08 September 2013

life is crazy... but a freebie!

To say I had little understanding of what I was getting myself into would be an understatement... Without going into too many details, I quickly realized:

a) that this year is going to be absolutely ridiculous
b) I can't fix everything at once, and
c) if I can keep my head above water 80% of the time in the elementary school setting with supports from my administrators as needed and booze at regularly scheduled intervals, I'll consider that mastery. #LOLspecialedteacherIEPjoke

I took a break from this little guy for the last few weeks just so I could make an attempt at getting the year started with some degree of effectiveness, but as I'm sitting down in my kitchen writing, I'm remembering how therapeutic it is. So maybe I'll be here more often. Maaaaaaaaaaybe.

Speaking of therapeutic... and the promised freebie... I have now have a TPT store with a grand total of 1 product. And it is free. You are welcome.

I use this 5 deep breaths thingamajig with a student who has some difficulty managing anger. It is a tool in his Cool Down Bucket. I am very aware that the Cool Down Bucket/Kit/Box/Whatever is NOT an original idea, nor is the 5 Deep Breaths Folder. I'm having trouble finding the original source (as opposed to one of the many pinterest pins/bloggers/research article writers who has referenced it) of this idea, but just so we're clear: I am not claiming this little bit of genius as my own. I'm only claiming that I couldn't find one for free on TPT, so I spent about 5 minutes to make yet another similar version of a 5 Deep Breaths visual on Microsoft Word and I thought other people might want to use it instead of spending their own 5 minutes on the computer.

Prep Instructions (they're complicated, so stay with me here):

  1. I cut the top rectangle part and glued it to the inside of an unmarked file folder (so it can travel with my student to other classes and not be too embarrassing- something he is concerned about). The whole thing was laminated.
  2. I cut out the five numbered red squares individually and laminated them. 
  3. Then, I added velcro to the back of the 5 numbered squares, the five red squares on the top rectangle part, and to five spots on the the bottom inside half of the file folder (to keep the numbered squares accessible and not lost!).
How the Magic Works:
  1. Each red numbered box represents one deep breath for the student to take. 
  2. With each complete deep breath, the student moves one of the red numbered squares from the bottom of the file folder to a red un-numbered square at the top.
  3. Repeat as necessary (or try a new method if this one seems like it isn't calming!)
Tips & Tricks
  1. TEACH THE STUDENT HOW TO USE THE TOOL. Don't just throw it in front of him or her and tell the student to use it when they're angry or frustrated. (I know this sounds dumb, but I wouldn't be saying it if I hadn't seen it done...)
  2. I'd recommend teaching pretty explicitly how the tool works and practicing taking the deep breaths and moving the red squares for the first time when the student is calm.
  3. Maybe make two copies... If you work with challenging kiddos, YOU might need a little tool like this for personal use. ;)
Enjoy, friends!