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Saturday, January 14, 2012

When anger flares up in students and the classroom



This year, I have been teaching social emotional skills on a weekly basis. My biggest challenge, though, is what to do with students that get fired up easily. Some of my students really seem to have a temper this year, and once they are fired up, it can be very difficult to dampen the flames.

I've found a very helpful book that is designed for parents, but has made a difference for some of my students. The book is called: What to do When your Temper Flares.

In the past, I have taught students to do things like deep breathes, but this doesn't always work out that well for some of the most easily angered. Since reading the book, I've been teaching my students a lot more effective techniques to cool down their tempers. Here is one of the techniques.

Cooling thoughts:

The book has all sorts of exercises for children, but one that I've taught my whole class is about hot and cool thoughts.
  • Instead of saying things like, "I hate this. I'm going to get back. ____ always does this. . ."
  • Writing down cooler thoughts, "I can get through this. Recess is in ___ minutes. I can write this down and tell the teacher."
I have some students who go to another classroom for reading. Unfortunately, they sometimes get worked up by other students and then come back flared up for the rest of the day. I now will talk with some of the students before they go to class.

  • "What sort of cool thoughts are you going to have if you start to feel angry?"
 The technique takes a few minutes, but has saved hours of learning time!

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