Saturday, December 5, 2015

School Anxiety...AGAIN!

I have been so surprised with the number of student referrals on school anxiety.....still!  For me, this has been the biggest issue at my school this year, by far!

As my number of students started to increase by the day, I decided to make an activity where my students could take an active role in reducing their worries.  School anxiety has a way of making kids feel powerless.  It's sooo important for them to realize they aren't powerless and that they DO have the power within them to overcome this issue.

When I was in college, I had a professor who talked about anxiety reducing methods.  He stated that our bodies give us clues when we are worried.  By recognizing these clues, we can put coping strategies in place that target that symptom to reduce fear.  That concept has really stuck with me! So, I created an interactive lift-the-flap activity that takes this approach.

I use the color copy version as an example. Each flap represents how anxiety can affect that particular part of the body.  Open the flap and a worry busting strategy is recorded as a way to target that area of worry.
Brain Scary thoughts.........Strategy: Write in journal
Mouth: Shortness of Breath..........Strategy: Deep breathing activity
Stomach: Butterfiles in stomach.......Strategy: Eat a healthy snack
Hands: Trembling......Strategy: Trace a figure 8 on palm of hand
Feet: Frozen in spot.......Strategy: Do something active 25 times (jumping jacks, hula hoop etc.)

With the black and white version of this activity, I have my students color and write down the body clues they are experiencing to make it personal to them. We come up with worry busting strategies that they think will work to target each symptom.  I have found this activity to be SO successful in helping students reduce fears and worries.

Example from a student

For my small groups, we make Worry Busting Bags to go along with my lift-the-flap worksheet.  I include things like...small notebook for journaling, party blower for deep breathing activity, small bags of pretzels and water bottles, and stress ball buddies.

Examples of Worry Busting Bags

You can find this activity in my TpT store by clicking here.  Included in this download is the following:
boy/girl color printed copy
boy/girl color blank copy
boy/girl black and white printed copy
boy/girl black and white blank copy
Happy Thoughts Journal tags for Worry Bags

I would love to hear what strategies work for you at your school!  Please share ideas in the comments below.

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