Classroom Anger Management Strategies for Elementary Students

Instructor: Della McGuire

Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.

In this lesson, we will discuss several effective strategies that elementary teachers can use in the classroom to manage and support students who have difficulties in managing their anger.

Managing Anger in the Classroom

Mr. Smith is a third grade teacher. He has noticed that several of his students are struggling with feelings of frustration and anger. Just the other day, Annie stormed out of the room over some division problems. Mr. Smith is concerned because his students' anger issues are interfering with their education. He knows how important elementary school is in teaching students how to cope with anxiety and stress, interact effectively with others, and self-soothe when times get tough, so he decides to research some different ways to help them cope. Let's take a look at some anger management strategies that are particularly effective with elementary students.

Distraction from the Source

Sometimes students can be distracted from what is angering them. Sometimes removing the child from the source of the anger can help. In the cafeteria or on the playground this might be easy--simply separate the children who don't get along. During class, however, it may provide a challenge to an instructor hoping to teach when learning can be the source of the anger. If possible, strive to offer students the option of walking away or finding a quiet place for a few minutes to help distract them from their anger.

Some children struggle with managing their anger at other people when they have to work with other students to accomplish the assignment. In such case, if you know that a student gets anxious and frustrated with group assignments, try implementing accommodations such as choosing teammates randomly, student created groups, or working in pairs, to prevent issues.

For students who get angry over sustained work on the same project, they can be offered opportunities for diversity in assignments that can reduce exposure to their frustrations, providing a distraction from the task at hand. For example, a long math worksheet can be assigned with the opportunity to pause working and shift to a different project so the student is not overburdened.

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