My goal in opening Learning From the Inside Out is to provide my colleagues with some resources that I have found useful and effective in my time working in special education, specifically with students who have mental health or behaviour difficulties. Learning to self-regulate is difficult for the healthiest students; those difficulties are only compounded when a student has a learning disability, cognitive impairment, or some other kind of mental health issue. However, none of those things mean that they can't learn it. They just need more practice in those scenarios. The difficulty comes in providing meaningful practice - at home, the situations are all too real, and a misstep can land a student in trouble with his/her parents, and sometimes the same guidance through the decision-making process isn't there.
This series of lessons is intended to take place soon after students have identified various states and categories of emotional and behavioural need, and begun to discuss how a person's mood and actions can impact his/her own levels of need, as well as those of the people around him/her. Typically, I have completed this lesson at the junior high level, with special needs students in grades 7-9 over three to four days.
In my own classroom, I print all the handouts on 11x17 paper, the default size for this document. The tabloid size paper allows students more room for writing down their ideas, and the novelty of writing on large paper is sometimes enough to engage students who are otherwise less likely to participate. Additionally, the large papers and colourful backgrounds can be used for a bulletin board display once the project is complete.
Students take part in a short story analysis in which they watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory (I recommend “The Pancake Batter Anomaly”), and first retell the events using a plot diagram. Students then analyse the behaviour of the characters using a storyboard organizer and a series of writing/discussion prompts to reveal the emotional/behavioural state that each character is in at the key points of the episode. From there, students think about the triggers that caused a shift in their emotional needs, or strategies they used to regulate and manage their own emotions and behavioural responses. Finally, students apply what they learned in their observations and discussions to their own life to think about what their triggers are, and the effects that they have on the people around them as they navigate their own emotions and behavioural responses.
Included in the package are:
- step by step plans to follow through the entirety of the lesson sequence
- student handouts in colour and black & white
- "Expected Behaviour" and "Unexpected Behaviour" classroom posters
- exemplars of all student handouts for modeling responses
- BLAP classroom-tested ideas for a Big Bang Theory bulletin board as an extension assignment
- additional ideas for implementation and assessment
If you download, thank you very much! Please leave some feedback as to how the lesson went, or any suggestions you may have.
If you choose not to download, thanks for the visit, and please check out some of my other products!