The fourth-grade emotional regulation/management unit is comprised of three lessons and was created to increase the behavioral ability of students to self-regulate. It addresses the first program goal. Student and staff discussions, the Second Step curriculum, and office behavioral referral data helped create lesson content. All lessons are linked to ASCA mindsets and behaviors and Key’s vision and mission as they are designed to help all students strive for emotional well-being ensuring they acquire the attitudes, knowledge, and skills needed to thrive in our dynamic global community.
Lesson one focused on ASCA B-LS9 by teaching students to recognize the physical, behavioral and cognitive signs that convey they are experiencing strong emotions. Perception data showed that before the lesson, 9% of fourth graders could identify signs of strong emotions. Post test results showed 89% of students could, a percentage change increase of 889%.
Lesson two concentrated on ASCA B-SMS2 by teaching students to name their feeling(s) and calm down. Perception data revealed 25% of fourth graders reported having the skills needed to calm themselves down on the pretest while 91% could after the posttest, a percentage change increase of 264%.
Lesson three emphasized ASCA B-SS1 by teaching students to communicate their strong feelings to trusted adults using I-Statements. Perception data revealed 24% of fourth graders believed it was important to communicate strong feelings with an adult on the pretest and 82% reported this on the posttest, a percent change increase of 242%. Also, 15% reported having the skills needed to communicate strong feelings with an adult during the pretest. Post test results showed 84% of students could, a percentage change increase of 460%.
Perception data for all three lessons strongly supports their effectiveness. Staff comments were positive about the lessons, the desire for them to continue, and the positive impact on students’ classroom behavior, especially in the three months immediately following the lessons.
Outcome data suggests application of attitudes knowledge and skills is happening outside the classroom. We reduced the overall number of office referrals from 136 to 106 by approximately 21%, and office referrals resulting from strong emotions and not being able to regulate these emotions reduced from 120 the previous year to 103, a reduction of approximately 14%. However, the overall percentage of total office referrals resulting from strong emotions and emotional regulation increased from 89% to 97% of office referrals, elucidating that emotional regulation is still the leading cause for office referrals.
Analyzing the core curriculum, we noted strengths and weaknesses and made numerous future implications. Next year, all lessons will continue and targeted mindsets and behaviors will not change but more skills practices will be added. A review lesson and an additional calm down lesson will be added in the beginning of March, when we saw more students sent to the office for behavioral referrals. All emotional regulation/management lessons have now been vertically aligned across the grade levels, as building on the same basic tenets every year will help these concepts become a mindset that lead to positive behaviors when experiencing strong emotions. A faculty and PTA presentation will be conducted to teach adults the concept of “Stop. Name your feeling. Calm down.” Having more adults trained in how to help students manage strong emotions will allow for adult modeling and more consistent emotional support in terms of language and techniques during unstructured times.
The Counseling Advisory Council will revisit this issue and additional suggestions for implementation will be solicited and incorporated.