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What are the Signs a Student has Experienced Traumatic Stress?
Children and youth who have experienced traumatic stress often will share a number of seemingly contradictory characteristics, that are born out of a drive to cope with their experiences and survive in a world that they do not trust, and has not been kind to them.
One-on-one with adults these students function quite well. They will likely will enjoy and respond positively to supportive or innocuous conversations with adults. Adults in supportive roles, like school counselors or success coaches, will often describe these students as likable or even endearing. Some supportive adults will describe them as pleasant, charming or earnest. However, these students will also be “jumpy”, have a hard time concentrating, and struggle with confrontation or attempt to hold them accountable.
In a variety of settings, in the classroom, with supportive adults, as well as in unstructured times such as in the lunchroom at lunchtime, these students will often be quiet and watchful, engaging in what most professionals call “hyervigilance”.
While in the classroom these students can be well liked by their peers, sometimes even described as the class clown, they often will have no real close friends. They will quietly slip away after school and make no real attempt to connect with classmates in the evenings or over the weekend. At home they often spend a lot of time alone, in isolated locations like their bedrooms or basements, playing video games for hours on end. Many of these children will surround themselves with stuff animals, partly in an attempt to create a layer of protection around them, but also providing a source of comfort and support.
Students who have experienced traumatic stress will also likely struggle academically in school, becoming easily frustrated, and failing to hand in their homework. They will struggle to concentrate and often will be diagnosed as ADHD. However, children who have experienced traumatic stress will not respond well to medication. Additionally, they will struggle with authority and once again coping well with confrontation or discipline.
Students who struggle academically, AND struggle to make meaningful relationships with adults, AND to establish any really any relationships with their peers will often enter a negative perpetuating cycle with the school. For example the more they feel disconnected from the school and the people therein, the less engaged they are academically. The more they struggle academically, the less likely they are to establish or enjoy meaningful relationships. School itself becomes an everyday struggle.
Privilege Walk Lesson Plan
I am going to do this activity in my grade 8 Social Studies class. I am actually quite excited about it.
Privilege Walk Lesson Plan
Many educators and activists use privilege walks as an experiential activity to highlight how people benefit or are marginalized by systems in our society. There are many iterations of such walks with several focusing on a single issue, such as race, gender, or sexuality. This particular walk is designed with questions spanning many different areas of marginalization, because the goal of this walk is to understand intersectionality. People of one shared demographic might move together for one question but end up separating due to other questions as some move forward and others move back. This iteration of the privilege walk is especially recommended for a high school classroom in which the students have had time to bond with each other, but have never taken the time in a slightly more formal setting, i.e., led by a facilitator, to explore this theme. It is a good…
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Saving on back to school clothes…
Old Navy and The Gap are having sale, 30% off. I just saved $200.
Homelessness, Foster Care, Poverty are barriers to education.
The fact that homeless, foster care, and poverty are barriers to education are is is little surprise to the vast majority of educators, but what might be a surprise to some is the realities of these issues for…well…people like me. I recently read the following article and I thought it would highlight what some of the “hidden” issues for young people who experience one or more of the issues outlined.
60 Shades of Stupidity
This was poor judgement indeed…
I am all for expanding the cinematic horizons for my students, but 60 Shades of Grey? Really?
A US high school teacher could face disciplinary action after allowing her students to watch Fifty Shades of Grey in class.
The teacher, who claims not to have known about the sexual nature of the film, let her Hampshire County students choose a movie to watch as a reward for their hard work.
The screening was interrupted after ten minutes when the assistant principal walked past the classroom and recognised the film.
The principal, Jeff Woofter, said school policy prohibited students from watching any sexual movies in class.
“I will say it was an extreme lack of judgement from an otherwise very capable teacher,” Mr Woofter said.
“The teacher didn’t do a background check on the movie or even ask about it.”
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Sometimes less is more…
I wish I could get my students to write like this.
The Mighty Smackdown moves on…
Another year of the Mighty Smackdown has begun. My third, and fifth for the Smack down itself. This is a professional development opportunity for teachers to read and familiarize themselves with some Young Adult literature that is available. New books are selected each year, many are award winners. Teachers are divided into teams. Each team reads two novels and advances one. Sometimes it is a hard choice, either because you like them both or because you don’t. Other times the choice is so clear and obvious. We keep reading, voting and then blogging about our choices. As books are eliminated, the groups get bigger. Until there are only two books left and the whole group votes on which book can be the one and only victor…or until the facilitators have to break the tie, like last year. I have been fortunate enough to like the winner in both of my previous years which is NOT the case for all my colleagues. The first bracket is done, and the victors have been announced. Excited about bracket number 2. Check it out at the link below.
More support for a balanced approach to educational reform…
Why Minister Jeff Johnson Needs a Sober Second Thought??
A colleague has eloquently written on this topic.