The Angel Closet Project:
Middle school is a time of transition for many students,
whether that is socially, physically, or academically. One
of the most prominent changes is the physical change in
the body, particularly in female students. Clifford Pierce
Middle School sought to help female students adjust and
learn how to take care of themselves through supplying
underwear and materials for students who get their period
unexpectedly during the school day. Not only does this
project seek to give support to these students through the
educational handout and supply of feminine care items,
but it also helps students focus on their school day and
education knowing that their physical needs can be taken
care of by the school in the case of an emergency.
Self-Soothing Stress Ball Resource:
Clifford Pierce Middle School seeks to help students in a variety of
ways, though one of the most significant is helping students deal with
stress. A resource that has been found useful are stress balls, and so
the nurse, two social workers, and two guidance counselors at Clifford
Pierce are equipped with a stock of stress balls for students who might
be overwhelmed in the school environment. Many students at Pierce
are in foster care or have faced some sort of trauma in their lives, often
leaving them stressed and in need of something to help them cope. In
addition, ISTEP testing and academics can lead to students feeling
overwhelmed. The Self-Soothing Stress Ball Resource seeks to give
students a way to calm themselves down and enables them to go back
to class and attend to the academic aspect while having something they
can use to help calm their anxiety.
Calm Classroom Boxes
This school year, through the generosity of INSSWA, I was able to create sensory boxes for each of the 20 grade level classrooms at St Jude Catholic School. Included in each box, is something to appeal to 4 of the 5 senses (I had to leave taste out). Touch: various items with different textures such as, putty, string balls, squeeze ball, mini rubix cube, pipe cleaners, tension band, etc. Sound: Tissue paper which makes a soft crinkling noise. Sight: a colorful bubbler, a sand timer, a spinning top. Smell: a variety of scratch and sniff stickers. Many items could also be used as multi-sensory tools ie. coloring book, rail twirler, etc. Each box also included a key ring of different ways to take a deep breath and a key ring of ideas for relieving stress at home, school and outside.
The "tool" boxes are designed to be used by students when his/her feelings (nervous, sad, scared, mad) get too big to handle without an intervention. Each box contains a three minute timer. Students are to start the timer and then use the "tools" in the box to help alleviate negative feelings. If after three minutes he/she is still struggling, they can take three additional minutes or refer them-self to the "feelings teacher" aka Mrs. Tuttle 2. I plan to practice different deep breathing techniques with the classes, continue teaching and developing calming strategies and monitor the students who use the box frequently.
Finally, with extra supplies, I was able to give each specials teacher
3-4 items to keep in their classrooms. Thank you for your generosity
and support of keeping kids calm in the classroom!
At Clarence Farrington Elementary, IPS 61, we are striving to improve the cultural climate of our classrooms and our school as a whole. We have introduced character education, a social and emotional learning curriculum together with education on neuroanatomy, neuroplasticity and the impact of trauma on the stress response system for all students and teachers. We are also participating in the CPLI.
As part of our new brain aligned discipline system, we have opted to include an amygdala re-set room which will be known as the ‘Focus’ room. This room is designed to be a relaxing, co – regulation room comprising a comfy couch, an exercise bike, yoga mats, yoga balls and a variety of sensory activities to help calm the stress response system. The mini-grant from INSSWA, and the co-sponsorship of a community partner will enable the completion of this project. The room has been painted a relaxing pale green and we have a feelings wall and a sensation wall where students can select the word that best describes the sensation they are feeling. We know that the language of the pre-frontal cortex is words, the limbic system responds to feelings and the language of the brain stem is sensations.
The current plan is to limit access to the room to the behavior team, social workers and administrators to avoid mis-use. We will monitor usage and modify the plan in accordance with achieved outcomes. Our expectation is that any visits to the focus room will be limited in duration with a max of 15 minutes unless circumstances indicate otherwise. A timer will be provided upon entry. A regulated adult will always accompany a dysregulated child and actively participate to facilitate co-regulation. A referral form is being developed to enable teachers to identify students who may benefit from time in the focus room.
The Mindfulness Project
Dear Terry and INSSWA grant committee,
We would like to thank the Indiana School Social Work Association
for the grant that help funded "The Mindfulness Project." The grant
money from INSSWA helped purchase books for our mindfulness
room. Our Mindfulness room is open to all students and staff to use
as needed. This room has been very beneficial for calming students
that have anger issues, high anxiety, ADD, and ADHD. In time, we
believe that the mindful room will aid in helping our students to learn how to self regulate their own emotions and focus. It is our hope that our students and staff will use their mindful practice daily. Staff and student resources on yoga lessons, mindful breathing, guided meditation practice, guided mindfulness scripts, relaxation music, and art therapy are provided.. Miller students and staff receive a Mindful Minute lesson and practice every Monday over the intercom to help get their week started on a positive note, which helps guide their practice for the week. One of our resources is the The Mindup Curriculum which was purchased with a grant obtained from a Merrillville Education Grant Foundation. I have attached several pictures from the Mindfulness room.
We will continue to make adjustment to the mindfulness room in order to optimize our outcomes of less behavior referrals and more focused students.
We are very grateful to INSSWA for giving us the resources to help fund "The Mindful Project" at Edgar L. Miller School.
Thank you so much to INSSWA for funding some of the camping gear I now use in my Camp Care –A- Lot lunch groups. I purchased this group Curriculum last year and have found it to be well liked by students. The addition of lanterns, flashlights and camping stools has relaxed our setting and made it special. Camp Care-A-Lot can be used to address many different issues all in one group session by dividing into “cabins” (tables) of students with similar issues to be addressed. I have also used this curriculum as a general getting to know you and building social skills group. The groups begin with sharing feelings about the day or week with the indirect light of flashlights and lanterns. Students really open up when given the option to talk in the light of a flashlight ☺. After Flashlight Feelings and eating we do an activity. Some of the activities in the guide include: CABIN Bingo, Fishing for Feelings, Take a Hike, Worry, Managing Anger, and Reframing thinking. In the second year I have added some of my own activities and less of the scripted sessions. One thing that stays consistent are the lights and feel of our campsite.
Matters of Mindfulness
The INSSWA mini-grant allowed me to purchase 31 yoga mats to use in my room so that I could implement “Matters of Mindfulness.” Through this program, I have been able to provide Tier 1, 2, and 3 interventions within Peifer Elementary School. The objective of the program was to teach children techniques such as deep breathing and meditation so that they are able to calm themselves and relax, improving self-regulation while building their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Tier 1-kindergarten through 4th grade students have enjoyed
participating in monthly “Social and Emotional Learning” sessions.
Teachers are able to sign-up for a session time that works best
with their class schedule. They bring their students to my room
and pick them up at the designated end time, appreciating that
extra plan time in their busy schedules. During the sessions each
month, we talk about different social topics, and then practice a
mindfulness/calming strategy or technique.
The topics for the 2017-18 school year have been:
September-PBIS and school wide expectations
November-Feelings and Coping Strategies
January-Friendship Skills and Problem Solving/Conflict Resolution
February-Random Acts of Kindness and Taking Care of Ourselves
March-Disability Awareness (with a focus on inclusion)
April-Just Say “No” and Handling Peer Pressure
The information and activities are age appropriate for each grade level. I am fortunate to have a Smart Board in my room, being able to utilize various on-line resources to explore the social topics that we are discussing, as well as, lead children through deep breathing, meditation, and yoga exercises.
Tier 2-before school tutoring is offered throughout our corporation two days a week to students whom need additional support to be successful in school. Through teacher referrals, I invite students who need more practice and help in being able to focus, self-regulate, or build social skills to attend yoga during a 10 day tutoring session. There are usually 12-15 students who attend during a session. I utilize “Cosmic Kids” videos on You Tube. The lesson is lead by a yoga instructor in a story-telling manner where social skills are included along with the exercise movements.
Tier 3-students who have counseling services on their IEP have weekly appointments with me. We have utilized the yoga mats to work on deep breathing and meditation to improve self-regulation, relaxation, and calming strategies as needed. In addition, it has been nice to have the mats available for movement breaks and exercises when students who have severe ADHD have not been able to have outside recess and desperately need to get some energy out during the day.
I greatly appreciate the support of INSSWA. The program has definitely made a positive impact on many children. And it has helped me to grow personally and professionally by implementing mindfulness in my own life at home and at work.
Thank you INSSWA for the opportunity to bring the Kind Classrooms program to our school! Our students at Newby Elementary in Speedway, IN truly enjoyed and benefited from the message and educational value of the program.
The Kind Classrooms program is a school-wide convocation focused on bullying prevention and building empathy for others. All 205 students of our K-6 students were able to attend the program, which was presented by a former School Social Worker with professional experience and training on bullying prevention. Our students were able to participate in a highly interactive and engaging assembly where they were given the opportunity to practice conflict resolution strategies and reflect on the power of kindness and empathy towards other.
Teachers were provided with short, interactive, lessons that they were able to use in their classrooms to reinforce the message that was shared with our students during the Kind Classrooms assembly.
Without the support of INSSWA, it would not have been possible for us to bring the Kind Classrooms program to our school. I truly feel that these types of special experiences are what students remember later on as they progress through their education.If you would like to learn more about bringing the Kind Classrooms program to your school, please visit their website at: https://kindclass.com/