Monday, November 20, 2017

Recess Club is Off to a Great Start!

      Happy Thanksgiving!  Recess Club is off to a great start!  Students have already learned about  expected and unexpected behavior, social detective tools, whole body listening, and the Zones of Regulation.  These concepts were all introduced in kindergarten and now students continue to build on their knowledge base.

      The green zone is our optimal learning state.  This is where students want to be when receiving instruction.  Blue would be if students are sad, tired, or hungry and might be expected right before lunch or after a long day.  Students might be in the yellow zone at gym or recess when they are excited or silly.  A student might be in the red zone when they are feeling very frustrated or angry.

Zones of Regulation Chart

     In November, we introduced Zone Name Plates which are kept at student tables for a specific part of each week.   The goal of the name plate is to raise students' awareness of which zone they are in.  If they are not in the green zone, they would move their paper clip to the zone that they are in and choose a strategy from the card (Lazy 8 Breathing, read, draw, write, ask for help, or think happy thoughts) to employ in an effort to return to the green zone.  After a utilizing a strategy, the hope is that the student would then be able to return their paper clip to the green zone.  

     In Recess Club, students have been practicing their strategies so that they can improve their control over their bodies and feelings.   Slow deep breathing while we trace a sideways 8 is called "Lazy 8 Breathing" and envisioning your "happy place" is a mindfulness practice that involves using your imagination to visit a spot where you feel calm, safe, and peaceful. After a short "visit" to their happy place, it is hoped that students would return to their task feeling refreshed and focused.  
Lazy 8 Breathing

Zones of Regulation Name Plate and Strategies

     Please ask your student to demonstrate Lazy 8 Breathing or to describe their "happy place!"  

Friday, January 6, 2017

1/6 Recess Club Update

Happy New Year! We are excited to get back into our weekly Recess Club lessons this month. Due to the holidays and half days we did not meet weekly throughout the months of November and December. Throughout those months we introduced to our new to Robinson school students and reviewed from Kindergarten the Zones of Regulation curriculum.

We discussed when it is expected to be in the green, blue, yellow zones. Green would be appropriate at school when you are ready to learn or at home when you are at the dinner table. Blue is expected when you are going to bed. Yellow would be expected in gym or at recess. If you would like more information on the Zones of Regulation curriculum please check out the parent resources page.

After an introduction/review of each zone, students watched a video and practiced identifying which zone they felt each character or person was in. If you would like to further practice this at home, we recommend asking your child to demonstrate each zone or check in with them as they experience a variety of emotions. Self-monitoring plays a huge role in one's ability to self-regulate.

Jonny drew himself in the blue zone

Students in Mrs. Siano and Mrs. Mannone's classes enjoyed the opportunity to show what they know after discussing the zones by drawing a picture of themselves in a zone of choice. The following lessons will include an introduction of tools/strategies students may use within each zone to help regulate their bodies back to the green zone. For example, in Jonny's picture he is in the blue zone (tired) while driving in the car. To keep himself awake he may think of a strategy/tool to use. Maybe he would try seat push ups, power breathing, or dancing in his seat to music on the radio. In each zone there are different tools and strategies one may use. Some tools may even work for more than one of the zones.

Spend some time this month having your child practice identifying what zone they are in and what tool or strategy they may be able to use!

-Mrs. Bonenfant, Ms. Casavant & Mrs. Terrio

Friday, October 28, 2016

Recess Club Update 10/28

This week in Recess Club we reviewed the term expected behavior.  Students enjoyed sharing what expected behaviors they saw or did themselves throughout the week at school, home and in the community. Some things that were shared were helping a friend clean up, sharing with a sibling and using listening ears.

We continued talking about expected behavior by brainstorming what the word friendship means. We then read the story You Are Friendly by Todd Snow. We continued talking about expected behavior by brainstorming what the word friendship means. We then read the story You Are Friendly by Todd Snow. You are friendly when you invite someone to play with you, be polite, treat animals gently or kindly, offer to help or show compassion.

Include others by Nolan

Mrs. Siano and Mrs. Mannone's classes enjoyed drawing pictures of an expected friendly behavior. Your child may enjoy drawing a picture at home of an expected friendly behavior. 

Our training assignment this week is again to be on the lookout for friendly expected behaviors at home, school or in the community. Have a great week!

-Mrs. Bonenfant , Ms. Casavant & Mrs. Terrio

Cheer Others Up by Jonathan

Using ICare language - Finley

Friday, October 21, 2016

Recess Club 2016-2017

We are very excited that Recess Club has begun for our first graders this week. Recess club is held on

  • Thursday for Mrs. Capobiano, Mrs. Helenius/Ms. Deans, Mrs. Conway's classes
  • Friday for Mrs. Mannone and Mrs. Siano's classes

Our students got a great laugh seeing us dressed up as social detectives. They were quite curious to find out what Recess Club was. During our lesson this week we learned what exactly a social detective is and what is their job. Social detectives use their tools to look for clues and have expected behavior. Social detectives care about each others thoughts and feelings. When we have expected behavior it gives our friends good thoughts and feelings.

Our fellow first graders are social detectives in training. We worked together and shared a big list of expected behaviors we know. Each week our social detectives will have a training assignment. This week the training assignment is to be on the lookout for expected behavior and practice using expected behavior at home, school or in the community. We will have 3 friends from each class share their results next week. 

-Mrs. Bonenfant, Ms. Casavant & Mrs. Terrio

Friday, June 10, 2016

It’s hard to believe we have finished Recess Club for the 2015-2016 school year! Our Social Detectives had so much fun working with a partner practicing strategies from the Who Goes First Wheel. The strategies helped students determine a fair way to decide who gets to go first during a game or activity either in the classroom, at recess or even at home. Being fair helps us to stay in the green zone and continue to have comfortable thoughts and feelings when we are playing games with others.  We also discussed how it makes us feel when we ask someone to play with us and they say no. Sometimes this can put us in the blue or possibly the yellow zone. We learned that sometimes it’s okay to say no to someone and sometimes we have to say yes.  All of our Social Detectives decided that you have to say YES to someone when it’s your responsibility or you make a promise. It is okay to say NO when you made someone else a promise, someone asks you to do a DOUBLE D (dangerous or destructive), someone asks you to not follow the I-CARE rules, or you want some alone time. Sometimes we can say NO but it is important to say it in a friendly voice and not everyday. If we say no to someone everyday that will lead to that person having uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. They may think we don’t want to be their friend.

When we use our inviting, friendship and play skills we have fun and our friends have fun. It also helps to establish and agree on the rules before a game. This helps everyone know what to do, reduce conflicts and makes sure everyone plays by the same rule. Sometimes the rules have to change in the middle of a game. Students learned that we call this renegotiating. Social Detectives worked hard to determine the steps for establishing and how to renegotiate. Adults modeled these skills by role-playing how to establish the rules for a tag game (who knew there was so many kinds) and how to use the solution wheel to renegotiate. Then our social detectives had a blast role-playing establishing and renegotiating with a variety of games together.

Social Detectives learned what to do when a game has already started and they want to join. Using think aloud strategies students saw adults watch an existing game, wait for pause, make a comment about the game and then ask to join. Then our detectives role-played this skill. We were amazed by the wonderful comments about games made during the role-plays. For example, “the game your playing looks like so much fun”.  We finished our playing an activity unit with learning about what it feels like to be left out. That can sometimes put us in the blue, yellow or even the red zone. We read the book Feeling Left Out by Kate Petty and Charlotte Firmin and learned that everyone feels left out sometimes. If we see a friend that feels left out we may want to invite them to play with us. We learned that when we feel left out we can use our learned zone strategies and invite someone to play with us. We can use our zone strategies to calm down or feel better then invite someone else to play with us.

During these last few months we have also talked a lot about what it means to be a good sport and that being a good sport includes expected behaviors for both winning and loosing.  Our social detectives learned to understand the difference between being excited because we won and bragging and how act in positive ways when we win or loose.  We learned that it is okay to be excited when winning and what to say in order to celebrate our winning but not making the other person feel badly because they lost. We also learned that it is equally as important to be a good sport if you lose.  Reading Mia Hamm’s book Winners Never Quit! helped us learn how to loose gracefully and persevere even when loosing. It is important to remember that “Sometimes I Win, Sometimes I Lose, I Stay Calm.” To encourage and demonstrate perseverance, we read the old favorite “The Tortoise and the Hare”. This fable shows our detectives that if you take your time and work diligently, you are more likely to be successful then if you act with haste and carelessly.

To encourage generalizing these skills within the playground and in the community, our social detectives are given training assignments that reflect all of the lessons we have learned. Be on the lookout for your social detective being a good sport, dealing with losing, and persevering at home and in the community!

Summer Activities that Foster Self-regulation Skills

Adult Resources

Teaching Self-control: Evidence-based Tips is an excellent article, which provides concrete suggestions on ways to assist your child with developing self-regulation.

Activities that Teach Self-Control another great article with tips on helping children develop self-regulation skills.

Child Resources
The Zones of Regulation App is based on the book and curriculum Zones of Regulation by Leah Kuypers ( It is designed to support kids who struggle with social and emotional self-regulation.   The Zone program teaches children to conceptualize their feelings and physical levels of alertness into four zones.  It also explores possible triggers for each of the zones as well as strategies for managing these feelings and maintaining appropriate behavior.  Children need to be competent readers to play the App independently.
If you decide to purchase this App for your child, I recommended that you closely monitor his or her progress through the App, asking questions and facilitating discussions about how the App's content can be generalized to the his or her life.
The App is available online for all devices: iPads and androids.  Just search for The Zones of Regulation App. 

These games foster self-regulation and teach children the skills listed below:
o   Red Light, Green Light –  pay attention, follow directions and wait their turn
o   Simon Says -  listen carefully, pay attention and directions
o   Hide n’ Seek - wait patiently and quietly
o   Role Playing – provides opportunity to think about other choices and not respond impulsively.
Make the games more challenging by changing the rules (Play Opposite Simon Says in which the children do the opposite of what Simon says).

Additional Games
·  Blink.  In this simple game, kids are supposed to sit in pairs across each other at a table or preferably on the ground. At the count of three, kids stare into each others eyes. The first one to blink, loses the game.
·  The Freeze game. Kids dance when the music plays and freeze when it stops. Dance quickly for fast-tempo songs, slowly for slow-tempo songs. And then reverse the cues: Fast music = slow dancing. Slow music = fast dancing.  See more at:

Classic Operation, Twister and Jenga are also games that teach self-control.

Friday, March 18, 2016

March Update

In the past two months our first grade social detectives continued to learn about expected behaviors in our Conversation and Greeting Skills Unit.  We have learned about a lot of new tools to help use those expected behaviors. When learning about personal space, our social detectives practiced using rulers to determine the amount of personal they needed to feel comfortable. Personal space is an expected behavior that leads to us and our friends having comfortable thoughts and feelings. We learned that everyone needs different amounts of personal space and that this need can also change based on who is surrounding us. It is important to use our social detective skills to know how much personal space a person needs. 
Social Detectives observing that Ms. Casavant needs more personal space than Mrs. Terrio

We learned the importance of making sure we face the person we are talking with and using eye contact to show that we are interested in what they have to say. When having a conversation it is expected to use a medium volume and friendly tone. Our Social Detectives explored how to stay on topic or change the topic of conversation. To stay on topic we talk about the same thing. For example if Ms. Casavant is talking about her favorite football team with Mrs. Terrio, then Mrs. Terrio should talk about a favorite football team as well. Everyone learned that we need to: listen to the person talking, Answer/ Respond to them and then Wait for a pause or break before changing to a new topic. We enjoyed practicing these skills each week through social-role plays. Social Detectives would practice the expected way to greet and have a conversation.

Mrs. Conway's Class thinks good listeners....
Then our Social Detectives brainstormed a list of what good listeners looked and felt like. After we read the book “My Mouth is a Volcano” by Julia Cook and then discussed how to be a good listener by using our whole body listening and not interrupting others when they talk. In this story a boy named Louis always interrupted. He learned the hard way when his friend interrupted his special presentation that interrupting is unexpected and leads to uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. His mom taught him to use the strategy of taking a deep breath whenever he felt he might interrupt. The Social Detectives completed a training assignment that required them to be on the lookout for strategies they could use when they though their volcanoes might erupt (interrupt) like Louis'. Ask your child what strategy they like to use!

During the months of March and April our focus will be game playing skills. Our fellow Social Detectives will learn strategies to decide who goes first or who gets to choose using the Who Goes First Wheel.  We will discuss how to invite a friend to play using all of our previously learned conversation skills.  Using the Model Me Kids Videos for Teaching Social Skills by Example we will learn what to do when you ask a friend to play and they say no. This will also include when it is okay to say no to a friend, such as when it is a DOUBLE D (dangerous or destructive) or a promise was made to play with someone else. Other skills included in this unit will be how to establish and renegotiate the rules of a game/activity, joining an existing game and what to do when you feel left out. Our Social Detectives will continue to watch the adults model these skills and will have the opportunity to role-play these skills together.

Now that the weather is getting warmer we will be able to spend more time outside practicing all the skills we have learned. During these two months we will focus on teaching our Social Detectives how to play Solution Wheel Tag. If you would like to learn how to play this at home check out the parent resource tab for the instructions. You will also see an update to the books and great article on guidelines for playdates.

Thank you for visiting our blog! Feel free to comment about what our Social Detectives have been busy learning about. 

-Mrs. Bonenfant, Ms. Casavant and Mrs. Terrio

Monday, January 25, 2016

January Update

 We hope you are enjoying the Recess Club blog and finding the information useful and the parent resources helpful within your home and out in the community.  Our Social Detectives just finished our self-regulation and friendship skills unit.

 In this unit we learned how to think with our eyes and make a smart guess. Michelle Garcia Winner from her book, Thinking about YOU, Thinking about ME, (2007) defines “smart guesses” (same as educated guess) as guesses you have to make based on a fact or some information you have learned about a topic and now you just have to add one more guess. An example of thinking would be noticing that your friend has on a t-shirt that says “Star Wars.” As smart guess would be that they like Star Wars so it would be a smart guess to ask them if they saw the new movie.

During recess club we also play the Thinking with our eyes game. To play this game, we sit in a circle on the floor and the leader has a ball in their hand. Only using their eyes, the leader looks at another person in the circle and rolls the ball to that person. That person then uses their eyes to pick the next player. This continues until everyone has had a chance to catch and roll the ball.

We finished the unit with learning how to appreciate our differences. Student's learned that every friend has differences. These differences may include their height, hair color or age. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Our students composed a list of what they find easy and hard for them at Robinson School. We learned that just because something may be easy for us and hard for our friend does not mean we can't be friends.  To handle these differences we may be an ICARE friend by offering to help our friend with things that are hard for them. It is always important to ask first if you can help! Our students then signed a pledge to promise to work on making their social smarts stronger by working on being a better friend using all the skills we learned this unit.

During the months of January and February, we will be shifting our focus to greeting and conversation skills. Students will learn the expected way to gain one’s attention and greet a friend. This will include lessons on eye contact, the importance of personal space, and an exploration into the volume and tone of our voices.  Our fellow social detectives will practice how to listen and answer by reciprocal turn-taking when having a conversation. This includes learning to stay on topic and how to wait for a pause in the conversation to change the topic. 

Students will practice these skills through watching videos such as, Model Me Kids, through social role-plays and books. We will discover the importance of how to manage their thoughts and words without interrupting by reading the story My Mouth is a Volcano , by Julia Cook. We will also learn how our word choice can impact our friendships with the story Sticks and Stones by Carol Cummings. More information on these books and other stories you may read at home can be found under the parent resource page.

-Mrs. Bonenfant, Ms. Casavant & Mrs. Terrio