In my Bachelor of Education, I worked on an assignment where I had to create a “tool kit” that teachers could use in their classes for students with a exceptionalities (like ADHD), and could also be accessible to all students in the class (regardless of diagnoses).
I worked with a colleague to create a “busy box” to help students self regulate and stay on (or get back on) task when their bodies start to get busy. Who would have known that just a few months later, I would be working in a senior kindergarten class and needing this busy box to help students stay seated and focused during circle time or help students calm their bodies and return to the green zone after a challenging situation with a peer. Flash forward a couple of years and this busy box is still following me to every class and grade I teach. It has become a staple in my room.
I have already shared my busy box with the primary teachers at my school, but now it is time to share it with my PLN. It is important to recognize that while I can always ask for recommendations and suggestions from my PLN, it is a 2-way street and I should also contribute and give back!
In my busy box you will find…
– A variety of fidget tools (squishies, magnets, wooden cubes, etc). Some purchased from the dollar store and some from teacher stores. The important thing to remember is that students must know how to use these tools (not toys) appropriately. I remind my students that these items are tools and not everyone benefits from them. The same way I need glasses to see but not everyone in the class does also.
– Zones of Regulation chart to help students identify which zone they are in and which tool may help them get back in the green zone. I like this free download from TPT because my students relate to the Inside Out characters.
– Body Break Cards. These cards are the most used tool in my busy box. My school doesn’t have a body break room, so when a student needs a break, they can take the cards and do the activities/exercises in the hallway right outside the classroom (rather than roaming around the halls aimlessly). You can download the PDF of the body break cards that my colleague and I created for our busy box. I recommend printing on card stock and laminating.
Another neat item that I added to my classroom this year was the morning check-in. In the past, I
have made it a priority to check in on my students feelings and emotional regulation through out the day. So this year, I decided to make it part of our morning routine. The first thing my students do when they enter the classroom is “check-in” with a white board marker on our morning check-in board. I have added another copy of the Zones of Regulation above their morning check in to help as an anchor chart for the different zones. My morning check-in sheet is very simple and easy to make, but you can save yourself the time by downloading this PDF. I backed it on my favourite colour of card stock and laminated it (so students can use white board makers to check-in and I can erase at the end of each day to start fresh the next morning).
I hope you can use some of my tools to help build your own busy box or self-regulation areas in your classroom. Please leave a comment if you have any ideas of things I can add to my busy box or my classroom to help my students feel calm and ready to learn in our classroom! Like my school’s North Stars say… We Learn Better Together!