Frustration toolboxes are a visual tool that help students learn to regulate their own emotions and behaviours.
Of course, with enough practice, students will have enough tools to deal with more than just frustration, but that emotion is easy to identify and works as a relatable starting point.
On the front of the toolbox graphic is a place for students to write their name, as well as a space for them to make a list of 5 strategies that they can use to help them calm when they are upset or frustrated, de-escalate when they are agitated or angry, or refocus their energy when they are overly excited or active(or tired).
- “Creating Strategies for Self-Regulation” – detailed lesson plan outlining the creation of the frustration toolboxes, from when you first start discussion of self-regulation strategies to the moment you post them on the wall
- Colourful and original handouts for student brainstorming
- All-original clipart for the creation of the frustration toolboxes
- Real life examples of completed toolboxes
- ¼ page size Frustration Toolbox desk placards
- Copies of Frustration Toolbox clipart using “Self-Regulation Toolbox” for higher grades
- “Choosing the Right Tool for the Job” – detailed Role-Playing and Reflection lesson plan for practicing selection and performance of self-regulation strategies
- 24 unique role-playing scenarios to discuss and perform
- 5 designs of reflection exercises for students before, during, and after role play exercises
- 5 versions of “Weekly Toolbox Check” journal prompt pages to engage students in regular conversations about their strategies, and offer opportunities to update and adapt their toolbox
- Additional ideas for implementation
- Colour and black and white versions of all handouts
This package is meant to accompany instruction in behavioural self-management and is intended to aid in increased engagement in a special needs setting such as a Behaviour and Learning Assistance or similar program classroom. The graphics and act of physically making a frustration toolbox, then posting it in the room has proven, in my experience, to facilitate students' critical thinking about their emotional states and the behavioural responses attributed to them. The tools act as a visual aid to help them remember that they have options available when things are getting difficult, and being able to physically choose a tool to work with adds a tangible element to an otherwise very intangible and abstract social development task. The toolboxes aid in the development of independent self-regulation, and as an added bonus, they can work as an aid in communication between the student and classroom staff. Let's say for example that you notice a student has gone to the Chill Zone, or has left the room unexpectedly. Once students are familiar with the process of grabbing a tool from their toolbox as they work to calm or de-escalate, you would be able to check that student's toolbox, and perhaps see that his "Go for a walk to the office and back" measuring tape is gone.
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