Lesson Plan

I Need A Break!

Guide your students with special needs through this flow to learn to independently regulate emotions and behaviors.
Kelly A.
Classroom teacher
Ladue Middle School
St. Louis, United States
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
Digitial Citizenship and EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to...

  • identify when they are becoming overwhelmed/angry
  • self-advocate when they are overwhelmed or angry and need a break
  • use strategies to manage and de-escalate anger
  • reflect on causes of anger, choices made during an episode of anger, and helpful strategies for the future
Health & Wellness
Grades 1 – 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Establish Routine

At the very beginning of any behavior program, students often have difficulty simply not knowing what to do when they become overwhelmed or angry. Calm Counter is a very simple tool that directs students through a de-escalating routine. First, students are prompted to ask for a break - don’t downplay this step, as recognizing overwhelming emotions can be very difficult for some children and is a major step toward independently managing behavior. After asking for a break, students tap through the app to count down from 10 (very angry) all the way down to 1 (calm and focused). This can be very useful in setting a predictable, manageable routine for anger management.


2 Take a Break

This website allows the user to choose a meditation break that works best for them. The student (either independently or with the guidance of an adult) can choose the length of time for their break and if they’d like a simple timer or a calming voice to guide them through the break. Students can also choose a calming nature scene and background sounds that they find most calming. This is a great resource for helping students who are overwhelmed to focus, and gives the student some control over their calming experience.


3 Reflect

In the Mood Meter app, students can work independently or with a teacher to identify the color or word that best represents their mood. They are then prompted to write a brief sentence about what led them to that mood. This is a fantastic tool not only for the student, who gets some practice in identifying precipitating events and reflecting on their own behavior, but for the teacher as well. The app’s reports make a fantastic journal/data log that can be shared with parents and other team members.


4 Anticipate and Empower

This tool allows students to write their own stories using illustrations or their own photos. Work with the student to reflect on situations that might lead to them feeling overwhelmed or angry, and the best way to work through those feelings. Eventually, the routine that you established at the beginning of the lesson flow can be replaced with your student’s own thoughts and reflection. This is hugely powerful for young students that are learning to regulate their own emotions and behaviors!