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Keep Predictable Class Routines for Anxious Students


Social-Emotional Learning K-8 Strategy


Anxiety Flexible Thinking Self-regulation

Keep Predictable Class Routines for Anxious Students

If your student is very anxious or uncomfortable with transitions and change

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Students, especially those who have difficulty with change, will respond better in a more predictable, consistent environment.
  2. Alert to Transitions: Provide notice of changes or transitions so students aren't surprised at the need to suddenly change what they are doing. You might give the class a "5-minute warning", and for students who have more difficulty, a personal "10 minute warning".
  3. Visual Schedule/Agenda: Provide a daily, visual schedule at the beginning of the day of which activities/classes they will have. If there is a special event that will disrupt the routine, put it on the schedule and point it out. Checking off the agenda items as they pass helps students stay oriented to the schedule and what is left.
  4. Schedule Specific Times: For students who have more difficulty with the unexpected, help make their day even more predictable. Ex: if a student asks for help and you are occupied, give a specific time you can meet. I have a meeting now, but I will be back in 10 minutes and we will meet first thing.
  5. Check in regularly: Create a nonverbal signal with that student so he can communicate that he is fine or that he needs help. Knowing there is an adult who cares and is available will provide security.
  6. Advance Notice of Assignments: As appropriate, let the student know if there is an upcoming assignment that he might find difficult. Learning about a new assignment during class might elicit a negative reaction.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Children perceive stress very differently from adults, so it is important to remember to focus on what the student perceives as stressful. When students feel stressed they will have difficulty learning. By offering students predictability and structure they will feel safer and more relaxed and will better handle situations they perceive as challenging.

Best-suited for students with weaker: Attention, Cognitive Flexibility, Inhibition, Self-Regulation, Sensory Integration, Working Memory (Source: Digital Promise Learner Variability Project)