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Emotional Classroom


Apr 23, 2018 7:00:00 PM / by Lori Jackson posted in Emotions, Behaviors



Keeping your emotions in check is a delicate balance for all of us. What would you think if you were asked to:

Grade 50 papers. 


Now, do it in an hour. 

Alright, that's challenging.

Now add you've just had a major fight with a good friend, your washing machine flooded your house. And your car has a flat-tire.


You'd probably ask if you could grade papers another time. Some individuals might respond to normal events in an over the top way. Maybe they verbally 'bite heads-off''. If we had to guess, all of the events listed above would probably make you feel frustrated, sad, angry, worried, and maybe even overwhelmed.

We get it! It is incredibly difficult to get things done when your emotions are in control.  

Now, let's think about our students as they come to school each day.  

  • How are they feeling when they arrive?  
  • How about as they navigate their day?  
  • Did they get enough sleep, are they hungry, have a disagreement with a friend, do their homework?  

Being a kid is tough.

Event after event keeps coming. Our students are collecting emotions every step of the way. What we know is that if a student is not managing their collection of accumulating emotions throughout their day, they're not going to be able to get much done. 

Let's face it, we aren't born knowing how to do math or read.  The same holds true for managing our emotions. We wouldn't ask kids to learn how to read, write or do math on their own. So what's-up with thinking they come with the skills and ideas to be have developed emotional regulation skills?

Teach Emotional Regulation

This brings us to The Connections Model's philosphophy and using KidConnect.  

It's time that we teach kids the steps to understand how they feel, so they can manage how they behave.  More than stickers, thermometers, colors or emoji faces.

We use open discussions and real emotions, real activities, in real life, and in real time.

Are you ready? Let's get started teaching emotional regulation.

Students learn how to manage their emotions by learning to understand what events, things, and places trigger different emotions in themselves. This is done through adding 5 - 10 minutes of your time a day to make emotions a part of your classroom. In the beginning it may feel awkward. That's OK.

BTW in a few weeks you're students will be Ready2Learn and your stress level will be down.

When you use the KidConnect Classroom app, and visit the KidConnect Clubhouse, you'll get the information and the tools to support your students and their emotions. Your students will have a real time tool which will help THEM understand what is driving their behavior and the emotions that led them there.

Over time, with your help, students will begin to learn how different emotions make them behave. They will learn to employ new strategies when they feel those emotions.  You will have access to a wealth of information on Emotional Regulation, activities and language to use in your classrooms. If behavioral issues arise, you’ll have the KidConnect Classroom app for your students.  Everyone won't need it, but when they do, you'll be ready. Teach Emotional Regulation.  Yes. You. Can.


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Change takes time

Feb 12, 2018 12:33:33 PM / by Lori Jackson

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Have you tried the Easy Button daily inspirational goal I suggested?

Has it worked?

If you have, and you aren’t yet a true believer give it time. Why? Because it is true what the research says, change takes time.

Most people believe that it takes just a quick 21 days to make a new habit stick. But new research completed https://jamesclear.com/new-habit shows that it takes far longer, or an average of 66 days to make a habit an actual thing. It makes sense given it takes time to learn to make some behaviors automatic. Automatic behaviors are things that we do without thinking, even when they are difficult. It’s why you can do laundry every Sunday afternoon, or your students can do their morning work each day without reminder. Routine.

But what happens when it is something that isn’t really within your control at this moment. What about when it is really a challenge, or, when it seems like you are pushing a rock up a hill. What then?

Certainly this is important as it relates to all of us, and our gym memberships, diet promises, and the need for clean closets, but what really does that mean for our students?

In particular, I’m talking about the students for whom change is a challenge. These students may be on the longer end of 66 days to see a habit form.

So how can you help?

Two words.

Stay consistent.

Make a plan and stick to it. Set a reminder on your phone to remind yourself of the plan. Remind yourself several times a day if necessary.

When we first started using KidConnect, we did just that. We set reminders on phones and iPads for all of our teachers that reminded them to hand their student the iPad when they saw behaviors that needed support. This helped keep KidConnect in mind for everyone, because yes, a new habit was forming for the adults too. Guess what? It worked. Over time, everyone just got in the new habit of handing off the iPad, and the kids got in the habit of using KidConnect.

Nothing good happens over night. But when you have a goal, a plan and consistency, good things happen.

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The Easy Button

Feb 12, 2018 11:44:22 AM / by Lori Jackson posted in Behaviors


Have you ever thought to yourself, “If this could only be simpler, I know I could make it work.”

Have you ever just want to hit the easy button?

If you are nodding your head and agreeing with me, thank you, and know I am right there with you.

Life has many challenges to be sure. We all wish it could be just a little easier.

I spend a lot of time helping people manage exactly this challenge. How can we do our best, when what we really want is for our best to come just a little bit easier than it does. So for all of us who are serially hard on ourselves and just want to hit the easy button some days, here are some thoughts as we try to navigate to be our best.

Set a goal every day.

I know, you’ve heard that often. But my suggesting combines the what you need to do with what you want to do. I like to think of it as a real world inspirational goal. Real world because you’ve got to get stuff done, and inspirational because if you don’t feel “good” you likely won’t get anything done.

Here’s an example from my life. It may be odd, but a clean counter makes me feel successful. It means everything's in its place and under control. It’s not hard to keep a counter free of “life stuff” as long as you keep up with it. I find that if I keep my kitchen counter clean, I am able to tackle the harder stuff with a little less difficulty. So, my goal every evening is to make sure that the counter is clean when I come down in the morning. I see it as the fresh canvas of a new day. For me, when I shut the lights on my way out the door and look at it, I know I can get the rest of the stuff done, because my canvas is ready to take on more things. Start with a dirty canvas and I have less opportunity to create the picture I am hoping for.

Keep it real

Sorry, had to use it. You’ll notice I didn’t tell you that I cleaned every counter, organized my cabinets, and reworked the pantry before I left the house. I mean, I am sure there are those of you who could tackle that, but yeah, that’s not me. I have one goal that I know will help me to feel positive about myself and is realistic given my hectic life. Set yourself up for failure and guess what, you’ll fail. Keep your inspirational goals real, and you’ll be inspired and not deflated by them.

Take the easy button on the road.

Educators have the hardest job there is. It is also one of the most rewarding jobs as long as you apply the inspirational daily goal idea there as well. Of course there are a million things you HAVE to do. But what is the one thing you CAN do that will help you to feel inspired and confident as you work your way through the have to dos? I challenge you to think of what that might be and make it a part of your routine. Adapt this idea and see if it makes a difference in your day or your teaching. How about sharing it with a colleague. Or maybe your students.

So, have at it. Pick a task that is both necessary and makes you feel good about you and you may have just found the secret to the easy button.

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How did I get here?

May 3, 2017 12:00:00 AM / by Admin


Hello again,

When we left each other last, you promised to try to pay attention to your emotions and try to pick a strategy to use to avoid "losing your cool."  How'd that go?  I've been somewhat successful but will admit to a raised voice(aka yelling) last night over dinner dishes on the counter and in the sink. Note to children:  How hard is it to find the dishwasher? So clearly we all need to continue to practice taking "active measures" when managing our emotions.  Keep at it!

Today's work is to start to look at why the emotions came up in the first place. Why does that matter you ask?  Well, if we want to really learn to manage our emotions and in turn our behavior, we need to understand the different reasons we feel different emotions.  Stick with me it'll make sense....

How do you feel?  What are you feeling?  Hey, check out that feelings poster and tell me what you feel right now?  

I need to say this, and it may not be popular.  Asking a child(or adult) to tell you how they feel without connecting it TO something won't help.  I mean, think about it.  Think how you feel right now.  Take a minute and think about just the feeling.  Got it.  Now name it.  AND NOW WHAT? If it's a negative feeling, do you know what drove the feeling?  If positive, what brought on your good feelings?  Did this feeling just happen, or have you been feeling it for a while?  All of this is so important and if we just ask how you feel we miss so much.  

We need to add a step when looking at emotions and that is what we call the Event.

We had a student once who shared that his behaviors came from an event that "lit a fuse" within him.  Often no one saw the fuse ignite, but they eventually saw his behavioral explosion. For years, people completed behavioral observations of him and identified "antecedents" that they believed led to his behaviors.  From there, a plan was created to try to manage his behavior.  Unfortunately, none of the plans worked for him.  They didn't work because they never really helped him get to the underlying reasons, or events, that lit his fuse.   Once we started helping him to identify the events that lit the fuse and then connecting them to his emotions, he started the work of changing his behavior.  

The Event is similar to the antecedent idea except it often isn't observable.  It's personal.  It's the reason you feel the way you do.  Is it possible for outside observers to see this event? Sure. Will they always see the event? Nope, and that is why this is so important.

A simmering pot of emotions doesn't always boil quickly.

Our goal as adults who work with kids is to help them tie events to emotions.  Understanding what makes you feel different emotions is critical. By talking about events and emotions, you give kids the message that they are in control of how they feel and in turn how they behave.  

So, here's the takeaway, the next time you feel something, try to connect it to an event that occurred. This will help to build your understanding of your own emotions, and how to manage your emotions as you go from one event to another.  Then help your kids do the same. Stop asking how do you feel and start asking what happened to make you feel what you do. Subtle difference, but super powerful for change.  

Up next, the B.  Behavior!

Stay tuned and stay Connected!





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You want me to have an EMOTIONAL CLASSROOM...Huh?

Apr 25, 2017 12:00:00 AM / by Admin


Welcome back to the EMOTIONAL Classroom Blog.

I know,  I know, you think we may have made a mistake with this one.  We've titled our classroom, The EMOTIONAL classroom.  I'm sure in your head you might be saying, "Lori, no one wants to be thought of as "Emotional." I know, I've heard it, "She was SO emotional...." 

Well, stay with me and maybe I will change your mind.

I'm here to tell you that the word "Emotional" is getting a bad rap.  After all, we all have emotions. Every day, almost every minute of our waking moments, we feel.  Even those who can't express, or can't label, or can't manage, have thousands of emotions running through them.  

Emotions.  All the time.

So what gives then?  Why all the negatives toward the emotions?  Well, we think it is as simple as this. 

Emotions are scary bad things when they bring on scary big behaviors that can't be managed. Emotions are scary bad things when they bring on exciting big behaviors that can't be managed. Emotions are scary bad things when they bring on "Shut down" behaviors that can't be managed. Seeing a pattern yet?  It isn't the emotions, it's the behavior.  The "Emotional" in all of us is getting the bad rap when really, it is the behavior that is making us think the emotions are bad.  

Emotions make us the colorful and unique people we are, even when they aren't positive.

So let's change the way we are looking at this and go ahead and look at being "emotional" as a compliment.  You are a person FULL of emotions!  Well, thank you!

So back to your emotional classroom.  We love that you have a classroom full of emotions and once you learn the tools to help your students manage those emotions, you'll love them too!  

You can.  You can take a classroom full of emotions and manage them.  

The first step in this process is to start to look at the behaviors of your students, or your children, in a new way.  Their behavior is telling you that there is an emotion that isn't being managed. 

So take the first step with me and start looking at this process in yourself.  The next time you lose your cool, think about what you feel, and why you feel it.  Then realize that the emotion you just acknowledged is really driving your "loss of cool."  Next, don't think of yourself as negative for not managing the emotion, instead, find a strategy to manage how you feel.  Take a walk if you can, take a deep breath, get something to drink, find a friend to talk to, pet your dog...You get the idea.

The key to what I am saying is this:  You aren't a negative person for your negative emotions.  You can't be happy all the time.  What you can do is find the right strategy to manage the negative emotion so it doesn't turn into a negative behavior.

Next up...Let's add the reason behind the emotion.....

Stay tuned and stay connected.





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Hello, and welcome to the Emotional Classroom

Apr 18, 2017 12:00:00 AM / by Admin posted in Emotions, Behaviors, Classroom Management


Let's exchange a few pleasantries and then get onto the business of emotions!

I'm Lori.  Most of the time it will be my voice you will be reading.  You'll also hear from Steve from time to time.  


This is me
This is me
This is Steve
This is Steve


Important info about us: We aren't writers. I will guarantee a misplaced comma or sentence fragment from time to time. I can envision a rant or two on an issue that is really important. We hope that you'll forgive us that.  We are real live people who aren't afraid to tell you what we think and hope that our words and our work will help you to change the lives of your kids and your students. That's the big goal here.  

For almost 8 years we've been on a path to support kids who have challenging behavior. In an upcoming blog that Steve will write (although he doesn't know it yet), we'll tell you all about the history of the program we developed that set us on our path.  

But for now, I'll leave it at this.  The kids for whom we work have it tough.  They are amazing kids but their emotions get the better of them and their behavior tells that story.  We want to rewrite their stories by helping them manage their emotions so they can manage their own behaviors.

It's simple really.  Emotions Drive Behavior. 

Ready to hear more?  

Coming up.....All about emotions....stay tuned.

One last thing...We want to hear from you.  Ask us questions or tell us what you think as long as you are kind.  This is a totally inclusive classroom!




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