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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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