My goal is to create a warm and welcoming classroom where each student feels loved and ready to learn. Therefore, social-emotional tools and activities are an essential in my classroom! Really Good Stuff® has the best items for creating a calming space and your SEL lessons. My students also enjoy all of the sensory items and tools to help them stay regulated.
Classroom Calming Space/Chill Zone
Every teacher at my school now has a designated calming space for their students to take a break when they are frustrated or upset. It can be called different things such as a safe place, calm-down area, calm corner, reset area, etc. My students love having a ‘chill zone’ in our classroom, and Really Good Stuff has all the perfect tools to create one for your students! The Reset Mini Poster Set reminds my students how to take a break (stop, reset, good to go?).
The first few weeks of school, I always give instruction on how and why we take breaks. I model this, and then we practice, practice, practice! The Bean Bags are a comfortable spot for students to relax (and I love how easy they are to clean). Really Good Stuff also has awesome calm-down tools to help students reset their bodies and brains. I keep a bin of several different tools in the chill zone that students can access. Remember, students love choices! It also helps to switch these out at times. I would also recommend taking the putty out if you are a K/1 teacher unless you are able to closely supervise students when they are on their break. This Reset Spot Kit has all your essentials to create your classroom chill zone!
These emotion discs/activity cards are perfect for your next SEL lesson and for sensory needs too! The activity cards and sensory gel beads would be great for morning meeting time, social groups, social-emotional learning games, and/or sensory bins. I love that the cards use real pictures and how they help children identify their feelings (mad/happy/silly/sad/worried/surprised). After you go through the photo activity cards with your students, add those emotion discs to your calm-down bin! I also find it super helpful when I do a ‘feeling check in’ with my students each morning. It helps the students identify how they feel, what they need and it builds relationships by letting the kids know that we care. Really Good Stuff also has great resources to teach about regulation, mindfulness, empathy, diversity, self-care, kindness, etc. I linked some of my favorites!
Sensory Fidgets Help Students Stay Regulated
Get students regulated and ready to learn with all the right tools! I’m a big believer that sensory awareness is a large part of social-emotional learning. My students especially love this pack of four sensory strips that they can keep on their desks, and I love how it allows students to stay on task (yet still get the sensory input they need).
(The Whatsit sofa in the back is definitely a class favorite as well. You can even use it for your calming area.)
Okay, how cute are these weighted stuffed animals? The weighted blue lizard and weighted plush bunny are also great to keep in your calm-down corner, to help students show whole body listening when they’re sitting, to use as a transition item, for home, etc. The sensory genius weighted lap pad helps students relax and promotes concentration as well. I love giving these weighted tools to my students because it helps them regulate their emotions and behaviors.
Read-Alouds for SEL
Read-alouds are one of the easiest ways to incorporate social-emotional learning activities into your classroom. This Learn to Get Along Book Set of 8 is the perfect resource to help students understand basic skills. The stories are engaging and include concepts such as: cool down and work through anger, listen and learn, share and take turns, be polite and kind, etc. I have this New ‘I Can Get Along With Others’ Book Set on my classroom wish list.
By Kelly Zabran
Compensation was provided for this blog post but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Kelly Zabran is a K-2 self-contained special education teacher for students who have autism and/or emotional/behavioral concerns. She received a bachelor’s degree in special education from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in reading. Her education experience includes one year at the high school level and nine years in K-2. Kelly enjoys creating teacher resources for TpT and sharing her classroom on Instagram (kellys_klassroom).