why it is important to thank the person helping us.
I also incorporate into my health lessons sessions about being angry and that its ok to be angry, but it is up to us how we choose how we deal with it.
After a few weeks of using the cards, I find that students are beginning to self regulate and use the cards to take a mini break before their behaviour escalates.
HINT: Laminate the cards for durability and record your class name on the back. That way if it gets left behind, it can find its way back to you!
Download your free copy of the I Need A Break Cards by clicking on the picture below.