Implementing a Think Space
As we move to providing more support for our students in the area of Social Emotional Learning, we are seeing more teachers implementing a range of supports in their classrooms. One of those supports is the creation of a space for students within the classroom, sometimes called a Think Space, Comfort Corner, or Break Space. These nooks are stocked with a variety of tools that help students take a little time to self-regulate, then get right back to learning.
It is important to teach students the purpose of the space and how to use it. The most important learning target of this teaching is for students to begin to identify what they need to support their own learning. They become adept at identifying when their brains might need a break or other supports, and that those breaks and supports actually allow them to be better learners. The outcome is better self-regulation throughout the school day.
Think Spaces or Comfort Corners require classroom procedures to support their use.Teachers typically teach their students a signal or some other system for when students are requesting a break. There is typically a time limit, though many teachers are flexible for students who may need a little more time than others. These spaces should not be used once students are already escalated; rather, they should function as a prevention tool throughout the school day.
The use of these spaces is an opportunity for teachers to help students understand that everybody learns differently and may have different learning needs. Some students may need to access this space more often and others may never need it. These kinds of conversations help all students recognize what their needs are and how to support their peers in meeting their needs, too.
For a look at how one general education teacher in Bethel used a break space, click here.
We’d love to hear about your Comfort Corner, Think Space, or Break Space successes. Please comment below. You may be the lucky recipient of something to help get your Think Space started!