In this session, my social learning group talked about anger and how it affects our body. Leah Kuypers explains in her curriculum The Zones of Regulation (http://zonesofregulation.com/), if someone is very upset they are described as being in the Red Zone. When you are in the Red Zone, you might want to scream or yell. However, there are tools you can use to cool down and regulate your body to a more expected state. The Zones of Regulation® by Leah Kuypers, MA is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com.
Our lesson always begins with some breath practice and a message about mindfulness. Today we played the melting ice game. Each child was asked to sit in a quiet, comfortable space. They could close their eyes if they wished. I reminded them about strategies for calming your amygdala. Then I gave them a small chip of ice to hold and asked to them to simply notice the feelings in their mind and body and try to relax. They remained quiet and calm and took slow, deep breaths until the ice melted. This wonderful activity on mindfulness can be found in Susan Kaiser Greenland’s book, The Mindful Child.
After the ice melted, we talked a little bit about what we were thinking and feeling as we held the ice. Then we moved on to a lively discussion about our triggers or things that really make us mad.
We made a chart of all the possible physical reactions to anger.
Next, I gave them some sample situations and asked them to rate how upset they would be for each situation on a scale of 1-5 with a 5 as exploding with anger.
Finally, they went over to the Ice Bird and chose a cool down tool that they could use in that situation. The Ice Bird reminds us that although anger can be cold, anger can melt away if you use the right tools and warm your heart. We role-played some of the situations and cool down tools.
I found the Ice Bird Costume at one of my favorite stores, Five Below. I simply stretched the Ice Bird costume out over a wooden beanbag toss stand that I had in my classroom. The kiddos just love Angry Birds so this was a big hit. The tools were taped onto the costume so the students could pick one out that might be good to use in that situation.
- Place a hex nut into the mouth of an uninflated balloon and shake it down until it rests on the bottom of the balloon.
- Blow up the balloon and take great care so that you don’t suck the hex nut back out accidentally.
- Tie the balloon.
- Draw an angry face (Red Zone face) on the balloon with a Sharpie marker.
- Make the hex nut swirl around inside by moving the balloon in a swirling circular motion. This took a little practice and I would suggest watching Steve Spangler’s video on Youtube before you teach your kiddos how to do this so the balloon doesn’t pop.
- Listen to the balloon scream!
We were definitely in the Yellow Zone with all the excitement with the screaming balloons! However, we wanted to return our bodies to the Green Zone before the kiddos went home with their parents. So, we ended our lesson with a little cool down called “Pumpkin Breaths.” In this breathing exercise, each child placed a round “pumpkin” noodle slice on their belly. As they used their belly breathing, the pumpkin would rise on the inhale and lower on the exhale. This was a wonderful way to relax and calm their minds and bodies.
I hope you will enjoy using this lesson with your kiddos!
Group lesson was inspired by Social Thinking®, Superflex®, and The Incredible Flexible You™ curriculums by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and by The Zones of Regulation®, by Leah Kuypers, MA. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com.