My Calm Down Corner

I’ve been creating behavior supports for my classroom and I particularly love the calm down resources that iv finally put together. The system works great especially for children that needs to calm themselves and rely on clear visual instruction to help process what they need to do.

So I started with a sign, a “Calm down” sign … before I even put together a selection of fidgets! A couple of cheap fidget toys that I knew my kids would love and the first part of my kit was done. Then I sorted out a corner of my room with a beanbag on the floor and a little book shelf for privacy, I kept it very plain and simple with just the calm down tools on hand… WOW it looks great, and my kids love it!

Next I wanted to gave my kids a chance to take a break before things got to tricky, so I made these colourful break cards and purchased a sand timer. I added Velcro to the break board and attached it to the side of the bookcase, a good place to put the break card, I thought, before they grab a timer and sitting down. I knew this skill would take a bit of practice but was surprised at how quickly I saw results… its well worth the effort.

In a crises a visual choice of nice, peaceful activities would help to distract for a moment until we could sort out what was wanted.

And my all time favourite support! (already established) that always seems to work and get the little learner back on track is the REWARD BOARD and MENU CARD!


Tips For Special Ed Teachers

The four functions of behavior are, Sensory, Escape, Attention and Tangible. Effective intervention involves identifying the function of a behavior and incorporating strategies to replace it.

Attention – if the student is pinching you to gain attention, then teach her to request attention appropriately with e.g. visuals such as “will you play with me” icon.

ESCAPE – if she’s hitting her head to avoid a task, teach her to request “help” or a “break” with a timer.

Tangible – crying while in a cue to get lunch, teach her to “wait”

Sensory – biting her hand, then teach her to request a “chewy toy”.

When planning these new skills always remember that the replacement behavior must serve the same function as the one displayed.

More Ideas

SENSORY SIMULATION – Offer opportunities for bouncing on a large ball or trampoline, spinning, squeezing sensory balls, chewy toys, sand play, water play, banging a drum.

ATTENTION SEEKING – Give non verbal students a voice with visuals to request time with a favourite person, play games or work together. Model with hand over hand instructions to tap your arm and get your attention in structured sessions.

AVOIDANCE – Teach students to request a “break”, “help”, Give a choice of what to work for with a Token Reward system. Motivate with a choice of reinforcers and keep them fresh and handy.

Plan fun activities, maybe short to start with. Tailor learning with individual interest in mind.

TANGIBLE – Redirect to requesting items using visuals or voice, Use “First and Then” strategy and schedules. Token Economy with a reinforcer of their choice should incorporate their favourite items and snacks.

For more tips and ideas follow me on my TPT Store

Improve the most Challenging Behavior

Being proactive is the key to avoiding a meltdown in your classroom, but you’ll need to know your students motivators, behaviors and triggers first!

Improving the most challenging behavior can be a challenge on its own ! Finding a strategy that suits individual needs can have you pulling your hair out.

Before I begin to implement any strategy I give each student a motivator assessment, keeping a note of the highest reinforcers to help them replace particular behaviors for positive ones.

When a behavior does arise, I remind the student of what went wrong with visuals which allows them a choice of what would have been a better approach in that situation. Using a “How did you feel? What did you do? What should you do next time? strategy, students are able to point and reflect what should have happened.

Once established, Positive Behavior must be managed with a consistent approach to maintain these new learnt skills.

A Simple token board in my opinion is the life saver in my classroom. I always accompany this strategy with a reward choice board, where I give my student a choice from his rewards….. (the ones he’d chosen in the motivator assessment) at the beginning of an activity. The number of tokens I use with these boards are 3, 5, 10, to use with different abilities and are given during tasks, then exchanged for the motivator.

I use Token System during all teaching and learning throughout the day!

For more information on behavior tools you can visit my TPT Store where you will find many more strategies, tips and tools!

How I manage Early Finishers!

Task cards for Early Finishers

My young learners love to see the little finished cards placed at the end of their table. I thought it might become a distraction, but they turned out to be a great motivator to finish work well! Finished cards are a visual instruction that gives a variety of choices for my students to choose from when they have finished their curriculum task. I’ve adapted some of my cards with detachable pictures, designed for individual preferences. I love how my classroom transfers effortlessly between tasks and still looks busy with no fuss!

These cards can be used in 2 ways

1. Use by placing on the bottom of a schedule for your student to have a choice of three activities when finished.

2. or place on desk for your kiddo to follow once they’ve finished their tasks.

Visuals for Communication in the Classroom

Setting up Visuals

I started jotting down what visuals my students needed to help with frustration and classwork until I realised what a big task!   So I decided to cut down my list to a manageable workload and think about what things they wanted and needed the most.    Here are the categories I thought would be good to start off with –

  1. Things in the class,  2.Tasks in class,  3. I’m feeling, 4. fidget toys,  what I need

 1. Classroom Things

I wanted some visuals to include basic everyday class things so they could point out what they needed or having trouble finding.

2. Tasks

I wanted visuals of the tasks available so my students could indicate a choice and find things they liked doing.

3. Feelings

These are important visuals to understand, practice and use to communicate how they are feeling.

4. Fidgets

A selection of fidget toys could also be used as motivators to regulate themselves, calm down emotions, which I’ve found very handy.

5. Me

Things for themselves, such as their bag, the toilet, a tissue, time to relax and reduce some of their frustration using these visuals to support stress and anxiety.