Topics: Classroom Management, Instructional Strategies, Social Emotional Learning, Positive Behavior Supports, anxiety, Trauma Sensitive Learning, Mental Health Awareness, Student Engagement, Teaching with Equity
A few weeks ago, my kids (9 and 6) looked at us like we had lobsters coming out of our ears as we explained what “isolation” meant. They are largely compliant when we say that things are required, and especially so when we let them know it’s beyond our control. They still had questions.
“Ok, so what’s for dinner?”
“Can I have a playdate with my friend?”
“Can we buy a flamethrower?”
We weren’t THAT clear, I guess…or it’s just such an abstract concept that they can’t attach it to something they understand.Read More
When it comes to caring for children right now, there is some good news and some not so good news. A University of Michigan study found that parents are spending more time engaging with their children, but parents are also running low on patience as the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread throughout the United States. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are under stress and we all manage stress differently.
Below are 10 simple, healthy ways to manage stress during these uncertain times.Read More
SOS: Saving Our Students: Anxiety Series Part 3 of 3
“We’re in a moment where anxiety is running rampant,
spreading like an epidemic among adolescents.
The rise of anxiety is burdening schools and counselors,
scaring parents, and harming kids, creating dangerous pathways
to depression and substance abuse.”
~ Harvard Graduate School of Education
Jen saved me.
Ten years ago, as I made a break from a perilous marriage, anxiety became my constant companion. Navigating a labyrinth of self-doubt and confusion, my new life was now filled with seemingly endless consequential decisions about finances, career, and life. It felt as though I was spinning through the air and needed grounding. Jen, the instructor for a class called The Mixx, a perfect, a-hem, mix, of jumping, punching, and choreography became my tether. My time spent straining, sweating and listening to Jen’s words of encouragement improved my physical and mental health and kept my anxiety at bay. Turns out, what’s good for your body, is also good for your mind.
Saving our students.
Our students are suffering from anxiety at the highest rates ever recorded. (CDC, 2018).
Whether it’s separation anxiety, social anxiety, selective mutism, generalized anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, or situational anxiety, our students need our support.Read More
Anxiety Series: Part 2 of 3
We all have anxiety.
“I’m not ready to take the test!”
“I can’t give a speech!”
“I have a stomachache!”
Each of us can relate to feeling uneasy about getting on a plane, angst about going to a job interview, or queasy before giving a speech. The difference between “typical” or “healthy” anxiety and anxiety disorders is the disorders interfere with life and stop us from doing things we want, or need, to do. Instead of feeling uneasy, angst, or queasy, and doing it anyway, people with anxiety disorders find they cannot do the things they need to do in their lives.Read More
Anxiety Series: Part 1 of 3
Kids are cool.
Kids invent nicknames about things for which we adults are unaware. Later, typically by accident or because we ask, we find out what things like FOMO mean.
FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is the offspring of the anxiety kids experience when they are continuously connected to social media. Kids’ perpetual awareness and monitoring of what the cool, and not-so-cool, kids are doing has created this derivative of anxiety called FOMO. Since the invention of social media, anxiety has catapulted to the top of the mental illness heap. In fact, 7 out of 10 children report having anxiety. You can do the math, that’s 70%.Read More
Becoming Aware of Anxiety in the Classroom
Bear with me as I give you a very superficial and hypothetical quiz. Which of these kids have anxiety?
- An 18-year-old college student states, “I’m totally freaked out about my philosophy test tomorrow.”
- A somber looking 4th grader usually has his hands up in his sleeves and tends to stare at the floor.
- A chatty middle schooler is hanging out with her friends, but often leaves the group and runs away.
- A teacher asks in a class discussion, “what do you think, Aaron?” Aaron stares back and looks like he can’t breathe.
- A 3rd grader has trouble staying in her seat and is constantly kicking the chair in front of her.
All of them do, and each one is demonstrating a kind of symptom. And, it’s possible that none of them have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Confusing? Fair enough. The confusion and blurry lines around anxiety make it challenging to identify or diagnose.
A Practical Guide to a Calming Classroom
Anxiety in the classroom is increasing in both students and teachers. This creates an added layer of complexity for educators as we continue to tackle mental health and its impacts. To help you out, we’ve put together a practical guide to creating a calming classroom to decrease anxious feelings and increase wellbeing. Take a look at our Do This/Don’t Do This list on lighting, clutter, visual schedules, and safe spaces. Feel free to share with colleagues!Read More
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