How to RELAX. Coping Strategies for Frustration

29 August 2014
Self-regulation rules in elementary-land.  One of the key components to being a successful student is knowing how to RELAX when frustrated and making sound decisions.  This isn't just a special education initiative--this is every student (at just about every level too).  

We work really hard on teaching strategies so students can begin to understand their feelings and emotions...and then make positive choices.  This can be such a difficult skill for students (and teachers--ha!) to master.  These are strategies/skills are always worth reviewing.

Here's a set of posters giving five strategies/coping skills using my RELAX method.  
It's even green, for those of you that teach Zones of Regulation.


I've got them up in my room and now you can too.



This is how I want to relax.

How To Be a FRIEND

27 August 2014
More and more I've found myself working with students on social/emotional strategies across all settings.  One of the most important skills is learning how to be a good friend...and this can be a little tough sometimes. Being a good friend is such a crucial life skill that will carry them all of school and into the real-world.

But it's not always easy, which is why I wanted to create visuals for my students. It can be hard to remember how to act, how to respond to peer pressure, and always making the smartest decision.  When we do see kids using those strategies and being successful in their own friendships, it is pretty great.  

I've put together a set of classroom posters on HOW to be a FRIEND.  You can grab yourself a copy at my TPT store, and hopefully it can make a positive impact on you students (or school). The poster set is entirely FREE.

 The free poster set is here:  HOW TO BE A FRIEND

I've also completed a fuller version that is accompanied with worksheets, an interactive  journal/booklet, bookmarks, and class cards.  There includes two versions (primary and intermediate) of each printable version.  Personally, I use each letter as a min-lesson for students.  We give examples, model behaviors, and talk about times when it really matter to be a friend.




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If you're looking for more posters like this, I'd suggest checking out some of my other sets I have in my Social/Emotional section of my TPT Store. Many of these are free as well. Grab the RESPECT set and RELAX set.










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Classroom Safety With Paper Blinds And Magnetic Strips

16 August 2014

The absolute last thing a teacher wants to worry about is classroom safety related to lockdown drills, intruder alerts, and violence within the school.  But we do and we have to be AWARE of school surroundings at all times whether we're in or out of our own classroom.

My Bright Idea revolves around two Classroom Safety Measures you can take to speed up the process in case of a school emergency which include magnetic strips and paper blinds.
I'll also be the first to tell you that each school, district, county, and state have varying rules regarding these safety measures, so double check with your administration to make sure it's okay.
The Magnetic Strip
About a year ago our school began using magnetic strips on our doors. These magnets slide over the door's strike plate (where the door wouldn't normally shut) and allow us to quickly lock the doors when removed.  



The magnetic strips block the door from latching but also allows you to always keep your door locked all the time (without locking yourself out).  If a time comes when you need to lock the door just remove the magnet.  No keys are needed, just remove the strip and close your door.

This has worked very well at my school and worked out great during our lockdown drills and even a couple of other times.  It will take you a bit of time to become accustomed to opening your doors by pulling rather than turning the knob (since you always keep them locked, but after a while it becomes second nature.

Paper Blinds For Indoor Windows
During lockdown-type drills we're asked to move our students away from windows and out of line-of-sight.  Some classes can do that, others can't.  Many teachers have curtains by their door windows.  I'm not a curtain guy, so I invested five dollars to buy paper blinds.  



Normally I always want to be able to see out of my window since it faces a main hallway, but during emergencies outside of class and/or situations inside my room I just unclip the blinds for immediate privacy/security.  I love the speed of this too--it's done in literally a second.

Overall it took about 5 minutes from start to finish to put up the blinds.  You can even use a paper cutter to make them fit to size.  I picked mine up at Home Depot, but you can find them at just about any hardware store.


Thanks so much for stopping by to check out this Bright Idea.  There are almost 150 other wonderful ideas that you should continue to check out, so make sure you see all the links below.  School is just beginning so I can only imagine all the excellent ideas I'm going to find and try!


If you've enjoyed this post (even a little bit) feel free to follow me on FacebookTPT, or even here.  Here at Digital: Divide & Conquer you'll find a mix of everything educational from tech to SpEd to pop culture and 80's movie references.  It's a little of everything, kind of like me.




Shark Week Blog Hop! C'mon In, The Water is Fine (Grab a Freebie)

11 August 2014

Kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged.  They'll chomp at the bait bit when the information is cool and culturally relevant too. Today a team of bloggers come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love! This is Shark Week with a teaching twist. We also tried to secure a steel cage to visit some Great White Sharks but insurance wouldn't cover us.  


Welcome to the Shark Week Blog Hop.  
You're gonna need a bigger boat to carry home all these freebies.

Slide5

I love to get my students to answer questions about what they see.  Is it real? Is it fake?  Can I prove my answer and/or support it?  But I do this by showing them images of material they like.  I've used movies such as Pacific Rim and Jurassic Park or professional athletes like Lebron James to HOOK my kids.  I'll make them tell me exactly what they see and why.  It's a fun game because they have to DIVE DEEP to fully answer questions and prove their understanding.


An example are images I've used before using shark themes:

What is it?
Is this real or fake?
How do you know?
Does everything makes sense?
What prior knowledge do you have?

parasail shark escape photo kitesurf_shark_1280.jpg


Slide 10.png

As for my bucket of chum for you fisher(wo)men, I've put together some read aloud QR Codes on sharks!  I love to use these QR codes as part of a listening center and/or jump off point for kids to read (or have read) a book to them.  It's a great way to infuse technology into the class too.  Kids love them and it builds independence and responsibility too.  Enjoy this freebie!




Don't worry, this Blog Hop water is safe to swim in.  Wade through all the other blogs to see their tips and pick up freebies without the fear of being bitten.  Shark Week may come and go, but my fear of swimming in the seas will last forever.  Even if I know there is no chance of ever being bitten.  

Special thanks goes out to Jenny at Luckeyfrog's Lilypad for coming up with this fintastic idea!  Not many things beat Shark Week except for surviving an attack--and now I can include this blog hop.


And this is my daughter drawing a picture of me getting attacked by one--




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