Inclusivity and LGBTQ+ Allyship

Calling all LGBTQ+'s time to step up. What is happening? Firstly, there is the "Don't Say Gay" bill. Florida's House of Representatives passed a  bill   Thursday that would prohibit "classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity" in the state’s primary schools. The legislation — titled the Parental Rights in Education bill but dubbed by critics the " Don’t Say Gay " bill — heads to the state's Republican-held Senate, where it is expected to pass. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is running for re-election and is widely considered to be a potential 2024 presidential candidate, has previously   signaled his support   for the legislation and is expected to sign it into law. Thursday’s 69-47 vote comes after weeks of national outrage over the measure, which has grabbed the attention of international newspapers, Hollywood actors and the White House. *  And that's not all. In addition to the "Don't S

Let's Talk Calm Down Corners!

Calm down corners are an effective way to teach children how to self-regulate their emotions. If you don't already have one in your classroom, I highly recommend.

Regulating emotions is a learned skill and it is not easy. There are many adults who still struggle with this skill. This is why it is so important to start teaching it while kids are young.

What does it mean for children to be able to self regulate when they are experiencing negative emotions? It means for children to be able to think first rather than react when they are feeling an unwanted emotion. This allows the child time to process the emotion. Now, it is important to note that this can be extremely difficult and is a skill that is learned throughout childhood. This cannot be taught and perfected in a day, week, month, or even year. (Who else is singing the FRIENDS theme song in their head? 😂) But practice makes perfect.

So, how do we teach this?

First, it is important to ensure that the children can identify emotions and how they feel. There are many ways to do this. My favorite ways are through playing games and reading books. 

The following is a list of some of my favorite books that can be used to teach kids about emotions: 

A Little Spot of Emotion 8 Book Box Set by Diane Alber (Amazon $59.99)
The Boy With Big, Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee (Amazon $13.49)
Grumpy Monkey by Suzanna Lang (Amazon $7.08)
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek (Amazon $8.88)
The following is a list of some of my favorite games that can be used to teach kids about emotions:
Don't Go Bananas - A CBT Game for Kids to Work on Controlling Strong Emotions (Amazon $15.99)
Happy or Not Board Game (Amazon $29.99)
Next, once the kids have a good grasp on being able to identify their emotion, it will be easier for them to know how to regulate it. This is where the Calm Corner comes in handy. This is a safe space in the room where students can go, on their own, if they are feeling a negative emotion that is disturbing them or distracting them (or others) from the tasks at hand. Think sad, mad, anxious, etc. 
Once the students are in the Calm Corner, there should be a plethora of activities or self-regulating tools for them to choose from. Here are a few ideas:
- Breathing Activities
- Fidgets
- Sensory Toys
- Books about feelings and emotional regulation
- Coloring pages about feelings and crayons
- Weighted stuffed animals or blankets

These are meant to distract the child from the negative emotion in order for them to calm down and be able to think about the emotion and process it rather than reacting via temper tantrum, screaming, becoming violent, yelling, etc. 

Once the child has calmed down, they should be able to calmly and safely return to the lesson or activity they removed themselves from. Some children may have a difficult time understand when they are able to come back to join the class. In this case, when you have a free moment from teaching and students are talking or dinging something independently, use this time to join the student in the calm corner to talk them through their emotions. Try to get the child to identify what emotion they were feeling, what caused that emotion, how they felt inside, and what they can do to solve the problem and/or replace the negative emotion with a positive one. By doing this, we are modeling and facilitating being able to think internally about our feelings and how to deal with them in a healthy way. This will not only benefit the child in the long run but it will also benefit you and your students as it will cause less class disruptions.

Here are some of my favorite sensory toys, fidgets, and other items I keep in my calm corner if you are looking for ideas! 

Do you have a calm corner? What are some of your favorite item to have there? Share in the comments below!
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram: @busy.little.bees.teacher and TikTok: @busylittlebeesteacher!
Busy Little Bees Teacher

*Disclosure: Some of the links provided are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.


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