Calm Down Centers: Creating a Safe Classroom Environment for Your Students
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Calm Down Centers: Creating a Safe Classroom Environment for Your Students

♪[theme music] Okay so we have a letter. What
do we call a letter in math? Joe?
A variable. Everyone say variable.
Variable [students reciting] Oh that was table E and D.
I didn’t have table A. Everyone say variable.
Variable [class in unison] Okay so we have a variable,
we have a plus sign… So a calm down center to me is a safe place
in the classroom, it can also be called a safe zone. And I started putting it into
my classroom over the past few years when I noticed that students have a hard time
dealing with their emotions in the actual classroom. So I felt like they needed a space
in the room where they can go and regulate their own emotions and
you know manage them. Students use the calm down center of a
average maybe once a day and sometimes kids it could once a week,
or even once a month. It depends on the student. Um some of our
students who have more emotional needs might use it once a day verses a student
who you know maybe just needs to check in every once a month. It’s important to make sure when you’re using
a calm down center to teach the procedure. Because you don’t want it to become
an interruption in the classroom. So they go in their basket, they pull
out a it’s called a brain break card. And when they pull it out they can sit it
on their desk and raise their hand and they let the teacher know, hey,
I need to go take a break. When I visually see that card on their desk,
I just signal to them to go ahead and go. And then they know the steps to go sign in,
set the timer, but that was all taught through a procedure which we spent a whole class
period just going over and having kids actually practice it. Okay, I want to see if we’ve mastered
how to go to the calm down center. So I’m going to call on someone and we’re
going to practice every part of the steps. Just to remind us, who can
tell me what’s our first step? Brianna? Take out your brain break card. Step 2.
Who can tell me step 2? Albert? Raise your hand. Okay. After I’ve given you permission,
what would be the next step? Tyler? Sign in. Next step? Turn on the timer. Okay. So you guys ready for this?
So I’m going to see. Albert. So Albert, I want you to model for us the
correct way for how we go to the calm down center and what we do
once we get there. Everyone should be
watching Albert. Giving him our attention. Go ahead. So after the students have set the timer
and they’re ready to engage in one of the activities back at the calm
down center, they can choose. We have kinetic sand, I have drawing
activities, I have breathing technique cards, like orbies, legos, different kinds
of century activities for them to do. And they all decided on these. We voted as
a class what are some things you want um back there to help calm you. I use the calm down center to help me to be a
little more proactive and notice students’ emotions and how they’re feeling before
it grows and then you get reacted. So for my students a lot of the time they’re
going through some home life issues so they bring that with them to school and
so in the morning I actually get a great deal of the students who actually
want to use the calm down center. And for me, I have to step back and make
sure I’m not taking it personal and be very proactive in a way I’m allowing them to go
to the calm down center and make a choice. I call it a better choice…and
regulate their emotions. I use the calm down center in a special
education classroom, but I think every general education teacher should have some area in
their room that resembles the calm down center. It doesn’t necessarily have to have all of the
items that I have in my calm down center, but maybe you could just have a desk
and maybe like a bean bag chair. Or something for them to use so that
they can go to regulate their emotions. Some of the problems that I have had over
time with the calm down center when I first started initiating it was having it run
smoothly. So it became a distraction at some points where I had it located in a
different area in the classroom. And I was like okay, I noticed a lot kids are
looking in that area, they’re not focused on me during instruction so that made me
realize, hey, I need to put it to the back of room where everyone’s back is to that person
and they’re not giving them eye contact. And then also just choosing some of the
item wisely. We try not to choose too loud of items, um so that it’s not
distracting the other kids. And just making sure we have options for
everyone because maybe a kid wants to go to the calm down center but they don’t like
play dough or they don’t like sand so what do I have out back
there for them. So it’s important to find um student
interest and needs when you’re building it. This is a slide run. So you’re going to
skip this one right now and you’re going pick up with this… I think it helps keep the kids within the
classroom so I don’t really have a lot of kids who are trying to escape the room. And
sometimes you’ll get those kids where, I need to go get some water, I need to go
the nurse, I need to go to the bathroom. And honestly, I’ve cut back on a lot of the
kids missing instruction due to this, and I’ve also have kept a lot of my kids’ focused
because if I’m not dealing with it and allowing them to control their emotions, then
they’re going to be at their desks causing a distraction. They’re also going to be
at their desk maybe just shutting down. And it’s going to become a bigger problem.
So having this and taking out those 5 to 10 minutes that I give them from
instruction, pays off in the long run. It’s literally taking away from them having
a melt down in the classroom and causing you know the behavior
management to fall apart. ♪[theme music]

About James Carlton

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