Impulse Control in the Classroom

Friends~Every Friday in my classroom we do an activity that goes along with our study of Executive Brain Functions.  This month, our focus was on impulse control. (Well, actually we will be working on this forever!)  I am so exited to share with you just how much fun we had! 

We had our guest speaker, Dr. Brain come in and give us the science behind impluse control and review how our brain works.  
We did a warm up game of FREEZE with some holiday music. (Click the link above to learn more about games that impact impulse control.)  I told the class that it was a very old game that helped students practice impulse control.  We talked about if you are falling on the floor, laughing, or moving you are being impulsive

We started with this video from The Cookie Monster! He is the perfect example of impulse control issues:)
In the video, Cookie Monster plays a waiting game and comes up with strategies to not eat the cookie so that he can earn another.  

We listed strategies that he used like:
Singing a Song
Pretending it was a Smelly Fish
Playing with a Toy

I then told the class that we were going do an experiment.    
The Shaving Cream Experiment!
Basically, all you need is some shaving foam and paper plates.  SOOOOO simple but SOOOOO powerful!
I told the class that I was going to give them some shaving cream.  They could touch it and play with it all they want.  BUT...I was going to leave and if they didn't touch the shaving cream,  I would give them more.  

So, I left.  Shut the door with 20 first graders and 20 piles of shaving cream.  

Round one went very well but as we progressed into round 2 and 3 their stress levels began to rise along with their pile of shaving cream.  It was AMAZING to see the strategies they naturally came up with to avoid touching the shaving cream.  
They were counting, reading, laying under the table, meditating and so much more. 
By the third round, they were exercising with push up and running in place to avoid touching the shaving cream.  It was fantastic! 
NO ONE touched it!  At all!  They were soooo determined!
They really practiced impulse control and I can't wait to see how their behavior changes as we continue to revisit the topic.  They now have a real life experience to draw upon when someone tells the to control themselves!
We celebrated by taking our plates filled with shaving cream outside and were totally impulsive!

The girls were a bit timid at first but don't worry!  They totally got into it!  
ALERT!!!!! We did have to go into the bathroom and have some adult help cleaning it out of hair, ears, and off clothes but it was all worth it.  My wonderful parents forgave me and I just know this is one lesson that will not be forgotten!

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