Anger management can be difficult for many children. Engaging students in a hands-on activity is a great way to redirect their focus. Coloring and cutting out the following Anger Gage is a productive diversion that allows the child to validate how they are feeling, as well as determine the intensity of their anger.
Typically, I try to give children as many choices as possible, but for this activity I have the students color the “pie” sections according to the color shown on each “pie”. They can color the outer rim and pointer any color they wish. This results in a traffic light, with the addition of orange , and lends its self to the analogy of a traffic signal.
Asking students, “What would it take to move from orange to yellow?” encourages children to come up with their own anger management strategies. I have found that students are able to come up with more strategies when dealing with a generalized question than when they are confronted with a specific situation.
*I should add that students on the ASD spectrum will have more difficulty when dealing with abstract concepts and should be provided with specific social situations.
When I use the Anger Gage in small groups, I have the students write/draw their answers. I then have them take turns sharing their answers. As they share the answers, I have them check their own lists for similar strategies and write down any new ideas.
If students have the same strategy, I have each of them “star” their strategy (because it’s a SUPER STAR STRATEGY!). Strategies that are not repeated by someone else gets a smiley face (So they can kiss their brains!). Supporting repeated and novel ideas helps take the competitiveness out of the activity and builds group cohesion.
This activity has been a hit with my Young-5 kiddos all they way to my 8th graders in my self-contained emotional impairment classroom!
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