If you’ve been teaching for a long time, you know that classroom management can be challenging. While you want to encourage your students to think independently, it’s important to give them some structure. It can feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to cover everything you need to while maintaining control over your students’ behavior. Here are some easy cognitive behavioral self-regulation activities for elementary students to help you out.
You can ask students to write down their thoughts on a piece of paper, or you may choose to have them share out loud and develop listening skills. You can also give each student a small piece of paper and have them write down one thing that makes them sad.
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2. Daily Positives
Writing daily positives is fun to do at the beginning of the school day or after an awful day. These fun activities are a reminder that your students are human and have feelings. They need an outlet to express their emotions and learn how to cope with them positively.
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Journaling is a great way to help students vent their frustrations, express their emotions, and become more aware of how they are feeling. It also helps them learn how to cope with their emotions, especially if they have trouble expressing themselves.
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4. Balloon Popping
Students sit in a circle and take turns popping balloons with different emotions written on them. Taking turns and hearing out one another’s feelings helps students develop their listening skills. The activity also helps students learn about the different emotions and how they can express them.
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5. Popup Game
Make up a game or activity that involves recalling information from different sources. For example, if you’re studying for a test on ancient civilizations, make up a game where students have to recall details from classic books, documentaries, and interviews with historians.
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The goal of situational activities is to get students to think about the emotions and feelings associated with completing a particular task. Using this method, students will learn about themselves in relation to the task or situation at hand. Such self-regulation activities for elementary students can help kids see two sides of a situation and behave well in challenging situations.
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Divide students into groups and have them sort pictures of different emotions. Then, have them label the images with words describing how they feel when they see those expressions.
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8. Missing Letters
Give each student a letter. Students then have to find the missing letters in the words assigned to them. For example, if you give the student “b,” they must find it missing in other words on their list.
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9. Draw A Picture
Ask students to draw a picture of their emotions. If they can’t, have them draw stick figures or use pictures to express how they’re feeling. The easiest way to get your students to express their emotions is by asking them questions.
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Give each student a domino. Have them draw an emotion on the front and label it with how they feel when they see that expression. Then, have them turn over the dominoes so their classmates can guess which emotion each student drew. Similar activities include guessing games and hide-and-seek intermissions.
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11. Building Blocks
Give students a box of building blocks. Have them build an emotion, like anger or sadness, and then have their classmates guess which emotion they have built.
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12. Matching Game
Give students emotion cards, such as happy, sad, angry, and frustrated. Have them pair up with a classmate and take turns matching the cards to their emotions. Once they are done matching the cards, have students explain why they think their partner picked that emotion.
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13. Fill In The Blanks
Write a list of emotions on the board. Then, have students write down how they feel when someone expresses that emotion and share their answers with the class. It is a great activity to help kids learn what other people feel and how they feel in response.
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14. Crossword Puzzle
It’s best to do this activity in a classroom setting. Write a list of emotions to complete crossword puzzles by filling in blanks with words from the list. It’s a great activity to help students learn how to identify emotions, and it’s also fun!
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15. Calming Jars
Give students a glass jar, then have them write down a list of ways to calm themselves down when they feel stressed or upset. They can take deep breaths or listen to calming music.
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Have students set the timer on their phones to 25 minutes. Then ask them to work on a task they need to complete, such as homework or studying. After 25 minutes, have students take a five-minute break, and repeat. Pomodoro can help students improve their sense of time management.
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17. Build A Fort
Have students spread out blankets, sheets, and towels on the floor. Then, ask them to build a fort using these materials. This is a fun game that helps develop social skills.
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18. Sock Ball
To play the sock ball game, students will need two equal-sized socks. Have students take turns rolling a sock ball made of rolled-up paper between their feet on one side. Then ask them to do the same to the other side and test their sensory responses.
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19. Squeeze And Shake
Have students sit in a circle and pass around a ball. Have each one squeeze and shake the ball, and pass it to the next person until everyone has a chance to hold it. This is a great way to promote socialization and cooperation among students.
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20. Rainbow Breath
Have students sit in a circle and exhale through their mouths. Then, instruct them to breathe in through their noses and blow out again through their mouths- creating a rainbow shape and forming a unique breathing strategy. It is a fun way to promote calming breathing techniques and coordination.
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