Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Zones of Regulation - Body Clues

In wellness classes students have learned the physiological cues our bodies give them to help them figure out what zone they are in. This in turn will help them increase their self awareness and, in turn, self regulate. Here are the body clues that we discussed. Keep in mind that this is a simplified list. There are other clues and they vary from person to person. 

Blue Zone: low energy, body aches, head aches, cranky and not thinking clearly.

Green Zone: able to focus on the present, body still, breathing normal, normal heart rate.

Yellow Zone: body feels warmer, rapid/shallow breaths, heart beating faster, fidgety/can't keep still, brain not focused, muscles tense/ache, wanting to flee/leave the situation, negative thoughts.

Red Zone: talking louder or faster (yelling), running off/away, hard to think clearly, hands into fists, teeth clenched, sweating, body shaking, out of control. 

For an intro to the Zones, check out my previous post: Zones of Regulation - Intro. Also check out: The Zones of Regulation. You can also reach me with questions by email: jstevenson@huusd.org

Zones of Regulation - Intro

In wellness classes this year the focus has been on the Zones of Regulation. The Zones is an approach used to teach self-regulation by categorizing all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete colored zones: blue, green yellow and red. 

The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.  

The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zone.  This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.  

The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions.  A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone. 

The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions, however one has more control when they are in the Yellow Zone.  A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.  

Students across the grades have learned how to identify what zone they are in by paying attention to their bodies,  the importance of matching their state of alertness to the situation and what tools they can use to manage their alertness. For example, rapid breathing may indicate that the person is in the yellow zone and could cool down by taking some deep breaths or counting to ten. For more information, check out: The Zones of Regulation. You can also reach me with questions by email: jstevenson@huusd.org


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Talking with Kids About Race and Racism

Considering recent events, I want to share some resources that could be helpful in talking with your kids about race and racism. Start off by informing yourself; check out Antiracist Reading Recs from Loyalty Bookstores. Loyalty is an independent bookstore committed to providing diverse reads for all ages. Other resources to explore:
Also check out the resources compiled by the librarian at Fayston Elementary, Sarah Adelman: Resources on Race/Racism/Discrimination.

There are a lot more resources out there. I wanted to give you a good starting point. I realize these conversations are difficult and likely uncomfortable, but they are so important. If you need help with addressing race and racism with your child, please reach out: jstevenson@huusd.org

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Hiking With Kids

The past two years I have offered a hiking club for Fayston and Moretown students. At Fayston, we had a guest join us from the Green Mountain Club (GMC). Lorne Currier, GMC Volunteer & Education Coordinator, taught us how to prepare for a hike, trail etiquette, and about the history of the GMC. He also helped us with our nature trail, making improvements and relocating a section of the trail. 

Today (5/27) at 4 PM the GMC is offering a workshop for families, Hiking With Children. The instructors are the parents of young children and have led a variety of outdoor education and hiking programs for all ages. They will guide you through planning a hike that will work for you and your kids, talk about what you should wear, and what you should pack for a day of fun and adventure. The event is free or by donation. 

Recordings of previous GMC workshops can be found here: Virtual Workshops & Event Recordings. For example, check out the workshop on outdoor adventures with babies, toddlers and preschoolers! Also check out their Facebook group, HikeVT w/ Kids.

In preparing for our hikes, I came across this resource from AllTrails.com: Best Kid Friendly Trails in Vermont. Happy trails!

Monday, May 18, 2020

International Museum Day (May 18)

Hello! I hope you had a great weekend! I will say mine was quite productive, completing several outdoor projects on my to-do list. If you did not know it already, today is International Museum Day! To celebrate, I thought I would share what museums have online, virtual tours. Here are a few of my favorites:
Google Arts & Culture has compiled a comprehensive list, which includes The J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA), the Galleria d'Arte Moderna (Rome, Italy), the Royal College of Music (London, United Kingdom) and many others. You can check it out here - International Museum Day 2020

This is just a sample of all of the museums offering virtual tours throughout the world. 

Safe (virtual) travels!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Boy Builds Huge Lego Titanic

As you know, I am a Lego fan and frequently use them with working with students, individually, in small groups and in the classroom. I have been meaning to share this video with some students for awhile and opted to post it to my blog (click image above to view). In this stop-motion video, a boy uses Lego bricks to build a model of the Titanic. Pretty cool, right!?! 

Inspired, I did a bit of googling and was able to learn a little about this builder and his work. Fifteen-year-old Icelandic Karl Brynjar is on the autism spectrum and developed a passion for learning about the Titanic at a young age. When he turned 10, he decided to combined his passion for the Titanic with his other love: Lego. Karl worked on the model over an 11-month span, with 700 hours of build time and using 56,000 Lego bricks.

Karl's accomplishment has gone viral online. He hosted a Ted Talk to explain how a boy with autism overcame obstacles to complete his dream project and he is writing a book, My Autistic X Factor. For more information about Karl, check out the links below. I hope this inspires your child to build some amazing Lego creations! 

Teaching Kids How to Control Their Anger

I came across this article, How Inuit Parents Teach Kids to Control Their Anger, from KQED awhile ago, saved it to my list of parenting resources, and I am just now getting around to reading it. I was impressed by Inuit families' approach to teaching anger management. Here are my takeaways:
  1. Teaching children how to control their anger begins with parents learning and practicing these skills. Parents serve as models; kids learn emotion regulation from us. "When we yell at a child - or even threaten with something like 'I'am starting to get angry,' we're training the child to yell. We're training them to yell when they get upset and that yelling solves problems."
  2. Use storytelling to teach discipline. We learn best through things that are interesting to us. And stories, by their nature, can have lots of things in them that are much more interesting in a way that bare statements don't. I frequently use picture books to teach important social skills, such as resolving interpersonal conflicts and managing strong emotions.
  3. Use drama to provide children with an opportunity to practice controlling their anger. It is important that this take place when they are not actually angry. By practicing having a different response or a different emotion, children have a better chance of managing their anger during hot-button moments. "That practice is essentially helping to rewire your brain to be able to make a different emotion [besides anger] much more easily." In wellness classes, I often have student role play scenarios where they are faced with a "trigger" - something that would make them angry, frustrated, etc. - and practice self control and problem solving strategies. 
For more information, check out the article linked above. And do not hesitate to reach out if I can be of help: jstevenson@huusd.org

Zones of Regulation - Body Clues

In wellness classes students have learned the physiological cues our bodies give them to help them figure out what zone they are in. This in...