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Trauma Informed Classroom

Presented by Bobbie Downs, Ed.D. ##

During this presentation, we will recognize the prevalence and realize the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) so that we can respond in a trauma-informed way and resist re-traumatization. We will explore the way that trauma can shape learning and behavior while also discussing strategies for mitigating the potential impact.

Dr. Bobbie Downs is currently the Director of the Educational Services Unit (ESU) for Burlington County Special Services School District. Dr. Downs decided to pursue a career in education after serving as a teacher and administrator in a school for Sudanese refugees in Cairo, Egypt. Dr. Downs earned her Master’s degree in School Leadership and her Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Rowan University. Dr. Downs also holds a Graduate Certificate of Autism Education. She is a certified mindfulness instructor for Mindful Schools and an instructor for Youth Mental Health First Aid. Dr. Downs is an active member of the Council for Exceptional Children, she also works for the Korean War Legacy Foundation and the World History Digital Education Foundation.

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We do not endorse any recommendation or opinion made by any member or physician, nor do we advocate for any treatment.
2:06
You are responsible for your own medical decisions. Now I’m going to turn it over. I’m going to introduce doctor Bobbie Downs. Doctor Bobbie Downs is currently the Director of the Educational Services Unit for the Burlington County Special Services Schools School District.
2:25
Doctor Downs decided to pursue a career in education, after serving as a teacher and administrator in a school for the Sudanese refugees in Cairo, Egypt.
2:36
Since that time, doctor Jones has served as the role of Teacher and Administrator at the Burlington County Alternative School before being named director of yes you, doctor Downs received her bachelor degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in teaching from Drew University.
2:54
Later, doctor Downs earned her Master’s degree in social leadership and her doctoral degree in Education leadership from Rowan University.
3:03
Doctor Downs holds a graduate certificate of autism education. She is a certified mindfulness instructor for the mindfulness schools.
3:13
And, as an instructor, yeah, I’m sorry, And she has ehrman instructor for the Youth Mental Health First Aid.
3:22
Doctor Downs is an active member of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and the Council for Exceptional Children.
3:30
She also works for the Korean War Legacy Foundation and World History, Digital Education Foundation.
3:39
Doctor Downs, we’re pleased to have you today to do this webinar presentation for us. And I’d like to turn it over to you.
3:48
All right. Great. Thank you for having me and for giving me that introduction, which is probably way too long. All of that to say that, Here I am. I’m an educator.
3:57
I’m currently an administrator, former teacher here in Burlington County and I truly do have a passion for trauma informed classrooms and I’ll kind of share what led me to that passion.
4:09
But I think all of us can kind of recognize that our students need this type of support, right?
4:15
They need to be able to know that they can come to a safe place, even if they don’t consciously know that, they can feel it to come to a safe place, to learn and to be ready to learn. So, this presentation I know is available as a handout.
4:29
I also made a tiny URL so if you would like to be able to access it directly in Google Drive, you can do that by going to tiny-u.r.l. dot com backslash trauma, …. So, it is available. All of my resources are available. And certainly, feel free to reach out to me anytime if you have additional questions.
4:47
So, I would be remiss tonight and talking about trauma and talking about mental health.
4:51
If I didn’t validate the fact that we have been through a rough 18 months, there’s been a lot of things that have gone on related to the pandemic, related to social justice and also personal things that we deal with every day. So, I just want to take a minute to validate the fact that you might be on a rollercoaster right now, you could even be sitting during this presentation as we talk about some really tough topics.
5:12
But, you can feel hopeful.
5:14
You can feel sad.
5:16
There might be a sense of grief or there could have been a center of grief over the past year. And there might be feelings of gratitude, and it’s OK to feel all of those feelings. So, no matter what anyone else is going through, where you’re sitting tonight, how you’re feeling, your feelings are still valid.
5:32
This isn’t about competition, It’s about compassion.
5:35
And I like this part of the end. It says, so we can show up for the ride everyday. A little braver odle, kinder to and ready to face these highs and lows together. So, even as we go into the next school year, whether you’re a parent, whether you’re a teacher, whether, you play another role working with our students there is still going to be that continuous rollercoaster right, and to recognize how we feel, and be able to move forward with that.
5:58
So, the other thing I want us to recognize, too, is we talk about our students, and our children, is what I like to call the iceberg theory of Teaching.
6:07
And Carol Anne Thompson, who is a huge leader in the field of Education, she says that what we see in the classroom is the bare tip of what’s there, both in terms of our students capacities and what they’re able to accomplish, but also in terms of the complexities in our lives. Right.
6:23
So, I think we often assume because their children know that they they don’t have hardship and they don’t have stress.
6:28
But even our little S kiddos who are coming into kindergarten have five years of complex lives that have led them to that point. Especially when we’re talking about student trauma, recognizing that what we see in the classroom might just be manifesting themselves, manifesting itself from something else that they went through.
6:45
So just recognizing that our students are capable a lot but they’re also coming to us with a lot of complex needs so a few disclaimers. We read my bio and we know that piece of it. But I think an important part of it is that I’m not a mental health professional. And why do I say that? There’s two reasons.
7:01
one, I’m not a clinician. So I’m not here to give clinical diagnoses. I’m not here to talk from a clinical perspective.
7:08
So if you ask the question that I feel is outside of that purview for myself.
7:11
I will certainly guide you in the direction to find that answer, But I will not be able or comfortable to answer that. I think the other thing to recognize about being an educator is I’m coming to you from a practitioner standpoint.
7:24
And, if you are in the classroom, you know, how valuable it is to hear from somebody who has been in a classroom and to recognize the fact that these things are real, and they’re doable, And they’re not just coming from this objective view, or, you know, a researcher who has never experienced it. So, I have been in the classroom.
7:42
I continue to walk into classrooms every single day, and to work with students who’ve experienced trauma.
7:47
I think it’s also important to recognize that we’re not here to diagnose, So you’re not going to leave here in the next hour, and be able to say, well, this student has so many aces, and we’ll talk about what that means, or PTSD, or were these concerns. That’s not really our goal, and that’s not really the goal of trauma informed classrooms.
8:02
Trauma informed classrooms is the goal of setting up a mindset. The mindset shift, that we may have students, or we most likely have students in our classroom experience trauma.
8:13
And if I create a supportive environment using several strategies, it’s good for all of our students, not just for students who experience trauma.
8:21
So with that, as I mentioned, trauma informed responses are good for all students.
8:25
I know we’re in a virtual setting right now, and I can’t even see you, but if, for any reason, you also need to step out, because we’re talking about something heavy, or you need to take that space, do what you need to do for yourself in that moment.
8:37
So, please feel free to be able to do those things.
8:40
And the other disclaimer is that the strategies that I’m going to talk about are good for all students, but they don’t necessarily negate the need for mental health support counseling.
8:49
We’re other types of support for our students who have experienced trauma.
8:53
So with that being said, the other disclaimer is, as we go through my presentation, I put a lot in here knowing that we’re not going to get to all of it.
9:01
one of the things that we’re not gonna get to is the videos, but I wanted to make sure that I gave you access to these resources so that you can utilize them.
9:08
So here I have a video, if you are to watch it. It’s from Sesame Street in the communities.
9:14
And if you have not checked out Sesame Street in the communities, I highly recommend that you do, especially if you work with Preschool Grade two. Where if you’re a parent and you have a preschooler or a younger age student, there are a tremendous amount of resources not just on trauma. But talking about divorce, talking about hygiene, talking about anxiety that are available at the website. So, as we go through, and you see me skip a slide, it’s not because they don’t want to talk about it, is because I wanted to make sure you had that resource at that point, if you wanted to be able to access it.
9:45
So, kind of moving forward, The question becomes, how do we help our students, or are our children at home the next day, the next week, and the next year?
9:54
So, what can we do to be able to address trauma?
9:58
So, SAMHSA mental health organization says there’s really four components about being trauma informed. So, we want to recognize the prevalence. We want to realize the impact of trauma on learning and behavior.
10:09
Ultimately, we want to respond in a trauma informed way. And then, from there, we want to be able to resist this three …. So, these four components highlighted in purple are how I structure my presentation, how we’re going to move through it for the rest of the night. So, when we’re talking about trauma informed, those are the four kind of benchmarks that we’re looking for.
10:29
So, let’s talk about the prevalence. How prevalent is trauma?
10:33
I would imagine that you’re here tonight, because you know someone who has experienced trauma.
10:37
Maybe you’ve experienced trauma yourself, or you’re really looking for ways to be able to support a loved one or a student in your classroom.
10:45
So, you recognize that trauma is real, trauma exists, but let’s talk about the prevalence.
10:51
And before I can even do that, let’s talk about a definition.
10:54
So, what is trauma? So, trauma can be a single event, It can be complex, it can be developmental, it can be any of these things listed here. It could be physical sexual emotional, it could be poverty poverty in and of itself is classified as a form of trauma because it neurologically has an impact on you not knowing where your next meal come from.
11:13
Not knowing about housing stability, the levels of stress and uncertainty that come with poverty have an impact on our students.
11:20
Neglect, separation, witnessing violence, or substance abuse, all of these are forms of trauma.
11:27
The most simple definition or the simplest definition, I’ve heard of trauma.
11:30
And certainly, it’s not a clinical definition, but I think it helps to embrace what we’re looking at tonight, is that trauma is anything that exceed your ability to cope, right? So, anything for you that exceeds your ability to cope might be different for somebody else.
11:45
Right, So looking at the fact that what is traumatic for one person, may or may not be traumatic for another person, as well.
11:53
So, one of the most foundational studies in understanding trauma is the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, And I’ve included some links here if you wanted to do more research about how this test came about and what that looks like.
12:05
If you wanted to do your own aces score, you get it ultimately a score of 0 to 10. You could check out this website aces too High.
12:13
But, this study, and how it was developed, is actually a survey for adults.
12:18
And they surveyed a large number of adults asking them about their experiences. As a child.
12:24
They then took that score, so a zero to attain out of these categories.
12:28
And they translated it to the impact I lifestyle, that that person was leading as an adult.
12:35
So these are the 10 categories, And this is certainly not an exhaustive list, but this is the, again, the foundational list of understanding trauma, includes these 10 things.
12:45
So there’s physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, physical and emotional neglect, And then household dysfunction, so mental illness. And the whole incarcerated relative. This says mother treated violently, but we also know it could be father treated violently or anyone else in the home, Substance abuse, and divorce.
13:02
So before I even go on, I often hear people say, Oh my goodness. I’m divorce. I must have traumatize my Child.
13:08
Lot of the research shows that divorce in and of itself is not considered an ace, it’s divorce coupled with any of these other things. So, how does this work?
13:17
So, let’s say you have a student or, your own child, Zach, and Zach is eight years old.
13:24
Zak’s dad struggles with his mental health. So, he doesn’t have something diagnose. They live in a home, where we just kind of don’t seek out that sort of help. But, one, in looking at this situation, can assume the zak’s dad may have a mental health issue.
13:39
So if he has mental illness, that is an ace score of one.
13:43
So what happens then, is zacks dad, instead of going to the doctor and seeing proper treatment, comes home after work. And he decides that he’s going to self medicate by drinking.
13:53
He develops a substance abuse, dependancy, a score of two, Oftentimes, when zak’s dad drinks, you becomes violent and will hit zach’s Mom.
14:05
A score of three, zach’s mom, besides that she’s finally had enough of it, she calls the cops Zach stat is incarcerated, a score of four.
14:13
While incarcerated mom says she’s had enough, they’re going to move a score of five And no one can make the argument, whether or not during this time, no, no fault to anybody, including his mom, were zacks physical and emotional needs, getting that.
14:32
So potentially, Zach, who is eight years old, has an ace score of 6 or 7, statistically, and we’ll talk about this a little more. Students who, in the first few years of their lives experience an ace score of six or more have a life span that is 20 years less than their peers.
14:48
We’ll kind of talk about what that looks like, but that to me is a sounding statistic that it is scary and alarming, especially as an educator to think about. What happens to my students now has an impact on them.
15:00
Years down the road.
15:02
Now you’ll also see that I added some categories in here. So this is not exhausted lifts, the loss of a loved one could be considered an ace. But there’s a lot of research out there now showing that the pandemic is going to be classified as an ace.
15:16
It has exceeded our ability to cope it’s truly reached our surge capacity as far as what the stress tolerance our bodies are able to take over a long period of time.
15:26
If that is the case, then every person walking around today has an ace score of one.
15:31
That also means every student who enters our classroom has an ace score of one. So the question is no longer, And I would argue, it’s never been.
15:39
If I have a student who has experienced trauma, or if I know somebody who’s experienced trauma, we have to change that. I know someone who has experienced trauma. I have students who have experienced trauma.
15:49
Just kinda keeping that in mind, racial injustice. There are a lot of resort, says, and research articles coming out now.
15:57
You know, racial injustice has existed long before the things that we’ve seen on the news media, but they say students and children who experience chronic racial injustice, including microaggressions, that that is a form of trauma on them as well because it has the same impact. These other categories have to, just like looking at this and knowing what our society has been through, there’s a lot of trauma, and a lot of chronic stress surrounding all of us.
16:25
So, what does this mean? I mentioned that early death statistic, or that 20 year as longevity.
16:30
So, the Adverse Childhood Experiences, typically, when students, the higher the score that they have, the more social, emotional, and cognitive impairment they’re likely to have and we’ll kind of look at the impact on learning.
16:43
We as educators, um, but also parents can probably see that students who struggle socially and emotionally or even cognitively, they don’t really do well in school, statistically, remembering correlation and causation here, often are those that will adopt high risk health behaviors.
16:58
So whether that be drinking hyper sexuality, speeding doing reckless behavior with their friends, which ultimately at least disease, disability, and social problems which could lead to an early death.
17:09
So, when I first heard that statistic, and I looked at this chart, I was pretty skeptical.
17:13
But I mentioned that I was a teacher, and I was a teacher at an alternative school, And our school had no more than 100 students in a year.
17:20
And since leaving the alternative school and coming to my current position in the past five years, I’ve had 26 students pass away.
17:26
That’s a high rate of students to pass away.
17:29
In a short period of time, I look back and I can see where my students lie on the aces Score, and I could see how some of their health risk behaviors led to that. And I mean, I’ve had students pass from Overdoses in suicide. I’ve had three students pass, because they’ve been hit by a car.
17:45
And they were doing things that lead for them, to be in situations like that.
17:49
So without disclosing too much information, what I’ve personally learned from my own students is that, unfortunately, without proper treatment, and without getting the proper support, that, this pyramid is, it is true.
18:02
So just looking more at the prevalence and what that looks like, 26% of the United students in the United States.
18:09
And children generally will experience a traumatic event by the time they turn four years old.
18:14
So, as educators, that means by afore, they even enter our doors in kindergarten, as parents. That means it’s happening at a very young age.
18:22
National Survey of Children’s Health, nearly 35 million children in the US, have experienced one or more adverse childhood experiences, and as we get a little bit older, nearly one third of those, ages 12 to 17.
18:32
So our middle school and high school students have experienced two, or more aces, which, as I mentioned, are more likely to have an impact on their physical and mental health as adults.
18:43
So let’s talk about that. Impacts just a little bit more and what that looks like.
18:48
So I’ve included this video here if you know children in foster care or you work with children in foster care, and you’re kind of looking for a resource, or if you’re just looking for the impact that removal from the whole may have, or you’re just looking for a better understanding of trauma. This is the best articulation I have seen of how a child feels in that experience. So I encourage you, when you get a chance, to watch this video, it’s difficult to watch. But again, it is the best articulation of understanding student trauma. If you’re here tonight, because you want to turnkey things to your staff that you take away, I encourage you to use this video, is a talking point.
19:28
So, I think it’s really important for us to remember that no two people respond exactly the same way to trauma.
19:33
So trauma is going to affect others based on their culture, their race, their gender religions, but every individual differently.
19:42
And the best way I can describe this is if you, as an adult, have lost a parent, and you have siblings, Did you, and your siblings respond in the same way? That loss of the parent? When I say that, usually I hear, well, you know, we all lost our mom, right? So it’s the same level of lost, the same relationship here. But one person becomes busy, busy, planning the funeral, another person kinda withdraws. Another person might move on in different ways, right? So even siblings in the same home with the same loss can respond differently.
20:13
To trauma L a lot also has to do with the resiliency factors that they might already have in those protective factors.
20:19
But what we know is that trauma ultimately has an impact on the brain.
20:23
So trauma has been found to change the structure and chemical activity of the brain, decrease the size and connectivity in some parts of the brain and impair the emotional, behavioral function of a child. So this is another great video resource, especially if you’re in a school to be able to use to talk about the difference between learning brain and survival brain and what that looks like.
20:43
But I’m going to just kind of show you another way to look at it.
20:47
Dan Siegel, who’s cited here in his book, Mindsight, but he also has a book out there called The Whole Brain Child.
20:53
And honestly, if you have not read it, I encourage you to put that on the top of your your Amazon wishlist go to Barnes and Noble. It’s called The Whole Brain Child and it’s by Dan Siegel.
21:03
He also has a book out there called I believe it’s called Brainstorm, I know and it’s about the power of the teenage brain understanding that.
21:12
I think anybody who understands a teenage brain probably deserves a Nobel Peace Prize but I don’t want to digress too much but Dan Siegel has this hand model of the brain, and he says it kind of helps us understand how the brain works generally. But we can also talk about how the brain impacts students who have experienced trauma.
21:29
So, if I were to take my hand, just like here in the image and crawl my finger over, through my thumb over and then crawl my fingers over, cutting gives us a good sense of what the brain may look like. Obviously, our brains are bigger.
21:40
But, Dan Siegel says that, in your brain, your thumb here is something called your amygdala, and heat causes the boy, but are. I mean, that is where amygdala is, where our emotions live. If you’ve seen inside out, that’s where all of those live. But it’s also where your fight, flight, and freeze responses.
21:57
So this is kind of our survival brain, as I mentioned before.
22:01
So right here in the amygdala, right next to the amygdala is something called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is where you store your declarative memory and your facts. so your math facts, the phone number, If you need to remember vocabulary words, all of those are right here in the hippocampus, their neighbors, to the amygdala.
22:17
Chrome, my hand back over. And here we have our brainstem.
22:20
Our brains, them controls our bodily functions.
22:22
So your heart rate, your digestion, your, your, your breathing overall. And then here we have our pre-frontal cortex, which Dan Siegel refers to as the wise leader.
22:34
But this is where our executive functioning skills are and our decision making skills.
22:38
So, you know, the amygdala when it’s triggered so you feel unsafe is often will send signals right to your body through your brainstem.
22:49
How often, when you’re nervous, can you feel it in your stomach, or when you’re stressed, you can feel it in your shoulders. That’s because your amygdala speaking to your body, saying, like, hey, something’s going on right now. Your fight, flight, freeze response is going off.
23:01
How many of you, when you’ve been upset about something, aren’t able to remember where you put your phone, right, or you studied really hard for a test, and you sat down for it, and you forgot it because you’re feeling so anxious.
23:14
Well, that’s because your amygdala Dan Siegel says, Hijacked your hippocampus, right, Because they live right next to each other.
23:20
The other thing Dan Siegel’s says, is that when your amygdala goes off, all right, you’re fight, flight, freeze response, it’s kinda like such a bully. That it takes your pre-frontal cortex offline. He calls it flipping your lid.
23:32
How many of you have seen somebody so upset? So angry. So frustrated that they, they just become irrational.
23:39
Well, the reason being is that when your amygdala goes off, it loses connection with the pre-frontal cortex. They stop talking to each other.
23:47
It shuts it down.
23:49
So we know now, when we’re upset, when we’re angry, when we’re experiencing any big emotion, even if it’s a positive happiness.
23:57
It’s going to impact your ability to remember things. It’s going to impact your body and it’s going to impact your irrational decision making.
24:03
Now, what does that have to do with trauma? Well, here’s what it has to do with trauma.
24:08
Trauma in and of itself, Focus is on our amygdala, students who have experienced trauma, and children who have experienced trauma, live in fight, flight, freeze mode.
24:19
The best way to describe it is, if I went to the gym, and if he saw me.
24:21
You probably know, I don’t go to the gym, right, but I hear rumors about people who go to the gym and the room, I hear about people who go to the gym is that there’s like day, and there’s arm day and, you know, maybe there’s cardio. So, they’re trying to get this balanced workout.
24:35
If all I did was go to the gym and I work out my legs. I do like day every single day.
24:42
My legs are going to get really strong when my arms aren’t, right. So we’re not having this level of balance students who’ve experienced trauma.
24:49
Our brains are plastic, they’re able to grow, they’re able to expand. They’re able to change, right?
24:53
Students who experienced trauma live in this amygdala all the time.
24:57
It doesn’t even matter if they’re physically in a scary place. Their level of trust, the way that their brain has been wired, is constantly questioning these things. So the amygdala is even stronger.
25:07
So when they feel that way, they have difficulty learning, difficulty regulating and difficulty rationalizing. So that’s really important. Those are skills that we need to be able to see in school. So that’s a simple version. Trauma here, you can see, has a huge impact on the body, and lots of different ways.
25:25
If you’re looking for a resource on the physical impact of trauma on the body, both for children and for adults, what you’re going to do is check out a book called that from Vessel Vandercook. It’s called The Body Keeps the Score, highly recommend it.
25:40
So moving forward, what impact does trauma have on learning?
25:44
I already sort of mentioned this, but students are unable to self regulate. They’re unable to focus, they’re unable to learn from past experiences. This is a huge one.
25:52
If you know a child who seems to continuously repeat the same behaviors without learning from consequences, part of that is because, again, their amygdala is strong.
26:01
But that pre-frontal cortex, which by the way, doesn’t stop developing tour in the mid twenties, so is already, I still developing in very early stages for our children in general, But their pre-frontal cortex, that, if this, then, that, it’s not what they’ve been strengthening. and they would strengthen the amygdala. And they also have a hard time controlling their impulses. Ultimately, I like this quote, Even though it’s not a positive one, they’re unable to trust their environment. They’re too scared to learn.
26:28
The other way to look at it is, if you are, imagine, if you’re in New York City pre pandemic at three o’clock in the afternoon with your friends, maybe you’re looking around your admiring the Windows, You’re looking at the architecture, you’re laughing and talking. Maybe you smell the hotdog stand. How does that feel?
26:43
Well, it feels good, right? We’re enjoying those moments. So that’s how many of us feel in a lot of our interactions and how a lot of our students feel at school.
26:51
But imagine if I were to flip it, imagineering the city at three in the morning, and you’re alone.
26:57
Are you suddenly looking at the shop windows? Do you notice the architecture? What are you paying attention to your paint to your own, paying attention to your own personal safety.
27:05
That person now walking down the street, you’re wondering if they’re a threat, you’re paying attention to who they are.
27:12
For students who have experienced trauma, it’s 3 0 AM in a scary place all the time.
27:17
And that scary place could be the classroom.
27:20
That’s Gary place, could be the home.
27:22
And there could be things in that colmar in that classroom, that truly are not scary, but because the amygdala has been the muscle that they’ve been working on, and then their brains are wired that way, that’s what they’re focused on.
27:34
So we need to have strategies to help then control their amygdala, bring it down, and to feel safe before they’re able to learn, regulate, and rationalize.
27:43
So the impact of trauma on learning, again, they’re unable to access their critical thinking skills. They have difficulty forming and keeping relationships. They often engage in unhealthy relationships or isolate themselves. Now, there are lots of reasons students do this. But we know that students who’ve experienced trauma are more likely to do these things.
28:00
And in this statistic here, it is, is one that is meaningful for me as an educator. But young children exposed to five or more aces in the first years of their lives, are 76% more likely to have one or more delays in language, emotional, or brain development.
28:17
So oftentimes, we may see the children in early intervention, special education programs, where they might just struggle in, school, without the support that they need.
28:25
Trauma also has an impact on behavior.
28:27
So, we have disruptive behaviors, poor, frustration, tolerance, depressed or anxious mood, poor concentration, and now, again, correlation and causation. So, there are other causes for these things. But, we know that students who’ve experienced trauma are more likely to exhibit these behaviors.
28:43
Now, what’s really important on this slide is not the behaviors.
28:46
This quote I have it hanging here in my office, but it says, Remember, every one of the classroom has a story that leads to misbehavior defiance.
28:54
nine times out of the 10, the story behind the misbehavior won’t make you angry. It’ll actually break your heart.
29:01
So just to kinda give you another idea of what this looks like in trauma, in children.
29:06
Our bodies are made up of our nervous system. We have the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system and ultimately, students should be able to have a level of arousal and then be able to de-escalate from that are settled down.
29:18
Kinda like brakes and gas in your car, students should be able to go out to recess, have a really good time. They’d be able to come back into the classroom and to settle down.
29:27
Students should be, you know, your child at home should be upset about something, maybe something their brother or sister did, but within a few minutes, developmentally appropriate, able to kind of call themselves down. That’s kind of the regular way that our system, or the more typical way that our system should work, however.
29:45
There are a lot of symptoms of discharge traumatic stress stress that may not have been addressed.
29:51
And some of our students and children get stuck on on And what does that look like? They’re they have high levels of anxiety, panic hyperactivity, exaggerated startle, kind of the student who’s jumpy when you talk to them.
30:03
Um, and that happens after they’ve experienced a traumatic event.
30:06
The other piece is they might get stuck on off. And these are actually the students that are slightly more concerning to me, because oftentimes they’re the ones that fall through the cracks. Or they’re not causing a disruption in class, but they come in with a flat affects, their kind of lethargic.
30:20
They have this level of disassociation, so, or students who experience trauma might fluctuate between between the two at a different rate.
30:29
Then they’re their peers.
30:32
So, other effects of trauma and adversity, trust, cope, forming healthy relationships. All of those things are going to be impacted the ability to self soothe, your memory and concentration. These are just, you know, snapshots of trauma. We could talk about them for much longer than this hour. But I think it gives us a good foundation of understanding the impact of trauma and why it’s so important to talk about these things.
30:55
So, what can we do? Well, we can absolutely respond in a trauma informed way. So, what does that look like?
31:02
I think it’s really important for us to remember that when students are experiencing trauma and we’re asking them to learn, it’s like getting them to try and play chess in a hurricane.
31:11
And there is a hurricane going on outside of them.
31:13
We can’t take that hurricane away. But we can bring them that level of calm and clarity. As if they’re in the eye of the storm, and letting that be our classroom or raffle.
31:23
We have to help students be safe. We have to help them feel connected. We’re going to talk a little bit about mindfulness, just very briefly.
31:30
But that’s a huge strategy that’s been proven to be effective for most students who have experienced trauma.
31:35
So let’s take a look at it. So implementing mindfulness. This is something that could be done at home, something that can be done in school.
31:42
All of these things that I have listed, here are a sound practice, a body scan, guided meditation, a minute exercise, minute walk. These are all things that you can take a look at. If you were to google them, you go to YouTube, find a lot of great resources. Yoga is another great resource. But implementing mindfulness.
31:58
Why mindfulness? Well, a lot of the times when students and mingle’s are going off, they need to be reminded that they are currently in a safe place.
32:06
Mindfulness and the shortest of definitions that I can give you is bringing students to be in the present, right. So, our mind is always healthiest. Went into the present, but often, our minds are focused on the past, because we’re, we’re thinking about something regarding something.
32:20
We’re worried about something I haven’t, or we’re living in the future and we’re feeling anxious about different kinds of, If we want students and ourselves to be, to be honest with you, to be able to be in our healthiest state. It’s to be in the present.
32:35
So one of the things that you could do, I shared it, here is a grounding exercise reminding students when they’re feeling that way.
32:41
Or they’re having a reaction to a traumatic experience Even years after is, that they’re safe right there and doing a grounding exercise. So, naming three things that they see, three, things that they smell.
32:52
three things that they hear, or hearing things that they could feel, that can be difficult for some children.
32:58
So, one of the things I love to do is rainbow viewing, and that’s look around the room, tell me something that’s red, something that’s orange, something that’s yellow, and kind of going through the colors of the rainbow.
33:09
We’re look around the room, tell me five things that are blue, look around the room, tell me something that’s changed in the room. But just grounding them to be back to where they are also included the call map here. It was free for educators is no longer. Free for educators, though.
33:23
There are other options out there, but the call map has a tremendous amount of meditation options and kind of scaffolds them to what you need. Lebron James has a series on there. I say that because if Lebron James does it, students are likely to do it, right? There’s a lot of other celebrities, I’m a huge fan of the sleep stories on the call map. I listen to them every night. I’ve never made it through an entire story. And they’re only 20 minutes long before I fall asleep. But there are a lot of tremendous resources out there. and certainly, if you reach out to me, I can do more.
33:53
So breathing exercises, triangle, breathing, having a hoberman sphere, something you could have at home, something, you can even keep in your car, but that’s one of those bigger balls.
34:02
Like it, you know, you can breathe out, breathe in environment the boardwalk viome online.
34:08
But having some breathing exercise techniques, there’s also free breathing exercises, as you can see here on YouTube.
34:15
Other apps that I recommend sitting still, which is for Teens, Headspace, which is free for educators and stop breathing, I think, is also free for educators. So if you’re looking for something to check out, you just need a school.
34:29
I’ll address smiling mind, Buddha Fi. This website here, Change to Chill is also great for teenagers, to be able to checkout. So these are just some resources that you can use.
34:39
Again, these are resources that are great for all children, but we’ve found that mindfulness is extremely beneficial for our students who have experienced trauma.
34:51
Some apps for younger students, and children, mind Jedi Mind Power, super stretch, yoga, and breathing do with Sesame Street.
35:00
As I mentioned before, stop, breathe and think is free. You click on this link. You can go to the website where you could just Google it. They make it sound really fancy, but you can get a lifetime premium membership, and it has a lot of different activities that you can use in your classroom.
35:15
And you can use at home with your Own Students, your own children.
35:18
Then Headspace, which I mentioned is also free for educators right now, another great one and actually just sent out the link to renew your membership today. Moshi for schools is for a much younger children for preschool. It’s great if you are in early childhood education for settling down at naptime.
35:36
If you have a child who has experienced a lot of trauma at home or has a hard time falling asleep, they have a lot of great bedtime stories and meditations for that purpose as well.
35:45
So, certainly checkout mochi it for your younger children, finger labyrinths. I, you can see a labyrinth here there, they can be expensive to purchase.
35:53
I’ve seen schools have the Eagle Scouts build one as well. But there is a lot, going back to your brain, some of the connections in the amygdala, a lot of studies out there about how walking and paying attention to where you’re walking.
36:04
So not, for lack of better words, mindless walking, but paying attention to your movements can be very calming for students, But it can help drive down.
36:14
There are a big dollar levels as well, but maybe you can’t have them walk great, especially now a social distancing in the classroom, one of the things I like to do and you can Google finger labyrinths, you can find them for different levels. But you can see an example of one here is I have them printed out, I had the students decorate them, however, they like laminate them. I keep them in their desk.
36:33
Something again you could keep in your car or at home in the room and when that student or child needs a break, you can have them pull it out and be able to trace it.
36:41
So, the connection to your finger, as well as just the calming appearance of it is great for students when they need to regulate.
36:50
Breathing buddies, having students have a stuffed animal, place it on their stomach, breathing up, and down, and now I’ll go through these quite quickly. But the resources are available to you breathing, right?
37:00
So, having your brainstem, just send that message back to your manga like, we’re OK right now. Alright, and being able to do that, smelling flowers, bubbles pinwheels. I mentioned the hoberman sphere as well.
37:13
Other breathing exercises and I know I keep mentioning Sesame Street but they’re the research are tremendous.
37:18
This is a song here that talks about when the monster inside you is flaring up. How can you bring it back down through breathing? So, a fun way to be able to talk about those things.
37:28
Mindfulness books, this book, Moodie Cow Meditates, this is a YouTube version of it.
37:33
So you don’t even have to buy the physical book, kinda comedic as well. But it talks about a child or a cow in this case, who had a bad dream, he got up. His sister was giving him a hard time. He breaks a skateboard so he gets mad. He throws a baseball through the window. All these things that we typically see. But also the level of anger or emotions that are experiencing it in some of our students with trauma, then it kind of walks through this idea of how we shouldn’t be able to cow.
38:02
His grandfather comes in and talks to him about mindfulness. They build a mindful jar using glitter and kind of moving through as a great activity you can do at home with your your child as well. I highly recommend moody cow meditates then aloe gibbs, if you are in the classroom Or if you’re just looking for something to do with your child at home.
38:19
Al Gives has a free, I believe, it’s an eight week curriculum, that’s based on mindfulness and yoga.
38:25
And as you can see here, there’s six minutes, three minutes, you know, they alternate back and forth. And there are some digital resources, as well, that are based around character education. So again, things that are good for all of our students, but especially good for students who’ve experienced trauma.
38:39
Cosmic kids yoga, little, cheesy, and find the kids love it. She has a cosmic kids yoga for everything, so here is …, there’s Harry Potter superheroes, so you can kind of pick the theme of the day, to be able to incorporate this into the classroom, or at home. Go, noodle and go flow are also options that you could be able to use for those brain breaks. And, having a calming box available, having these resources available. So, whether in your classroom or at your home and I know with social distancing in the pandemic and sharing materials. What I’ve seen is having calling Ziploc bags.
39:16
So putting a few fidgets are materials that is a block bag and keeping it in their desk.
39:21
To being able to just pull it out when they need it.
39:24
But for our students experienced trauma, they might need that additional break throughout the day.
39:28
They might need to be able to kind of calm themselves and regulate themselves, and bring them back to the present. So that’s another strategy. Here’s a recommendation as some of the children’s books. Again, you have access to these resources. If you have teenagers, or you work with teenagers, There’s some tremendous books out there for teens as well that you can access.
39:47
I apologize, I just clicked on the Book.
39:53
So going back to the presentation here.
40:01
There you go.
40:04
The next thing that you want to do, whether at home or in the classroom, these are classroom based strategies, but things that you can do at home, as well. So we, we have mindfulness, but another thing, and this is not necessarily in any particular order that mindfulness is better than this, but students who have experienced trauma struggle with ambiguous situations.
40:21
It makes them feel unsafe, Uncertain, about different things.
40:25
So creating AI, predictable environment with a routine is best for students who experienced trauma. So maintaining use or usual routine. So as they walk into a classroom, this is what they should expect. This is what our schedule looks like.
40:37
When we get a whole, this is what we need to do. Recognizing, though, that some of those things might change, right? So being honest and talking through with your child about why those things are changing or what is changing.
40:50
So maybe we did math before lunch every single day, and now it’s going to be after lunch, letting students know that ahead of time.
40:57
Setting clear limits of, if this is what happens, then this is what happens.
41:01
And not necessarily being authoritarian, but making sure that we understand that we are setting up a safe environment in this classroom warning students and children if you’re going to do something out of the ordinary. So just turning off the lights that can be a trigger for a particular students.
41:14
So, before I turn off the lights in my classroom, I say, Alright, everybody. I’m going to turn on the projector. I’m going to turn off the lights, or if I know that I’m going to be closing the window and it’s going to slam letting the students know that as well, Posting agendas and schedules. I also, and I sometimes get a little pushback with this, but if you know that you’re going to be absent, letting your students know that you’re going to be absent and what does that look like?
41:38
Maybe you don’t know if you’re going to be sick, right? You know, you’re going to be out letting them know, because for a lot of our students, you are there. one safe adult and your classroom is that safe place for them.
41:47
So setting that up, and you know when subs are a scary person, and not because they’re scary in and of themselves, but there are a stranger in the classroom for that student. So, even when I couldn’t let my students know that, I was going to be absent, I always at the beginning of the year, and periodically throughout the year, reminded them that I have a sub folder. I showed it to them. I showed them where it is in the classroom.
42:07
I told them what kind of information was in there that I reminded the sub of the routines that we have in the classroom, which is being able to say I care so much about you guys that I’ve set this up as well.
42:18
I’m having a pleasant color, is creating a calming space that we’ve already talked about as well.
42:22
Sarab, recommendation, I’m a huge advocate of this, is making sure that we’re giving students choices, so what does that look like?
42:29
Giving choices, empower students and helps them feel in charge. But a choice is not, do you want to do math, or do you want to do your homework? Because more often than not, you’re gonna get a no.
42:38
So the choice is, do you want to write with a pen or a pencil? Do you want to use the blue marker? Or do you want to use the red marker?
42:44
Assignment, venues and choice boards? Which you can Google you can find on teachers pay teachers are great things to be able to do at home. You can even do choice. Tour, member use, right? So things, you have to complete three tours on this list.
42:57
Do you want to stand, or do you want to say, where do you want to work in the classroom? But giving students choice. Often, students who have experienced trauma have had a lot of things happen to them.
43:06
And then people try and solve things by doing them for them.
43:09
But restorative practices and other research shows that students do well and are happiest when we do things with them.
43:16
So giving them, that option, in those choices is extremely meaningful. It also shows them that you trust them.
43:22
So we gotta give choices.
43:24
We’re gonna have students talk about emotions.
43:26
So maybe when you’re at the kitchen table for dinner or talking about emotions, because children have terrible emotional vocabularies. And part of the reason they do is because adults have terrible emotional vocabularies.
43:37
Because if I were to ask many of you, how are you doing tonight?
43:40
I’m tired. I’m OK.
43:43
Yeah, know, or if we’re using emotion, we typically default to sad, mad, or happy.
43:51
All of those are ways that we feel some are states of being, not even emotions, but when we are not talking about, I feel anxious, I feel frustrated.
44:00
I feel excited, you know, in using those bigger words, to kind of truly describe how we feel, we’re taking away from understanding those emotions.
44:09
But even for students who are young, you can ask, where in your body do you feel this? Where do you feel savvis, you feeling in your stomach?
44:15
Students can relate to this. Because often they go to the nurse because their stomach is upset.
44:19
Their stomach is not upset because they eat something bad, Their stomach is upset. Because they’re feeling anxious and nervous. Somebody, I, on social media recently said, Check how many times during the pandemic, your student, had a stomach ache.
44:34
Alright, and now that they’re going back to school full-time, how many times do they have a stomach ache and talking to them about how their emotions influence different things.
44:41
Um, if I were to ask you how you were feeling as a color, what color would you be? I really like, if you are an animal, what animal would it be, and taking a step further, what would that animal say to me if they could talk right now?
44:52
Um, talking about emotions in different ways for older students and for adults, I highly recommend talking about the poll here, the Guesthouse.
45:01
But for younger students, visiting feelings is a great book to be able to talk about their emotions.
45:06
So, in the way it treats it as an emotion, or a guest house, or a hotel.
45:10
Happiness may check in. We treat it with kindness, having a nice happiness might checkout, and the next guest check in might be angry.
45:17
And it’s OK that angry is in our bodies.
45:21
But we’re going to treat it with respect.
45:22
We’re gonna work through it, and angry, eventually, checkout.
45:27
We can move forward. So these are two great resources, as well.
45:31
And then emotional vocabulary, we also, if you’re working with older students, or even having this at all, is a great strategy to be able to reference, right? Because you might be surprised. But, surprise being, surprised me, your startup confuse, your base are excited and bringing it up even further, if this is too difficult for you, or your child.
45:51
Because of their age, there are a lot of other emotional vocabulary wheels you could look up.
45:56
Students do really well, now, relating to emojis. So you can find an emoji poster or point out the emoji that you’re feeling right now and being able to talk through that as well.
46:06
For students who experience trauma, they need to have an outlet to process their emotions, but often they need our support to be able to even identify what those emotions may be.
46:15
Then, strategy number five, providing academic interventions. And we’ll talk about these too much, because a lot of them are good teaching practices. But again, I talked about hijacking the hippocampus and the pre-frontal cortex, where our executive functioning is to students who experience trauma.
46:28
And all students, again, truly benefit from problem solving skills as a group as opposed to individually.
46:34
They really need graphic organizers in the class providing students with words when they’re speaking.
46:39
So having kind of like those vocabulary banks to be able to use using multi-sensory approaches and incorporating physical activity. So maybe your brain rank is a Go Noodle activity. We’re gonna get up and walk arounds or we’re going to take out our finger labyrinths of being able to do that as well. And also, recognizing how content material may trigger memories or upset the student. What are some of the things in the classroom that you’re talking about?
47:01
around Father’s Day around Mother’s Day, around the holidays that might be a trigger or the student.
47:07
Then another strategy is explicitly teaching resilience and regulation.
47:11
Students who experience trauma need to build these skills, and as we’re going back to school, tip number one, do not ask students how their summer was. That can be a trigger for a lot of our students.
47:21
But as you’re doing questions about, no, getting to know them, what’s their favorite color, all these different kinds of things. And this is even something it’s under parents, but asking students when they’re upset.
47:33
What do they do when they’re stressed? How do they typically are act or sending a home when your son or daughter is mad? What do they typically do? Why is this important? Because it helps us understand how we can be more informative in response to them.
47:45
Some students just need to be left alone for a few minutes. Some students when they’re upset or angry, need somebody to talk to them. The same is true for us, right? Some of us prefer to vent to our friends. Some of us prefer to sit on the couch. Have Netflix and an adult beverage right to be able to unwind and to deal with our emotions.
48:02
And then, you can even take it a little bit further. Is that a good reaction or a bad reaction?
48:07
Is it a thumbs up or a thumbs down and talking about these things? So I shared an article about this, but it certainly can be adjusted. But it’s something I would use with my students at the beginning of the year. So I could identify, when they’re feeling big emotions, how do they best feel supported. And then taking it a step further, How could they feel better supported?
48:24
And then teaching resilience and regulation, finding those supports that work for them, because ultimately we need to regulate with them, or help them regulate themselves or co regulate with them before they’re going to be able to relate, and before they’re going to be able to reason.
48:39
And strategy number seven, which by far is probably the most important, is building relationships.
48:45
So relationships take time, Relationships differ from person to person. I included a strategy here, it’s kind of trending on Twitter right now, but it’s something I’ve known about for a few years is the purple folder strategy. So if you teach or you work with a group of teachers having a purple folder, having an orange pencil, whatever, it may be that, when that student needs a break in the classroom or you need a break from that student that you’re able to say that student, Hey, can you take this purple folder? It animates Smith.
49:10
When Ms. Smith gets that folder, or she knows that that student just needed a break, she can check in with them, Even if she can’t check it with them in, at that time, she knows the check in with them at lunch or a later time, But it’s a great strategy in Google, the older strategy, and be able to find out more about it. Then, the 2 by 10 rule.
49:27
This is research based, but it says that if you take the time. So, whether your own child, somebody on the team that you coach, whether it’s in the classroom.
49:34
But talk to the child for two minutes a day for 10 days in a row about something other than school, you’re going to exponentially increase your relationship with that child. You have to say, we don’t have enough time in the classroom where we can carve out two minutes for 10 days in a row to be able to support a child. And ultimately, how do we resist re traumatizing …?
49:53
There’s an article here about surprising classroom triggers. But I think the biggest thing is to remember that we are the most important element in our trauma informed environment.
50:01
Our reactions to our students are going to impact whether or not they’re going to be successful, so making sure you’re checking in with yourself.
50:08
Making sure that you’re regulated, recognizing that you’re human, too, and you’re going to have bad days, but being aware of those, and then focusing on what’s behind the behavior. Why are they reacting in this way, What does that look like? And ultimately, remembering to regulate relate, and reason.
50:23
So we want to be mindful, we want to be trauma informed. We want to be open to understand a student’s needs, giving them choice, working together, and taking care of ourselves.
50:31
So as I wrap up tonight, if you wanted to know more, these are some of the resources I recommend: fostering resilience learners is a great one Brainstorm, is who I mentioned with Dan Siegel, but he also has the book, The Whole Brain Child for Younger Children. Bessel, van der Kolk, who is probably one of the most foundational leaders in understanding trauma. And then paper Tigers is a documentary on Amazon Prime. You could watch it.
50:53
You can also order the DVD, but to say that a trauma informed alternative school who was able to kind of change, and their entire school culture and climate using trauma informed practices.
51:04
So, I’m going to end with this, and I know we have time for question and answers, but every kid is one carrying adult away from being a success story. So, thank you for being here tonight. And I now open it up for questions.
51:18
Doctor Downs, you gave us a lot of information in a short period of time, so someone asked for me to re review where you might get them. They might get the presentation and videos.
51:33
If you all look at your little control panel, that may disappear. There’s a little orange arrow that don’t make it re-appear. There’s a place there that has handouts.
51:43
I also sent about 445 this afternoon to everybody who was already, You know, already signed up for this this course. Be Happy You know, in within those resources are those handouts, the videos. You can play them from there.
52:04
So the links all work, I checked that out before I sent it off, so I just wanted you guys to know that.
52:14
Um.
52:15
I have got questions coming in already, so, I’m an elementary art school teacher and a title one school.
52:24
I’m not sure what that is, but maybe you do.
52:28
Since I have limited time with my students, what resources or activity is can I use in my classroom?
52:36
I do like the idea of using the map, but don’t know how helpful that would be further, hurston.
52:43
I think, you know, the thing about mindfulness, or when you don’t have short periods of time, as you can create mindful moments. So doing a couple minute exercises where we’re just gonna listen to a sound, or drawling. I mean, you’re an art teacher, which is amazing. So you have those resources there and being able to tap into those sensory, I think, to getting to know your students through drawing is really important and through art. So, what are the things I like to do, is tell me how you’re feeling by drawing a monster, right? Being able to kind of incorporate some of those social, emotional learning skills into your art. You don’t get to see them a lot. So that’s where the two bytes hammerle goes.
53:18
I would say, as we go back to school, maybe choosing five students that you can spend two minutes a day with, right? So maybe you walk down to the cafeteria and you check on them or maybe you ask them to stay after class to help you clean up art supplies. And in maximizing that time to, it is hard when you have such a large student population and you’re rotating them amount, maybe 30 minutes, 40 minutes. But checking in and being able to do that.
53:42
So, hopefully, that helps answer your question.
53:47
You mentioned the purple folder as a TS community, when we’re talking to teachers on some of the best ways to deal with the kid. Who’s extra … for the day, is to set up something with the off office, and then an inner office envelope.
54:07
And you send when the kid gives the high sign that he just needs to take a break to take that folder to the office, there is a slip and sides as needed a break. They just needed to sign it, and then he can walk back and that he or she in that timeframe. So, when you said Purple Folder and you explained it, I’m like, Wow, we give our trip along that. I didn’t think about it from that perspective, but, it’s great for any student who needs a break, for any reason, right?
54:39
And, I’ve seen schools use their office secretaries, because they’re always there as the person, too, So maybe it’s not their teacher, colleagues. So, thank you.
54:49
Um, you talked about giving the students choice and control.
54:58
Can you talk more about how that would be handled in the home?
55:05
Because you touched on it briefly when you said, if you tell them, do you want to do your homework or not, Of course, they’re gonna say no kind of thing.
55:13
So can you give a couple more examples of the choices so that there’s not a, So that the job gets done? For sure. So I think giving student choice about, maybe where they want to do their homework. So do you want to do it at the table? Do you want to do it on the couch with a tray?
55:35
Alright, so kind of doing that piece. Again, simple things. Do you want to do it with pen or pencil?
55:41
When students, and I know I’m focusing on homework, but I think it can be applied in lots of different ways.
55:46
If a student comes home with, let’s say, three different homework assignments, giving them choice as to which one they want to start with first. So, maybe they want to start with the easiest one and not spelling for them, or maybe they want to do the most difficult one for us, but giving that choice, I think outside of that.
56:01
Allowing them choice in play. Right? So, do you want to play with a car? Do you want to play with the blocks? It? Explicitly giving and phrasing it as choice. Right, so even if there’s choices there and they’re kind of organically could make a choice talking to them about making choices, I personally have a nephew who struggles with anxiety and making a decision is hard for him. So we practice that.
56:24
a lot, how to make decisions and what that thought process looks like.
56:28
You know, certainly we’re not going to choose, what are they going to have for dinner every night. You know, you don’t want to open up, do they want to do their homework?
56:35
But even small things about, you know, do you want to brush your teeth first or brush your hair first?
56:40
No, and kind of empowering them.
56:42
Choi’s, again, allows them to do things for themselves. It gives them those skills, but it also shows them that you trust them enough to make decisions, right? So, it’s kind of investing in that relationship, as well. So, hopefully, those are some examples that might help you.
56:59
What are you, what are some, where the question is, what is best for high school students?
57:08
So, that’s a broad question. So I’m gonna guess, if you’re asking, what strategy is Bethel High school students?
57:14
And I actually was talking to somebody today whose son is struggling because they feel like high school students are not as nurturing as elementary students. And I, I would disagree that they’re not as nurturing. But I think the nature of high school makes it more difficult.
57:28
I think, truly investing in relationships with high school students, and taking that piece there, right? Elementary students are super here. Are elementary teachers gives me superheroes because adults are still poor when kids are 5 and 6, 115, and 16, adult relationships are hard. So, being able to connect with them, genuinely connect to them is probably the most impactful thing. When we look back on our high school years, and we think about our teachers, it wasn’t the content that they taught, it was really being able to build relationships.
57:57
High school students have a harder time buying into things like mindfulness, or are those things that they feel like you’re trying to impose on them.
58:04
But I would definitely say building relationships and giving them choice to write they want that level of independence, but they don’t necessarily have the skill set for independent. So giving them choices in the classroom, too.
58:15
So, hopefully that’s what you were looking for.
58:19
In what ways can trauma impact a student’s academic performance?
58:25
Good question. So, in a lot of different ways, Right?
58:28
So, whether it’s manifesting itself in behaviors that impede their ability to focus or whether it’s them not being able to access the critical thinking skills, right?
58:39
So, especially when students feel heightened, their ability to concentrate, and to recall memory, and information is not there.
58:47
So, again, kind of relating it to the fact that, Have you ever been, you know, you’ve studied really hard for a test?
58:53
Or, you’ve seen a student, or a child study really hard for a test, but they’re so anxious about it, they’re not able to remember those things, So, that could have an impact on their academics.
59:01
Sometimes we just have students that are disengaged, where they come to class, tired, because they spent the night, because their parents were arguing, or because they didn’t have security at home, or whatever it may be, and they come to school the next day being tired.
59:15
And I’m sure to how to access things, so it can manifest itself in a lot of different ways, academically.
59:24
To follow up with the high school students, what strategies are high school students most open or responsive to?
59:33
I know this is a scene that seems like a under indirect answer. It really depends on the student.
59:39
Right, so some of our students are going to tap into music and drawing. And some of our students are going to tap into kind of the multi-sensory approaches of being able to go play basketball or maybe that’s kind of their stress relief for them.
59:51
I think it’s getting to know that particular student, and especially by the time they’re 15, 16 years old, they’ve kind of learned their interests and tapping into them.
1:00:00
Without being said, though, having taught middle school and high school, students did adjust the mindfulness. They did adjust to yoga. They actually really liked yoga. Some of them said it was better than some of the other activities that they’ve participated, and they just never thought they could do it. I think the buy in just takes a little bit longer.
1:00:19
If you check out that website, change the shell that’s targeted just specifically for teens or I’m sitting still like a frog for teens, you know, finding resources that are not childlike, but are targeted for teens, I think is also really important.
1:00:33
Again, the combat has Lebron James. So if you have kids that are athletes being able to tap into that, and having them listen to those types of meditation, so it’s tapping into what they like and being able to maximize it.
1:00:50
Um?
1:00:51
What ways can I help children who have experienced trauma build a trust and relationship with me?
1:00:59
Good question.
1:01:01
I think spending time with them getting to know them genuinely asking them questions without being prying modeling your own emotions.
1:01:11
I think that’s important for students and I didn’t talk about it as much, but when you’re having a bad day telling them that you had a bad day, or you are having a bad day and telling them how you deal with that. I think sometimes they just need to be able to see that you’re human.
1:01:26
But I think the biggest thing, too, is not taking it personally.
1:01:29
So I’ve seen this happen, I’ve done it, too, like, you’re not connecting with that kid. And you’re starting to get frustrated, so then you just keep pushing, and pushing, and pushing it more.
1:01:37
I think being patient and recognizing that students who’ve experienced trauma struggled with adult relationships, especially if that trauma came from adults in our lives, that they were supposed to be able to trust.
1:01:47
So not taking it personally and letting it happen organically, in some ways, connecting with them, but also just not getting frustrated if you are not their adult.
1:01:57
And I think that’s the piece too, is sometimes we’re not every kid’s adult. What do I mean by that? Sometimes they’re going to have a better connection with the math teacher down the hallway, and that’s OK.
1:02:06
And maybe using that relationship that they have with a math teacher to start to build that relationship and talk to the math teacher. Hey, I noticed you and you know, Joe have a really good relationship. What do you guys do?
1:02:17
What works? What helps Joe do bass or say, OK, can we meet with him together and talk about it?
1:02:23
Because we’re struggling to using your colleagues or your friends, or other adults in that child’s life, who are having positive relationships to connect with that student as well.
1:02:34
Sure.
1:02:36
Um, we had a college professor chime in and said this is even relative at the college level, They just spent the entire day discussing similar issues at a campus outside of Philly, and she said thank you for such a comprehensive and excellent presentation.
1:03:00
Thank you. It’s relevant for college students, it’s really relevant for adults, or I need to be a trauma informed administrator when working with my staff, So it’s relevant for everybody.
1:03:11
Sure.
1:03:12
I think that’s all the time we have today for questions. I really do appreciate the time you took with us today, doctor Downs and I appreciate the presentation. It was very, very time.
1:03:31
So thank you all of you, for joining us for our webinar on trauma informed Classroom. There is an exit survey, which we need everyone attending to fill out. The webinar blog is open now and available for the next seven days on the NJCTS website for any additional questions that were not covered that.
1:03:49
Website is WWW.NJCTS.org. Also, an archived recording of tonight’s webinar will be posted to our website. Our next webinar will be on September 22nd. It will be Getting Into the Weeds presented by Svetlana Ross who is a lawyer. And she will be talking about medical marijuana.
1:04:19
That ends tonight’s webinar. Thank you, doctor Downs, for your presentation. And thank you, everyone for attending. Good night.

Comments(4)

  1. SDevereaux says

    What ways can I help Children who have experienced trauma build trust and a relationship with me?

    • Bobbie Downs says

      Students who have experienced trauma need and benefit from positive relationships. It’s important to remember that these relationships may be a struggle though as trust and relationship-building skills can be adversely impacted by trauma. Students who have experienced trauma may not know how to respond to you or may be skeptical of your relationship because of their past experiences.
      -Be patient- it may take longer than it would with other students.
      – Be genuine- children know when it’s not “real.”
      – Be intentional- make specific time to build relationships. I love the 2x 10 rule. Spend 2 minutes per day for 10 days in a row talking to the child about something they love. It will make a huge impact on your relationship.
      – Be understanding- don’t take it personally. Recognize that the child may need time and that the issue may have nothing to do with what you are doing /how you are trying to connect.

  2. DSun says

    What is the best way to engage HS students in relationship building?

  3. Bobbie Downs says

    High school students are tough. I would say that the same approaches that I stated in the other question work- be patient, be genuine, be intentional, and be understanding. I would add a little bit more for teens- get to know what they like and learn more about it. Listen to some of the music they like, learn about the sports team, etc. You don’t need to go overboard, but at least be familiar with it. Don’t force those topics into conversation but let discussions about their interests happen organically. Tie the topics into your lessons if you are a teacher. Even just a subtle mention of a popular tv show in your English class can go a long way.
    With teens, it’s also important that we listen to them nonjudgmentally. They are learning to navigate the world and may do things we don’t agree with- you don’t have to validate or praise these decisions, but when they open up to you- listen and don’t jump to giving advice or judging. Having an adult to talk to means a lot to a teen (even if they don’t act like it). Be that person they can come to and know that they will be heard- that’s a huge part of growing up!

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