Friday, September 26, 2014

Calm Zones in the Classroom

Calm Zones in Classrooms

Sometimes we all need to know there is a place that we can go and get centered again if we experience a break down in our day. At home, I go on the deck and wait for the neighbor's cat to visit. At school, I escape to the staff room or my car (if I've hit a really emotional time). Students have the same need. As part of our Compassionate Plan at school, each classroom creates a calm zone where students can spend some time trying on some calm down strategies so that they are ready to return to their learning space. The calm zone can be taught as a strategy to cope with anger, sadness, worry, frustration, and stress. Each classroom has a different set-up. It doesn't have to be worthy of 1000 likes on Pinterest. The idea is to have it be a place where students can temporarily go to recover. You don't want it to be so engaging in the calm zone that the student would like her seat permanently assigned there. If, however, a student needs the calm zone for a temporary extended period, at least she is in the class absorbing the lesson. Teachers can model the use of the calm zone and guide them on expectations. I've known some teachers to put time limits on calm zones effectively. I also seen it done without those constraints. We learn as we go. Some calm zones have a glitter jar. Many have suggested strategies to try. Some have suspended a hula hoop to the ceiling with an attached shower curtain to create privacy.  I've attached some examples from my school.
Mrs. Smith's Calm Zone
Miss Hanby's Calm Zone

Mrs. Bild's Calm Zone

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