The Zones Of Regulation program is an evidence based approached designed to help students learn self-regulation. It can be a very powerful technique to address classroom management and behavior management.
As a teacher, it can be overwhelming to try and integrate the zones enough for them to be effective. Here are some tips and ideas to help you easily integrate the strategies.
The website for Zones Of Regulation has great information and resources listed. If you don’t already use the program, I highly recommend looking into it. It has been really helpful for my students.
To begin the program, explicitly teach what each color or zone means. Our OT and class set up the bulletin board below as they learn about each zone. We put it up above the sink in our room because it can be seen from almost every part of the classroom. Students also see it up close every time they wash hands, get a drink, wash dishes, etc.
Next, we use books to help students connect behaviors and colors without it being too personal. It takes the pressure off of the students when talking about inappropriate behaviors or choices. Here are our favorite books to use… Click the photo to learn more about the books. They are linked to Amazon using my affiliate link.
As we learn it as a class, we make sure everyone (paras, therapists, special area teachers, etc.) is using the same language to talk about behaviors, feelings and strategies and the zones. We have visuals throughout the classroom to make it easy for students to remember and use. Here are the visuals each student has on their desks.
When students are outside of the green zone, it can be hard for them to organize their thoughts and language. All of my students have the “I need a sensory tool” card they can quickly hand over regardless of their verbal abilities.
As with any behavior strategy, our students need to routinely practice the strategies when they are NOT upset. During our morning rotations, all of my students rotate through the “Zones Corner” (seen below) to practice.
The corner has a bucket for each zone color. There are different tools and activities in each bin to help students when they are in that zone. The goal is always to get back to or stay in green. Before activities and tools are put into the bucket, students are taught how to use it and to decide if it is a helpful tool or strategy for that particular student. Not every tool or strategy is helpful for every student. It’s important to work with students to reflect and decide if it works for him/her or not. Students aren’t going to persist with using these strategies if they aren’t working for them.
One of my favorite parts of the Zones Of Regulation system is that each zone is associated with community signs. It makes it really easy to integrate our community signs skills unit! It gives us another angle to work on functional and life skills.