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AnnaCanTeach 08-01-2011 04:40 PM

fidget toy for time out/chill chair?
how do you all feel about having something for the children to fiddle with at the chill chair? I was thinking one of those bubble toys (the liquid that drips down) or a fidget toy. Should they be expected to calm down on their own or does it help?

evelynsaenz 08-01-2011 04:56 PM

Stressball for the Take a Break Chair?
I was wondering the same thing. I was thinking about a stress ball.

I just finished a week long class in Responsive Classroom and am so looking forward to implementing it this coming year.

kit1024 08-01-2011 05:27 PM

I was wondering this too! I have a couple fidget toys I'd like to have on hand just in case (like the bubble one and this thing called a tangle). I don't think all kids that go to time out would need them, but some of the times I can think of if someones getting angry. I have a little boy that I know of coming up that has had lots of anger issues in the past few grades - I'm thinking these might be good for him - just to help him calm down.

But I'm not sure if I should keep these things easily accessible for ALL kids? Would some of them that go to time out for other reasons (like whispering to a friend during morning meeting) really need them? Would I have goofing around issues that stem from me having these items close by?

rSquirrel 08-01-2011 06:41 PM

A lot of my kids who have behaviour issues also have sensory needs. One of my kids needs to leave the classroom often to go do weighted exercises...pulling a heavy wagon..carrying things..

What about something that works their muscles playdough?..they can squish it and kneed it and roll it...or maybe a weighted lap bag.

It should be modeled and explained to kids that this isn't a bad place to go or you're in trouble..its because you need to take a break so that you are ready to come back and join the group. Also modelling it yourself that you need to take breaks sometimes to is good. It shouldnt be looked as a play place to go. usually for me is someone is not following a rule at Morning Meeting..frequently...I would stop and maybe address it as a class. " We agreed as a class that it was important for everyone to listen to other friends during Morning Meeting. When you whisper to someone beside you while others are are not doing this. "

If it happened again with that child...I would move their spot in the circle or ask them to leave the circle..and maybe sit on the outside of the circle in a chair..still listening.

I dunno...I am no expert!

Mrs. R :) 08-02-2011 04:33 AM

Modeling Time Out
I think your idea to give them something to help them calm down is getting at the real heart of the time out chair: How do I teach my students to calm down while they are in Time Out?

Instead of adding something to the time out spot, try using a think aloud when you model it. The think aloud should highlight and model the job of the child and how best to calm down and get ready to do their best work in the classroom. Think aloud while in the chair about how you are feeling as you pretend to have been sent there by a "teacher". First you are angry, but then you take some breaths. As you model this, talk about your feelings and how you process them. When you have calmed yourslef, return to your spot and debrief.

Also, this DVD is excellent for the process of proactively and positively teaching Time Out to children. You should pick it up!

kit1024 08-02-2011 06:12 AM

Mrs. R - thanks for your suggestion about viewing the DVD! I contacted our AEA (professional library) and they have many of the RC DVDs available to borrow! I am going to pick some up this afternoon. This will be my first year trying RC and I have read many of the books, but am not able to attend any training at this time.

Mrs. R :) 08-02-2011 08:44 AM

Keep plugging away until you can attend a workshop.

You know all the great places to go; on the web and here!

Best of luck this school year!


MollyJ. 08-14-2011 03:03 AM

Our child & youth counsellor came up with a checklist for our calm-down space. It was laminated with a dry-erase marker so the students did each step and checked it off. It gave them a sense of accomplishment and a focus. For the students she worked with (which were the ones that usually needed to go there), they practiced the strategies with her, and with me, and as a school we were encouraged to help them use them on the yard. I'm just remembering this list, but it was something like this...

1. 5 deep breaths
2. 5 star hands (squeeze to fists, stretch to stars)
3. 5 deep breaths with shoulder shrugs
4. 5 squeezes (stress ball)
5. 5 deep breaths with head from side to side
6. curl and count to 5 (kneel on the floor, then bend over so belly is on legs and head is down)
7. sit tall for 5 last deep breaths
8. return to class (carpet, desk or activity) ready to learn

trasie 08-14-2011 04:49 AM

Would one of these
"mind jars" work?

Mudge 08-21-2011 03:49 AM

I have been given a ball on a frame
that has a handle. I have a student who has been rolling that thing all over the classroom. He uses it to listen, when at desk and in "Reset Spot". He bounces in the reset spot, but not when teacher is teaching.

Anyone else have success with one of these balls- how did you use?

Cheeseswamp 12-20-2012 10:37 PM

Not for my boys
I'm the youth counselor for a satellite school, and I firmly say no to toys or fidgets of any kind when on time out (or as we call it, on safety). I am a huge proponent of fidgets in general, and believe that developing a skilled fidget can be an incredible resource for coping with all kinds of difficult impulse and emotions, including restlessness or boredom in class. However, I place the boys on safety when those coping skills are failing to help them manage themselves or not being utilized. When they ask if they can have their fidget in time out, I say no and explain that being on safety means we are shifting from attempting coping skills (I.e. fidgets) to attempting self-soothing skills (e.g. Deep breathing, muscle relaxation exercises, or cognitive restricting). Of course, for the littles I usually phrase it simply as, "we're gonna try something else, because it didn't seem like that was too helpful for you just then".

The boys at our school are anywhere between 8 and 17, its all boys, and they are all working through traumatic experiences of one kind or it may not be the best route for everyone.

I also am very particular about what they may use as their fidgets (or as I've gotten the guys calling them, their "skills"). In my experience with stress balls or small toys, it is only a matter of time before they are thrown in an inappropriate manner. These objects can also be difficult to justify as appropriate to context as students mature, and may be abandoned. Pen tricks, doodling (ie. drawing while still maintaining eye contact with whomever is speaking), and rubber band tricks are the most common skills I allow in our classes. And, of course, the privilege to use this skill during classes is completely dependent on not distracting others with it.

In short, my reasoning has led me to have nothing but a chair and a small stuffed animal in out time out area. And the 17 year olds are just as likely to cuddle up with that little stuffed fish as are the 8 year olds when they self-soothe. Other useful items that I provide during time outs as needed: weighted blankets, white noise, ice cubes (for chewing or placing on their "hot spots"/ places where they feel tense), cinnamon sticks or toothpicks.

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