Let me introduce you to the "not-so-angry" birds! (PS-I just wanted to share again that I am adapting this idea from another blogger/homeschool teacher. She came up with all of the great visuals. I am totally giving her the credit for putting this idea into my mind, but modified it to fit the needs of my students. Please check out her blog here.)
#1 The Bird's Nest
I explained to my students the importance of how safe the eggs or baby birds feel when they are at home in the bird's nest. They are protected my their mommy bird and their brother and sister birds. We talked about what place in the school that they felt most safe and comfortable in. All of the students agreed that that place was my classroom. They know they are allowed to come down for cool down times, to talk to me, or talk to our counselor or our SAM (we all share a room). We deemed my room "The Bird's Nest." I (am in the process of) making each of my group participants a card with the bird's nest on it. They will use this card to give to their homeroom teacher to use as a break card to come to my room. This card though does have its own set of procedures.
Procedures for Bird's Nest Card:
1. The card must be handed to your homeroom teacher when the student feels like he/she cannot handle the stressful situation. (We have done many lessons on what stressors affect each student).
2. The student will come straight to my room (the teacher has a copy of my schedule and will only allow the student to go at certain times or to come find me in the building if it is an emergency).
3. I will take the bird's nest card from the student and immediately call the homeroom teacher to let them know that I have the student. If the teacher does not get a call from me within the estimated time it takes to get to my room, then the teacher will call my room or the office.
4. Student will be allowed to go to specified cool down areas in my room. A timer will be set and the student will take a cool down time on their own. At the end of the designated time the student will conference with me or my assistant and will complete a "Thinking Sheet."
#2 The Balloon Bird
When a student begins to become stressed or angry they have been instructed to use the balloon breathing technique. The student inhales deeply, holds the breath, and then slowly lets out the air as if filling up a balloon. The student repeats this cycle until his/her body begins to get under control and goes back to a calm state.
#3 The Boomerang Bird
This is the STOP and THINK technique. In the game, Angry Birds, when you release this bird he flies out of the slingshot, then you click the mouse button, and he boomerangs back (knocking down bricks). I discussed with the students how they can do this same technique. Getting angry is like flying out of the slingshot, then we stop, and turn around and make a better choice. We also incorporated Stop and Talk. The students came up with this. They thought that when the bird/themselves STOP then they need someone to talk to about the issue. We rehearsed this technique with a couple of role play scenarios.
#4 The Mighty Eagle
Sometimes the Momma Bird just needs to swoop in and save the day. We discussed how mommies and grandmas and aunts or daddies and grandpas can't be at school everyday, but that there are people at school that care about each of them and want to help students deal with anger. We talked about different people in the school that could swoop down and help deal with the problem. We mainly talked about how I would be the person in most cases that would be there to help them deal with the issues at hand.
Over the weekend I will post the role plays that I have used with my students.
And just a little update:
My kids are responding to this so well. I am impressed with their ability to talk about, participate and try to use the strategies that I am giving them throughout this unit. Now, I must say that they are not the best about generalizing strategies across settings, but bless their hearts, I think they are at least soaking this in and with help they are (starting) to try to use what they have learned outside of my classroom walls.
It's a long journey with some kids with behavior disorders. In fact, just today I texted my husband during a moment of frustration and he said something so simple, but great and reassuring. "You are changing lives." I think we all need to be reminded of that somedays! Thanks, honey!!
Mostly likely you are a teacher if you are reading this, so just remember those simple words..."You are changing lives!!"