Do you have students who are throwing chairs, hitting peers, or flipping tables in their classrooms? I do. At the beginning of the school year, I even had a TK student throw a plant at me and spit at me because he wanted to go home. This was after destroying his classroom by ripping other kids work off the walls and throwing crayons around the room.
I really feel for teachers of students with significant anger control issues and when it comes to counseling these students, there are a lot of areas of social-emotional and behavioral skills to help develop. This includes building their emotional regulation, impulse control, coping skills, social skills, and empathy because poor anger management is usually a combination of skills that are lacking, not just one thing. In addition, many of these students have underlying trauma or disabilities that are contributing to their feelings of anger, so many require years of therapy, not just a few weeks.
The first step in supporting these students is providing them with information. Sure, you can talk to them about their emotions and how to calm themselves, but children often require “multimodal instruction” as we like to say in Special Education. They also need novelty, entertainment, and a sense of fun in order to buy into coming to your office and working on their anger. Talking about what they did wrong in their classroom without making it engaging is REALLY not going to cut it.
Here are a few videos from my list of over 200 SEL Videos
Anger Management Games
Part of my motivation for making my own counseling games has been that I just don’t have the money to buy tons of fun-appearing games. I would buy one, here and there, but they’re never as engaging or entertaining as I hoped for. So far, my best purchases have been “Anger BINGO” and “Coping Skills BINGO.” These are actually, $30 games that can be bought on some counseling website.
Anger BINGO is a pretty good session activity, but it’s actually for older children, so I had to use white out on the card spaces that said things like “sexual pressure” or “drug and alcohol addiction” since I work in an Elementary School.
Other Games for Teaching Anger Management
A lot of games on the market also don’t really specifically target the behaviors that the students were exhibiting in the classroom. I’m talking screaming loudly, ripping up papers, chair throwing, breaking Chromebooks, hitting, and so forth and so on. I’m sure a student’s name of face is coming to mind if you are reading this post.
Starting in 2016, I started making my own games that were more targeted to my students and the issues that they were having, particularly anger management. Here is a video on my “Beachball game” for working on Anger management skills.
Some of the number prompts include items, such as “What is a safe way to express feelings of anger?” and “what physical activity helps you to calm your body when angry?” I then also made a converted format for a deck of cards with the same questions and prompts because sometimes, you just want to sit at a table. I think that cards version also works a little better for older children because they may feel silly throwing a beach ball and it can sometimes bring out more behaviors, which is not helpful when counseling multiple children with anger control issues in a group setting. You feel me?
Workbook Packet with additional lessons, worksheets and Games for Anger Management
This activity packet can also help your students learn and practice Emotional Regulation and Anger Management-specific skills with the included:
- 3 Lessons
- 8 Worksheets
- 1 Videos list
- 1 Calming Helper Tool
- 2 Games!
Lessons include discussion of what anger feels like, identifying triggers, and how to use calming strategies. The videos list can help teach and facilitate discussions about your student’s experiences with losing emotional control due to feelings of anger.
The “Calming Helper Tool” can be used in your student’s classroom as a tool that he or she can have available when experiencing elevated emotions, frustration, or anger. The “Self Regulation Game” and “Wheel of Colors Anger Management” game can be played multiple times in order to help build and practice calming strategies.