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Tier 1 social coaching after an upsetting recess

Date: May 5th, 2016
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: I have a step process I use in processing with kids who are upset, distraught, or kids who are having issues. I call it validate, de-escalate, relate, teach, and reintegrate. I also use it with my whole class.

For example, if an issue happened at recess, the whole class is reeling about it. I say, “Ok, I understand something went wrong at recess.” That’s my validation, and I’ll process with the entire class.

Next, I relate. “Gosh, don’t you just love going out and having fun?” Have a little conversation with them. This gets the class to a point where they can now be taught. I will say to the class, “I want you guys to think about what was the one problem that happened. Could people not play? Did people get into trouble?”

Now, you don’t have to play twenty questions with them. But you do need to guide them where you want them to be, because by the end of the year, you want the class to be able to come in and say what happened.

I don’t want to have to always say, “What happened? Who did that? Oh, oh and then what happened?” I just want them to come in and say what happened.

Then, I’ll say to my class, “Ok guys, give me the three things that really mattered. Could you not play? Was somebody fighting? Was somebody’s feelings hurt? Did somebody take the toys?” Whatever it might be. I want my students to give me the actual facts.

After that I talk with them about two ways that we can get past the issue or how to do it better next time. This way, when a parent calls me, I’m able to tell them that as soon as the kids came in we processed the situation, I taught skills around it, I asked the children to practice those skills the next day, and I’ll check back with them to see how it worked.

I use everything as that teaching model when I can do it on the fly. If you take five minutes out of class to respond to the situation using the teaching model, then you’ve actually done the Tier 1 social coaching that we ask teachers to do every day in their classrooms.