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Reaching and Teaching Stressed and Anxious Learners in Grades 4-8
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Reaching and Teaching Stressed and Anxious Learners in Grades 4-8
Strategies for Relieving Distress and Trauma in Schools and Classrooms



January 2006 | 184 pages | Corwin
 

" Offers those of us who interact with students an opportunity to respond with sensitivity and reflective action. Barbara Oehlberg not only identifies the issues, but also provides activities that can help us gain greater insight into the child's world and provide opportunities for empowerment and healing."
-
Susan Ross, Coordinator of Health Services
Canton City Schools, OH

"With the wisdom in this important work, we can help our children develop new strategies for successful living in a stressful world."
-Stephen Canneto, Director
Art for a Child's Safe America Foundation

"Links sound neurological research with practical activities for educators and youth workers."
-Martha de Acosta, Director
Education and Training Programs
Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation

From trauma, stress, and hopelessness to safety, challenge, and optimism!

Not all children cope equally well with the stresses and traumas life throws their way, and every educator recognizes that "deer in the headlights" look some children get when current events and past traumas combine to trigger a fight-or-flight stress response. No matter how safe the classroom may be in reality, trauma deactivates cognitive skills, and learning cannot resume until the child's equilibrium has been restored.

This important new resource helps educators understand how trauma and stress interfere with cognitive skills, and how classroom and school activities can be used to restore feelings of safety, empowerment, and well-being. Topics include:

  • Neurobiology of the developing child and how cognitive lock-out from the neocortex occurs during stress responses
  • Strategies for reactivating cognitive skills, memory, and the ability to learn following stress responses
  • How acting-out behaviors are linked to stress and trauma
  • How to generate a united effort on school safety and violence prevention issues

Teachers, counselors, principals, and administrators will find that these innovative strategies enhance feelings of safety and optimism in all learning environments and programs, transforming hopelessness and anxiety into resiliency and hope.


 
Foreword by Susan G. Clark
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Introduction: Children Haven’t Changed; Childhood Has
 
Glossary: The Vocabulary of Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma
 
Part I: Brain Changes and How They Affect Student Behaviors and Learning
 
1. The Impact of Losses and Stress on the Student’s Mind and Body
Losses  
Stress  
When Traumatic Memories Are Triggered  
Cognitive Lockout  
Interventions Are Possible  
 
2. Regaining Cognitive Access: The Process of Transforming Stress and the Sense of Helplessness
Transforming Perceptions of Helplessness  
Strengthening Self-Regulation  
 
Part II: Activities for Transforming the Helplessness Generated by Stress and Fear
 
3. Language Arts: Creative Writing and Journaling
Topics for Creative Writing and Journaling  
Issues of Loss and Being Lost or Invisible  
Issues of Rejection or Being Excluded  
Issues of Brokenness, Helplessness, or Futurelessness  
Issues of Betrayal or Broken Promises  
Issues of Emotional Intelligence (Dealing with Feelings)  
Issues of Hope, Empowerment, and Healing  
Debating Points and Issues  
Prose and Poetry  
Integrating Art and Creative Writing into Core Curriculum Areas  
Ad Campaigns  
Comic Books  
Mandalas  
 
4. Social Studies and History: Creative Topics
Historical Cartoons and Storyboards  
Fictional Comic Books About Historical Characters  
Artistic Media Projects for History or Social Studies  
Creating Scripts for Hypothetical Radio Interviews  
Writing Radio Scripts for “What if …” Programs  
Creating Public Service Announcements  
 
5. Character Education
Internal Strengths: Emotional Intelligence  
A Classroom Directory of Feelings and Emotions  
A Feelings Mural: Addressing All Feelings  
A Box of Respect: Addressing Self-Acceptance, Self-Respect, and the Ability to Respect and Empathize With Others  
The Iceberg Project: Addressing Issues of Respect, Empathy, and Trust  
Letters to Hurts: Addressing Empathy, Compassion, Courage, Anger Issues, Forgiveness, and Generosity  
Drawing a Dream: Addressing Issues of Anger, Work Ethic, Forgiveness, and Hopelessness  
Facing Fears: Addressing Fears, Courage, Anger, and the Ability to Overcome  
Playground Charters: Addressing Issues of Leadership, Integrity, Conflict, Hopefulness, and Justice  
Where Are the Heroes?  
Issues of Emotional Honesty, Leadership, Risky Behaviors, and Choices  
Honoring Strengths With a Character Wall  
The Character Board Game  
Physical Strengths  
Internal Capacities for Self-Regulation and Stress Management  
Leading a Relaxation Exercise  
 
6. Building Resiliency Through Afterschool, Summer Camp, and Recreational Programming
Afterschool Programs  
Specific Activities for Afterschool Programs  
Logos  
Collaborations for Creative Projects With Younger Children: Plays, Puppets, and Masks  
Designing Board Games  
Physical and Mental Exercises  
Sand Trays  
Clubs for a Sense of Belonging and Identity  
Crossword Puzzles  
Theater and Arts Groups or Camps  
Drama Scripts for Stage or Radio: Building a World Fit for Children  
Comedy Scripts  
Movement and Dance  
The Power of the Beat: The Rhythm of Healing  
Media Production  
Summer Camps or Activity Programs  
Boys and Girls Clubs, Scouting, and 4-H  
Section III: Schools That Work: A Sense of Safety for All  
 
7. Sustaining Enhanced Learning Environments
Opportunities for Classroom Change  
Avoiding the Stress of Threats  
Alternative Responses  
Classroom Guidelines  
Restorative Discipline  
"Discipline That Restores"  
Stress Reduction Strategies for the Classroom  
 
8. School Safety Issues: Violence Prevention
Generating a United Effort: Leadership and Staff Development  
Specific Strategies for Overall Security and Sense of Safety Throughout the School Building  
Strategies Specifically for Middle Schools  
Supports for Reentering Students  
Supports for New or Transferring Students  
Suspension and Expulsion Policies  
Crisis Preparation  
Conflict and Anger Management  
Violence Prevention Strategies  
Early Prevention  
Bullying  
Inclusion  
Restorative Justice  
 
9. Meaningful Change in the U.S. Education System
Initiating Change from the Ground Up  
Generating Support  
 
Resource A: Crossword Puzzles
 
Resource B: Answers to the Crossword Puzzles
 
References
 
Index

"An 'aroused' child, a child in distress, will experience problems with attending, focusing, retaining, and recalling information--all critical functions. Oehlberg's book provides a wealth of activities that can actually reduce arousal/anxiety in children which research has clearly shown can lead to healthier cognitive functions as well as behavioral stability. This should be a mandated resource for all schools."

William Steele, MA, PsyD, Director
The National Institute for Trauma & Loss in Children

"Reaching and Teaching Overstressed Learners in Grades 4-8 links sound neurological research with practical activities for educators and youth workers. Oehlberg expands our focus of attention about why young people are not learning. The activities she proposes are conducive to creating a safe climate where young people feel they belong and it is safe to learn."

Martha de Acosta, Ph.D., Director
Education and Training Programs, Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, Washington, DC

"Having knowledge of loss, stress and anxiety experienced by our children offers those of us who interact with them an opportunity to respond with sensitivity and reflective action. Barbara Oehlberg not only identifies the issues, but also provides activities that can help us gain greater insight into the child's world and provide opportunities for empowerment and healing."

Susan Ross, SAVE Coordinator & Coordinator of Health Services
Canton City Schools, OH

"Neglect, abuse, violence, and homelessness have altered the way many of our children relate to each other, their families, and school communities. Through her examination of the neurological research and brain development literature, Oehlberg helps illuminate our understanding of the root causes of our students' lack of attention and destructive behaviors...With the wisdom in this important work, we can help our children develop new strategies for successful living in a stressful world."

Stephen Canneto, Director
Art for a Child's Safe America Foundation

"(The author) shares her message of hope and healing through an understanding of the impact of trauma, stress and loss on young children. Once we begin to accept and metabolize the research (on) changes that can occur in the developing brain when under stress and trauma, we can begin to address the many behavioral isues and challenges that we face in raising and teaching our children."

Nacie T. Arnold, Youth Services Coordinator
Morris County Human Services, NJ

This book will help the teacher create a classroom in which all students feel safe, where they can learn to express themselves in appropriate ways, and where they may develop trusting relationships with adults. The purposes of schooling are important and the meaning of learning is profound, but without a safe place to be, the heart of the child cannot be touched and the power of education to transform lives and our world is not possible. What lies within each child is the key to the future.  

Susan G. Clark
University of Akron, Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations
From the Foreword
Key features

·       Provides concise explanations of how anxiety, stress, and trauma affect child development, interfere with cognitive and memory functioning, and link to aggressive and acting-out behaviors at school.

·       Offers strategies for helping children regain equilibrium and feelings of safety and empowerment when "fight or flight" stress responses trigger "cognitive lock-out" at school

·       Offers learning activities across the content areas that help children transform feelings of anxiety and hopelessness into resiliency and hope: crossword puzzles, journaling topics, media projects, and more.

·       Offers strategies for enhancing school safety and violence prevention programs, afterschool programs, recreational activities, and learning environments.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Intro

Chapter 1

Preface


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ISBN: 9781412917247
$36.95

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