Coping Strategies – Breathing

Some kids  develop anxiety and worries that interfere with learning and life. I have found that teaching breathing activities is a simple coping strategy. It helps the student get calm and centered to address the problem . Lazy 8 Breathing and Six Sided Breathing are easy visuals for even young students to use when they are feeling worried.

This video is a very good model of before and after coping strategies are taught to kids dealing with challenging issues.

There are several Curricula and Programs specific to mindfulness that include breathing strategies as a part of their curriculum. I plan on taking a course offered by Mindful Schools called Mindfulness Fundamentals to better help my practice.

Mindup (Goldie Hawn’s Foundation)

MindUP™ teaches social and emotional learning skills that link cognitive neuroscience, positive psychology and mindful awareness training utilizing a brain centric approach.

Mindful Schools- Offer training and practices to help kids and adults live more satisfying lives.

Room to Breathe Documentary
Room to Breathe, is a documentary about how mindfulness transformed the lives of 7th grade children at a San Francisco middle school with the highest district suspensions.

Parent volunteers are a vital resource for schools

Being a school psychologist, I have the benefit of visiting a wide variety of schools in a given year. I have observed that campuses that have well developed parent and community volunteers often function at a higher level than those who don’t have the luxury of volunteers.


Opening the Classroom Door: Inviting Parents and Preparing to Work Together in Classrooms

UCLA Looks at Parent Volunteers

Volunteers can have a very powerful impact on the students and schools. What follows briefly highlights some research on the benefits and ways to use volunteers and ways for schools to move forward in implementing volunteer programs.

What Research Says

Henderson and Mapp (2002) report evidence that volunteers can be significant resources in helping create a supportive and welcoming environment at schools and facilitating students’ behavior and performance. As positive role models and student motivators, volunteers are viewed as contributing to better school attendance, improved grades and test scores, matriculation, less misbehavior, better social skills, staying in school, graduating, and going on to college.

The Many Roles for Volunteers in the Classroom and Throughout the School I. Welcoming and Social Support

A. In the Front Office

1. Greeting and welcoming

2. Providing information to those who come to the front desk

3. Escorting guests, new students/families to destinations on the campus

4. Orienting newcomers

B. Staffing a Welcoming Club

1. Connecting newly arrived parents with peer buddies

2. Helping develop orientation and other information resources for newcomers

3. Helping establish newcomer support groups

II. Working with Designated Students in the Classroom

A. Helping to orient new students

B. Engaging disinterested, distracted, and distracting students

C. Providing personal guidance and support for specific students in class to help them stay focused and engaged

III. Providing Additional Opportunities and Support in Class and on the Campus as a Whole – including helping develop and staff additional

A. Recreational activity

B. Enrichment activity

C. Tutoring

D. Mentoring

IV. Helping Enhance the Positive Climate Throughout the School – including Assisting with “Chores”

A. Assisting with Supervision in Class and Throughout the Campus

B. Contributing to Campus “Beautification”

C. Helping to Get Materials Ready


Class Dojo

We recently piloted a behavior management system in one of our Special Education Classroom called Class Dojo. Each child is assigned a little fuzzy avatar and the teacher can give positive and negative points based on how the student behaves in class. The teacher can email a link to each kids parent so they can see how their day was at school. It has proven to be a powerful tool and a great way to keep parents in the loop with behavior in the classroom.

Here is the feel good commercial: Warm Fuzzies

Here is a nuts and bolts of how to get started: Start up Tutorial

Apple App store Link: Apple Link

Google Play Store: Android

How childhood trauma effects your biology for a lifetime 

This is a new topic that I am becoming more aware of in my practice.  We all know that you can be changed after a traumatic experience. The following article and podcast describe what scientists now are learning about how that trauma impacts us on a near genetic level and those predispositions can be passed down to our children. This implies that if your parents went through a lot of trauma you could be predisposed to have less resilience towards certain adversities. Similarly, if you as a child are exposed to multiple traumas you can be more likely to struggle with certain mental and physical issues as an adult as a result of the trauma you experienced as a child.


By: Donna Jackson Nakazawa

The Last Best Cure

7 Ways Childhood Adversity Changes Your Brain


On Being: Rachel Yehuda — How Trauma and Resilience Cross Generation

https ://

Expected verses Unexpected Behaviors

Perspective taking is really important for our kiddos building capacity in the area of social skills. Categorizing Expected verses Unexpected can be crucial to developing a filter when making a good choice verses and not so good choices.


Expected -Simple Map
Unexpected – Simple Map
Expected vs Unexpected – Sophisticated

Expected vs Unexpected Activity



1st Link

2nd Link

3rd Link

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

“What is PBIS?
PBIS (positive behavior interventions and supports) is an architecture for addressing behavior through the prevention-oriented structuring of research-based interventions and supports in a hierarchical and progressive manner for the purpose of improved behavioral and academic outcomes. PBIS is an initialism most well known to those working in schools and similar settings and comes from the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In practice, this generally appears as 3 tiers of increasingly intensive and individualized behavior interventions and supports as well as a system of data collection and analysis.”  From:

PBIS World and PBIS the main site that explain the whole school behavioral systems that meet the wide variety of student needs.

Here are some topics (below) at PBIS World click a few and let me know what you think.

PENT and Diana Browning Wright

Recently, Diana Browning Wright came to present to our Special Education staff on a variety of subjects, but primarily on empirically based proven behavioral practices. She is a dynamic and knowledgable educator that has definitely forgotten more about child behavior than I will ever know.

Her website PENT website is a great. I particularly like Positive Environments and RtI it reviews how to set the student up for success in a variety of environments. I use these strategies with the students and teachers I work with at school.

Special Educators using Google Docs, Forms, and Spreadsheet

Special Educators using Google Docs, Forms, and Spreadsheets



Learning Skills Self-Assessment

This is a great tool to interview a student to get their perspective on their own learning. It covers the soft skills that make learning more efficient and productive. An added benefit is that it is a chance to find neutral and common ground between the student and teacher.

Learning Profile Questionnaire

Observed Behaviors