Zoned…from the inside out

There has been a lot of discussion among school-based SLPs on Facebook about bulletin boards. Decorative, useful, storage, teaching tool…there are so many options. As I embarked on my first year back in a school after 11 years, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. In my opinion, simple (and functional) is always better; plus I knew I wanted something that could stay there all year long. So, I started the year with my one small board decorated simply with a calendar and Target Dollar Spot finds to talk about yesterday, today and tomorrow. But in the back of my mind I knew that wasn’t how it would stay.
The group of SLPs at my school soon found out that we would need to come up with a professional learning goal as part of our annual evaluation. After some brief discussion, we all decided that we wanted to teach our students about the Zones of Regulation ®.  So, I purchased some great tools on TpT to help me with this task and decided I would decorate the wall space outside my room with some teaching tools for all speech students as they enter the room as well as any students/classes walking by (many of whom are in our self-contained Autism classes or visit the nearby sensory room on a daily basis).

As I thought about how I would put this together and make it interactive, I realized that this would also make a great bulletin board INSIDE my room.
So, here’s how I made it work, the products I used, and how I plan to implement it:



This Zones of Regulation Visual (FREE!) from Inspired in Speech relates the zones to characters from the movie Inside Out in a simple one-page visual. This is displayed outside my room to help teach the emotions that go with each zone. Since most of the students are already familiar with the characters, they already know one of the emotions for each zone!


IMG_1825  These cute posters from Creatively Themed also match the Inside Out characters to one of the Zones. You can find one for green, red, yellow, and blue, and each one is FREE! Without any instruction at all, my speech students are already talking about what zone they are in during sessions (or pretending to be in the red zone just for fun)!
This Feelings freebie from Special Ed Teachers Classroom is a great addition to the interactive bulletin board inside my room. I have it hooked up there with one thumbtack so I can easily remove it and the students can use dry erase markers to complete it (or they can dictate for me to complete it). I can also pull it up on the iPad or display on the whiteboard via computer/projector to work on as a group (I don’t have an interactive whiteboard in my room but this could be a great way to use it as well).
To add to all these amazing freebies, I couldn’t resist this Interactive Zones package from Sunshine on a Cloudy Day. It is full of great resources and all for only $5.00. I have 2 of the Toolbox nameplates inside my room. I placed the tools on a small ring and hung it on the bulletin board so we can ‘get back to green’ whenever we need to during a session. My board also includes the “Knowing My Triggers?” graphic organizer and a daily visual schedule card (that can be easily removed) with a miniature clothespin so the students can mark their zone. I also have 2 copies of the “What Zone Are You In?” reference cards – just another teaching tool to use as needed with my students. I’ll probably make some more to have on hand for any interested teachers/staff.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Outside, I also have 2 of the toolbox nameplates just in case a staff member is walking by with a student and needs to borrow it. I used Velcro to stick the tools on a printed picture of a toolbox (downloaded from Pixabay) so any student who is not ‘ready to learn’ in the green zone can choose a tool as they walk by or into my room and place it on one of the nameplates. There is also a daily visual schedule card with a clothespin.




Both inside and outside, I have also included my favorite part – to teach students how to match their reaction to the size of their problem. This resource includes an amazing, interactive “How Big Is The Problem” poster and teaching tool.

Of course, there are technological tools that can assist in teaching my students about the Zones of Regulation ®.
There are two apps that teach and reinforce the concepts of the Zones®. Multiple students can be added to go through the sections on their own or we can do it as a group.
A quick search on YouTube turns up plenty of videos and teaching tools to sort through, deciding which are most appropriate for the age group and cognitive level you are targeting.
More resources and free downloads are available from Zones of Regulation ® so be sure to check out that amazing site.
I’m so excited to get started on these lessons – some will be planned and some have already happened by chance just by the students seeing the pictures and posters and asking questions.
I love the concepts behind Zones of Regulation ® and Size of The Problem. It seems students these days are having more trouble with self-regulation at earlier ages. I’m hoping what we SLPs put into place in our rooms and outside our classroom doors will catch on with teachers and become a school-wide positive behavior program!
How do you implement these concepts in your room?