The "Australia Desk" - A Self Behavior Management Strategy
Have you read Judith Viorst's classic picture book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? It's a humorous anecdote about Alexander whose day just seems to go from bad to worse, making him wish he could just move to Australia and leave his terrible day behind!
The concept of the "Austrailia Desk" was inspired by this book. Just like Alexander, we all have terrible, horrible, no, good, very bad days and, sometimes, we just need to take a mini-vacation to get refocused. After reading the story to my students, I show them that we have our very own piece of Austrailia, right in the classroom! (A desk, decorated with photos from my travels to Australia and stuffed full of kid friendly books.)
I explain to my students that, like the main character in the book, they too can take a mini-vacation during class if they're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, etc. What I like about this management technique is that it encourages students to be conscious of their feelings/behavior and make the choice to take a time out if it's needed. While it might be a foreign concept in the beginning, over time, students learn to manage their own behavior!