Thursday, February 23, 2012

Angry Birds Anger Management

When I received my Bachelor's Degree in LBD (Learning and Behavior Disorders) I didn't realize, nor was I prepared for, how much "B" I would actually be handling on a day to day basis.  Recently, I came across an amazing idea for anger management and aggression from a fellow blogger.  Check out her post here.

I took this creative mama's idea and adapted it for my own classroom (That's what spec. ed. teachers are good at, right?  Adaptations!!)  I am using this anger management unit with my social skills group that I meet with daily.  The students in this group are diagnosed with Developmental Delays, Mood Disorders, Autism, ADHD, and OCD.  These friends have difficulty displaying their emotions in the most effective ways and it is a challenge for them to deal with upsetting situations without having a meltdown.  I have tried various programs/ideas with these friends, but so far this is making the biggest impact (and we just started this week).  Without further ado...

My friends LOVE Angry Birds!  It is such a trend right now and they enjoy "doing what others are doing."  It gives them a commonality with their peers and allows them to engage in conversations with peers that they may not typically interact with.  The best thing about this is that they are learning behavior management techniques while learning some great socialization skills!! BONUS!!

This is Part 1 of the Angry Bird Anger Management Series.  I will go into more detail about how to deal with anger in Part 2 of the series.  I think first of all the students must have a good grasp on what it means and how it looks and feels to be angry.  We will continue to work on this and I will begin introducing the "strategy birds" in the next part of our unit...stay tuned for that! :)

Part 1:  Introduce them to the Angry Birds

Below you will find the descriptions for each bird.  (Again, you can check back to the original source to see how she uses this with her daughter, but from now on I will explain how I use this in my classroom).  I began this unit my prefacing that we all have different emotions and anger is one of those emotions.  It is okay to get angry, it is okay to be mad at others, but it is not okay to express those emotions in ways that could hurt themselves or others.
 This bird has, you guessed it, angry eyes.  I explained to my students that our emotions often show up on our faces before they show up anywhere else on our bodies.  We all know that we can tell when "that kid" is getting mad just by the look on their face!  You know the saying, "If looks could kill."  Well...there you have it!  We discussed how our faces can sometimes say it all without telling anyone our feelings.  For each bird or step I gave my students a way to deal with that emotion at that moment and how to deescalate the behavior before it moves on to the next step.  My tip for this bird/emotion is to SMILE!  You try it...furrow your eyebrows and then smile!  Impossible.  I had all of my students try it and we all burst into fits of laughter!  It was great!!  

If you are not familiar with the game, this bird can cut through wood. I explained to my students that sometimes our words can be like this bird.  He can cut through wood just like our hurtful words can cut through someone's feelings.  We discussed many different hurtful sayings.  The kids had a great grasp on this concept.  My tip for this bird was to say something nice about the person that you are want to say bad things to OR if for some reason you cannot think of something nice, then say the mean thing to yourself (NOT OUTLOUD) or speak to the teacher about why you are upset.

Kids like to throw things!  It's a fact of life.  I don't know why.  Power?  All of the built up tension has to go somewhere?  I don't really know.  I do know that it does and will happen if a kid escalates. This bird drops exploding eggs to blow up the towers.  I discussed with the kids about the dangers of throwing objects out of frustration and even if your intentions are not to hurt someone that it could still happen.  My tip for this situation was to use items from their break boxes, including stress balls, crumbling paper (not their work), squeezing something, etc.  This still allows the child to get the tension out of their body, but in a controlled way.

Just like a bomb bird, sometimes our emotions get the best of us and we explode.  Children with difficulties handling emotions can sometime "explode" at a moments notice (which is all the more reason to learn ways to deal with anger).  I taught my students that explosions are not an appropriate way to handle anger or disappointment.  In previous lessons I have taught my students what to do in situation when they were about to explode, such as leave the room with adult supervision, go to a cool down area, and other stress management strategies.

  • I made bookmarks for my kids of the 4 Angry Birds together so they can look at that card when they are feeling upset and identify that emotion.  The kid can then have a visual to show to me what they are feeling so I can help them identify their needs.
  • The kids in this group have behavior charts and also rewards and breaks built into their schedule.  The kids can choose to play Angry Birds on the computer for a reward.
  • Honestly, this has been the best anger management plan to date.  They have a buy-in, it's a popular theme, and it is fun to play the game.  I know it is making an impact, because they are telling their peers about it, and that is the best reward of all, to hear "my" kids teach others about what they are learning.

And just one more time...a shout out to for her creative idea!  Thanks for letting me borrow this great idea!!

Mrs. H  :)

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  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I LOVE this idea to use Angry Birds and teach students about dealing with anger. I have many student obsessed with Angry Birds right now :) Dawn

    1. Thanks Dawn! My kids are loving this Angry Birds unit. I have never seen them so excited to talk about emotions! It has been so motivating!

      Kim :)

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I have a son with Aspergers who I have been trying to teach anger management through. Nothing I said made sense until this. I also have an adhd son with a traumatic brain injury and 1 normal son (LOL! Is there such thing as normal?). They have been working together on this and have even created some of their own code words. I have a collection of angry bird stuffed animals. The other day my Aspergers child was having a rough day. He went and got the red bird angry eyes and gently sat it in his lap. Then walked away. Aspergers son sat there staring at the red bird and said oh... my face is telling my secrets. That was all he needed! He was able to let go and go play. YIPPEEE!!!!

    Thank you!
    Mrs Poland
    Think, Wonder, & Teach

    1. This warms my heart so much to read this! I am so happy that you have found something that will help. It is helping describe anger and different situations to my "school" kids too! They are responding well and are excited about our social skills group in the morning! Two of the kids in my group and diagnosed with Asperger's. I will be updating this week with more Angry Bird stuff!! Stay tuned!!
      I can not even tell you how happy it made me to read this!! Seriuosly!!!!

  3. Thanks for sharing this! The majority of my students are obsessed with Angry Birds, and I think this would work quite well.

    Ms. Green Apple

    1. My kids are too!! And even more so now!! :)

  4. Wow, this was a great idea! I posted on the original blogger's post, too, but just wanted to thank you for sharing at the cadre yesterday!
    -Claire (Boyle County)

  5. Thanks Claire! If you have any questions you can email me at my school email. I would be happy to help! :)


  6. This is absolutely BRILLIANT! I found myself frowning and trying to smile while I was reading about Angry Eyes. My husband asked me what was wrong, and I just burst out laughing. I can't wait to use this with some of my kids!!

    1. Thank you so much! My kids love trying to do Angry eyes and smiling! :) We all just usually crack up! Let me know how it goes for you.



Your comments make me smile! :)