Amanda Leger | Wichita Collegiate School | Wichita, Kansas
Sometimes students need a safe place to calm down and process their emotions. Creating an area in the classroom gives students a spot, away from the class, to think. The teacher can direct a student to sit there if they are not following classroom rules, or a student may choose to sit there on their own if they are struggling with an emotion and need to relax and regroup.
In my classroom, I have two simple rules. Number one be safe, number two be kind. If my students chose not to do one or the other, they have the choice to go to our stump. Our tree stump is a safe place to sit quiet, away from the classroom, to think about giving their best. There, they sit they think. And when their ready to talk to me, in a calm voice, they can either come to me and say I’m ready to talk to you, or I can go to them when I see that they have sat there for a while. A good rule of thumb, have them sit there for every minute that they are old. So, I have four and five years old’s. I don’t allow them to sit there more than four to five minutes. Other than that, they’ve lost their train of thought and forgot completely why they were sent to the stump. So, if my kids are not being safe or nice, I tell them that their choice has become their consequence. That they must go to the stump. They think about what they did wrong, and then are prepared to tell me what was wrong, and what they can do better to be their best. This is also a way for them if their feeling bad about something. Or sad about something, or mad about something. They can actually choose to go to the stump on their own. With me not even knowing about it. They’ll go to the stump, they’ll sit, they’ll relax, they’ll be safe, and they’ll know that they can take a deep breath and talk about their feelings. Talk about what happened. So, our stump is used as a consequence for not being safe or kind. Or as a choice of a quiet safe place to think about being your best.