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  1. Healing Days seems like a wonderful book for kids who have experienced or are experiencing trauma. It has great strategies and seems it would be comforting to kids. I wish it talked about how teachers might help also-and school social workers. Many of our kids only have us because either they can’t afford a therapist or the adults in their lives don’t believe they should stigmatize the kids by sending them to counselling.

  2. The video series was very interesting, as I don’t have much training in trauma, but our district is seeing much more of it than we used to. The classroom teachers each have a couple of students in their classes that interrupt the learning and have trouble focusing in their classrooms. With a class size of 25 to 30 students, and with lots of demands on teachers for performance from students, it is difficult for teachers to have patience with students who seem to take time away from learning in the classroom. Our teachers care about the students and do their best to keep the classroom running while meeting their needs. I think understanding the impacts of trauma, including neglect, or just poverty, helps to put this in better perspective and will help me be more supportive of these students. The fact that triggers often push then into an outburst or episode of anxiety is good to know. Sometimes it seems the behavior happens out of nowhere. Remaining calm and gently prodding students to talk with you to form a trusting relationship seems critical. Then you can discuss with them what the triggers are and what would help them to calm down. We have added a sensory room and a second social worker to our school, so admin. is trying to provide more for these students’ needs. There is a lot of pressure, however, as test scores have fallen drastically over the last few years.

  3. If found the Calmer Classroom handout to be very practical and helpful. I am a reading intervention teacher in primary and work with small groups, so I have the advantage of more time to talk with kids I work with. Unfortunately, the demands of trying to improve their reading performance in the length of time I have with them make me ultra focused on instruction rather than on getting to know them. It is frustrating to work with a student who seems to be indifferent or oppositional to learning, especially in a group where others are trying to learn, but I now have ways I could work with the student and ask the classroom teacher to help me put together a team if needed to support the student’s learning. What I found most helpful was the actual examples of what to say for certain situations, usually highlighted in red. These were really good examples to help me with learning the type of language to use in working with students who may have experienced trauma.

  4. The book would be an added benefit for students with trauma. I guess my only concern is, unfortunately, some of the students that I worked with did not have a therapist. They needed therapy but the parent refused or was unable to provide that support. For a student in therapy, it is an awesome book.

  5. The video had a lot of great information. The biggest takeaway was the importance of building a relationship with the student. The teacher can help those students repack their invisible suitcases by providing a safe, positive, nurturing, and understanding relationship. Taken the time to build their trust, being patient, and not taking what they do or say personally can be detrimental in increasing the chances of feeling successful for both student and teacher.

  6. As a former teacher of students with emotional disabilities and presently working part-time as a behavior consultant, I was pleased to see an article that clearly defines trauma. The article has such insight in the struggles for the traumatized student and the difficulties for teachers working with these students. I chose to work with students with challenging lives and behaviors. Many teachers had no idea what they were going to face as a classroom teacher. The article addresses the needs of students and needs of the teachers working with these students.

  7. I thought the book was very interesting, not at all what I was expecting but I can see how it would be a great resource for working with kids who have experienced trauma. I think the message that it’s ok to feel things and that processing emotions, finding safe spaces, and working through the tough moments is valuable. I had a student who’s good friend committed suicide and it really impacted her. She spent a lot of time sitting in my classroom because she just couldn’t be around other kids. We had a lot of tough conversations about what she was feeling, her sadness, guilt, anger, etc. The book does a nice job of showing the various emotional and physical impacts of trauma and that they aren’t anything to hide from or be ashamed of.

  8. The video presentation was a wonderful resource in helping to give us the ability to create safe spaces for kids who have experienced trauma to learn and feel comfortable. I think one of the best lessons though is the discussion about teachers and other school officials that work closely with kids taking steps to avoid burnout and deal with compassion fatigue. My wife was a school counselor in a large public school with some students undergoing significant trauma. It took a tremendous toll on the staff, especially counselors, in these types of schools. As a coach, I also am often on the front lines of helping kids deal with trauma as you get to know kids and their family situations and understand what they’re going through really informs you as to why kids exhibit certain behaviors but it can also be very overwhelming and something you end up carrying around with you.

  9. The section in the reading that discussed the cycle and connections between the impacts of trauma was eye opening and particularly impactful for me. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day of the demands of teaching high school students and to forget when they exhibit certain behaviors that are disruptive or detrimental to their own academic success or the classroom environment that there may be more going on than just a kid who is acting out. I feel that as I teacher I commonly just assume that a student isn’t performing well because they chose not to study or that they don’t pay attention in class because they don’t care about their grades or they are just that kind of kid and I have to remind myself that sometimes that’s true and sometimes it’s related to some deeper issue or unrelated set of circumstances. The reading was great reminder of that and gave a lot of helpful information about dealing with kids who struggle with the impacts of childhood trauma.

    • I agree, Roy. It is easy to get caught up in what you need from them rather than see them as people who have other needs that may outweigh their education. I thought the article had really good descriptions of what it was like for a child in trauma and the effects of trauma. I think it will be very helpful in remembering to think about each student as a unique person with needs as well.

  10. The section in the reading that discussed the cycle and connections between the impacts of trauma was eye opening and particularly impactful for me. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day of the demands of teaching high school students and to forget when they exhibit certain behaviors that are disruptive or detrimental to their own academic success or the classroom environment that there may be more going on than just a kid who is acting out. I feel that as I teacher I commonly just assume that a student isn’t performing well because they chose not to study or that they don’t pay attention in class because they don’t care about their grades or they are just that kind of kid and I have to remind myself that sometimes that’s true and sometimes it’s related to some deeper issue or unrelated set of circumstances. The reading was great reminder of that and gave a lot of helpful information about dealing with kids who struggle with the impacts of childhood trauma.

  11. This is Sue again, posting on my reaction to the reading assigned with this course. I liked the discussion in the reading about what constitutes as trauma…I feel like it is much more inclusive than what the definition used to be. I also was not familiar with the book “Healing Days” prior to this course. I am thinking this will be helpful in using with my students on an individual basis to teach students about the “why” of their emotions as well as to somewhat “normalize” their experience to help them understand that they are not alone.

  12. I just finished watching the video presentation portion of this course. I am an elementary school counselor and although I “know” trauma, I feel like it is important to have reminders about the impact with trauma. I work in a school in which there has been a lot of the students that have been identified as having trauma. I am seeing the emotional impact that trauma has not only on the student but the teachers and the student’s peers as well. So I appreciated the discussion on the importance of supporting the teachers that work with these students all day. As teachers will blame for themselves for the lack of connection with these students and feel as though they are not doing enough. This review of information helps me point out to the teachers what they can and are doing to support our students.

  13. I recently finished this course and found so much great information. The reading was my favorite part of the course, and I feel it would be beneficial for all staff to receive this at an inservice. At least in the region where I live, we’re seeing a huge jump in the number of kids with emotional or behavioral limitations. As a result, we’re seeing a lot of teacher burnout. Good teachers are leaving the profession or feeling so overwhelmed that they don’t know how much longer they can teach. I like that both the module and the text focus on self-care for teachers.

    On a personal level, I’ve dealt with a lot of attachment issues from my own children as a result of having two-households. They feel so conflicted that they love their dad but get very emotional at going to his house. The stability issues have given them a lot of anxiety and attachment issues with me. I’m glad the reading touched on this topic.

  14. I found the book “Healing Days” helpful for students who have experienced trauma. As a coach and teacher we are often a shoulder to lean on for those students who have experienced trauma in their life. We often don’t have all of the information but providing a caring non-threatening environment where we can listen and understand helps the student adjust.

    Another point of emphasis that connects to my above comments was the process of healing which is provided by the book, which is helping the student process their trauma experience. This book was a good reminder for me to be on the look for signs and strategies in helping students or athletes who have experienced trauma.

  15. As a parent whose son who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 7 (he is now 13) my wife and I have had many ups and downs with this disease in trying to get our son to live a normal life. My son is very active in sports and does well in school (he has lots of friends who are aware of his Type 1 Diabetes which is helpful), however as he is hit his teenage years the realization of the disease is hitting home creating challenges for him in that this isn’t going away. The readings and presentation really opened my eyes when looking at my son and the impact that this trauma has caused with him. His attitude and stubbornness towards certain things (food in particular) has been challenging for our family. My son tries to hide the fact when he needs to test and give himself insulin because he is embarrassed by what he has to do to maintain his blood sugar levels. As parents my wife and I try to explain to him that its ok and that he is normal (except the fact that its not normal and he knows it). He still resist at times when we try new strategies to maintain his blood sugar levels. Working through this class and learning about student trauma has been helpful in my own personal experience when dealing with my son.

  16. Rusty VanWetzinga
    The video presentation was a very informative and rewarding in learning more about student trauma and its effects on learning. I have some back ground information on the students that come into my 9th grade American History class however much of it is limited. I particularly found the students reaction to trauma helpful in what to look for such as hyper-arousal and re-experiencing. The signs provided by these give me an idea of a what a student might be experiencing during a particular moment during class. Another area that opened my eyes was the invisible suitcase that they are bringing with them to the class (School). Trying to create a relationship with that particular student where they might open up and talk to you can be very beneficial in creating an environment that is non-threatening and safe.

  17. I’m so glad that I took this course. The lecture and readings were so thorough, and I have a much deeper understanding of what is going on with many of my students now. Understanding the physiological and developmental responses to trauma has really helped guide me in my interactions with kids. I really believe that every teaching staff should be required to take a course like this to discuss the topics together. (Actually, it would be great for policy makers to have this information as well!)

  18. I recently finished the course and I think the reading is something I would like all of the educators I work with should read. It is a great reminder of all the different types of students we work with on a daily basis and how trauma can affect them differently. It is our jobs to try and connect with all of our students to help them be successful in the classroom. Trauma comes in many forms and looks very different in each student. Carry around that trauma and trying to meet grade-level standards can be a huge feat for students on a daily basis.

  19. I recently completed the course on Understanding Student Trauma and Its Impact on Student Learning. I work as a school counselor, so this provided me with a refresher on how to help students through tough times. It also gave me a different perspective on how students’ everyday lives are affected by trauma. The invisible suitcase really hit home for me, I imagined it as an invisible backpack kids bring to school everyday. When they are able to talk through things, you can see the weight lifting off their shoulders. I hope to continue learning more about trauma and its impact on kids.

  20. I just finished the course, Training Educators in Student Trauma. This course is a really great course in helping us, as educators, understand what our students are experiencing each day that they come to school. We know that there are some PTSD syndrome experiences that trigger our children to behave the way they do. We know there are real trauma episodes that our children go through daily that we have no control. We, as educators, can be a buffer, if you will, for our children, in offering a safe place for them to be. We also need to be aware of what some of these episodes could be and what they look like, what are the after effects and how we can help our children get through some pretty horrible times in their lives. Trauma sees no barrier in socio-economics among any of our children. Trauma affects everyone! Over 50% or more of our students have experienced some type of trauma in their life. We, as educators, have also experienced trauma as well. Our support, compassion, kindness and safe haven at school can be just what our children need to help them get through each day. This course is a really great course for all educators to be informed if you haven’t been already. I recommend this course.

  21. So far, this course has been great! I really felt that the Healing Days book is fantastic for both students and adults. The pictures are so child-friendly and are a great way for adults working with children who have gone through trauma to maybe understand a little more through visuals what a child may be going through and why. The pictures are also great for a child in that they could relate to some of the pictures or maybe identify something through the picture that perhaps they are unable to talk about. The video presentation was so incredibly eye opening and helpful. I really felt that I took in a lot of information and will be sharing a lot with my colleagues. I also feel that it gave me a lot of things to think about and to do when working with some of my students who may have a trauma background. I also felt that it was so nice to hear that trauma not only can effect the person who has gone through it, but people who work with them as well. When I first began to work with a particular student who had a trauma background, I was exhausted on daily. His behavioral and verbal outbursts were exhausting. Hearing the different strategies and things that one can to do help not only the students but themselves as well was really wonderful. I am excited to look, find, and read some other articles as well.

  22. Just finished watching the presentation as well as completing the embedded quizzes. The training was so incredibly helpful as were the quizzes. The quizzes helped to ensure that I really understood what it was I just watched and that it made sense to me. The presentation and slides really made me think about students I am currently working with as well as students I have previously worked with. It also has given me a lot of strategies and things to think about for future students I may have that may have endured some form or trauma. When she was talking about how something as simple as going to McDonalds could be a sort of trigger for someone, it really made me think about things that I had viewed as “simple” or “why would this make someone upset?” and made me understand that it may not be as easy or “normal” as I may think going to a place like that may be and that there is something deeper that has happened and another explanation as to why a student or child may have a tough time with something that others seem as so “simple”.

  23. Just finished reading Healing Days. I absolutely loved the pictures and how honestly they depicted the different children and how each child was being affected by the trauma they went through in a different way. This book really shed a great light on younger children and their experiences with trauma. It was super child friendly. I work with Kindergarten and First grade students and I really feel this book would be great for them. I also love how this book was written in such a way that it would help my students and others their age really understand what is happening. We spend so much time talking about how their pictures need to match their words and how we can use the pictures to help us tell stories and this book does just that. I will be sharing this book with the School Adjustment counselor at my school and I know she will absolutely love it!

  24. Finished watching the video for this class. As I was listening/watching, I could not help but think of a few students that I have worked with in the past. I wonder if their behaviors were influenced by trauma. With a social worker and behavior interventionist on staff at my new position, I hope I can be more informed about the kids I am working with now.

  25. As a speech-Language Pathologist, I am interested in finding out more about the impact of trauma on language development. I am in a new position this year (K-5), I was in a middle/high school position for the past 20 years. I know some so the kids in the building have experienced (or are currently experiencing) trauma. There are some kids on my caseload that have difficulty with expressive language and although I have no proof, I am wondering now about their background due to the type of student we have in this building. More to investigate.

  26. Just finished reading the book Healing Days. Glad that there are resources out there now for kids who have experienced trauma. This is this the first book I’ve seen that targets young kids. I think the book explains very well what kids can do to help them process their trauma experiences. As I was reading the book, I was thought about some of the kids that I work with and how this book might benefit them.

  27. Looking forward to reading the book and watching the video. I have been assigned to an elementary school where the incidence of trauma is high. I’m hoping the this class will give me some insight.

  28. I am very thankful that a friend recommended this class to me. It has really opened my eyes to all the different trauma situations that our students encounter. As an educator and part of the overall school community we need to support an environment that makes all students feel safe physically, socially, emotionally and academically. With the advent of social media some trauma situations may be exacerbated and accelerated. This has been evidenced with the suicides in teens from bullying and other social media related situations. We need to make an effort to show support and make a difference in their lives.
    The class format was a nice variety or videos, quizzes, writing and reading.

  29. I felt this course was outstanding! Many times when I take a video course or attend a training, I spend most of the time wishing it would hurry and end, so I can get back to all of the more pressing things I need to do. My main criteria for a good course or training is that it keeps me engaged in the material and that it makes me think and evaluate what I do and what I should do differently.
    I was engaged and wanting more information throughout the video presentation. The information regarding student trauma and helping students dealing with trauma in the school setting, sadly, made me realize that I am not doing all I can do to help these students. I made a list of applications for next school year that I want to incorporate, based on information presented. The embedded questions were appropriate to course information and a good check for understanding.
    I found Healing Days to be a wonderful book for students who have experienced trauma. I felt good after reading it! Even though I work with high school students, I plan to read it with my students. It truly felt like a healing book. Calmer Classrooms gave me a lot to think about when I examine my relationships with students, particularly the large number of at risk students with whom I work. It made me realize I need to look more closely at causes for behavior and respond more effectively.

  30. Unfortunately, as a teacher, I am confronted more and more with students that are coming from trauma situations. It is our responsibility to teach the whole child and understanding the impact that trauma has must now become part of our repertoire. This course reminds teachers that creating a reliable, safe environment and helping students feel valued will assist them as they begin to recover from the trauma they have been exposed to.

  31. The video presentation and embedded quizzes provided a wealth of knowledge on how to recognize, help and encourage a student who has been impacted by a trauma. I liked how real-life information and stories were used to help make a connection and how the presenter was able to general her therapy strategies into the classroom for teachers. I also appreciated the quizzes, making sure the content was understood and processed as intended.

  32. I really appreciated the book “Healing Days.” I was very child friendly and can imagine how helpful this book would be for elementary school students who have suffered trauma. A teacher may even keep this in his/her classroom for students to develop empathy for peers who may have suffered from a traumatic event.

    • I agree. Teachers are usually viewed as trusted adults. Unfortunately with teaching demands and so many students it’s difficult to meet the needs of every single child. I think a good place to start would be more mandatory trainings during pre-service days. We usually get the standard refresher course on abuse and neglect but trauma can come in so many more forms.

    • I agree teachers are the first adults children turn to when they struggle, or the first ones to notice they are struggling. More and more demands are placed on teachers in the classroom. As a school counselor, I am a resource for teachers to help them help children deal with mental health. I was happy to hear the presenter consistently encourage teachers to use those resources that are available to them.

  33. The class blog gives us the opportunity to reflect on our learning. As more people take the class and more blogs are written, it will provide an opportunity to read and reflect on the thoughts of others. This will create a deeper dialogue about trauma and teaching those who experience trauma.

    • In addition to a deeper dialogue, I think this would give us a useful way to share resources. Especially strategies for not only helping students but dealing with the additional stress it can place on the staff. Trauma affects everyone involved.

    • It is important for all teachers to become trauma informed, as I agree it affects everyone involved. Professional development courses like this one, or perhaps school in-services targeting these topics are helpful to school staff in their understanding and identification of students who are dealing with trauma in their lives. When everyone receives the same information, they can share strategies and resources that will help students and create an environment that ensures greater success.

  34. The check for understanding quizzes were a quick way to make sure we were understanding the information presented in the video. They helped break up the presentation a little so it didn’t seem too long. The questions were directly related to the presentation content.

    • The check for understanding was a good way to break up the videos. However, I would like to see one added after each video. It was a great deal of information to re-call.

    • I agree, the check for understanding quizzes were a quick way to make sure I was comprehending the information presented in the video too. Although there was a great deal of information covered, I felt it gave me some sense of identifying perhaps the most important take-away. The speaker was also very interesting and easy to listen to and take notes.

    • The check for understanding quizzes were a great way to make sure we were grasping the most important details of the information presented. The presentation had so much detailed information, I felt it was a great way to pause and reflect upon what I was learning. As an educator, the topics presented were very helpful in understanding trauma and how I can best help students.

  35. The video presentation gave lots of information on the effects of trauma and how to deal with trauma in the school environment. The importance of working as a team was stressed. It is in the best interests of the child for the team to share information and come up with an action plan to help the child be successful in school. Knowledge about past trauma helps the teacher understand the child’s reaction to events and allows the teacher to plan how to assist the child in dealing with transitions or dealing with reminders of the trauma.

    • The team approach seems to be the most conducive way for helping these students. In my limited experience in dealing with some of these severe types of trauma, it’s the only way it can really work. But for this to happen, everyone must be on board and expectations and rules have to be implemented across the board.

    • Working with students in a school system is a team effort. An action-oriented plan is must, in my opinion, so school staff knows how to be proactive in helping the child be successful. When school staff has the knowledge and understanding about how trauma can affect students learning and their day to day life, it allows staff to be an “emotional container” for those students.

  36. The “Calmer Classrooms” PDF states that we need to give attention to the attention seeking child of trauma. I struggle with this idea a bit. We’ve been taught to ignore attention seeking behaviors because if attention is given the child will seek more…like an insatiable need. I understand the theory that if a survivor of trauma doesn’t get attention they will soon stop seeking it and become hard to reach. My struggle is with how much attention to give. We all have limits on what we can give and an attention seeking child can demand more than we’re able to handle. I think it would be important to have a team approach to handle this. When one adult is “maxed out,” another could take over. This would allow the child to get the attention they need without completely draining the adult that is with them.

    • I totally agree. Additionally it can sometimes take away to much attention from the rest of the class. I think two simple choices is often the best approach. This does not always have to be an immediate response from the student. There are some simple quick behavior strategies that can be put in place to give students a reasonable amount of time to make the right choice but again limits have to be set and it has to be a team approach.

    • I agree with you. A teacher’s time is spread thin with all the expectations placed on him/her. Additional resources are needed in schools to give these children the attention that they need to be successful. Teachers are having to deal with more and more social/emotional issues in the classroom, along with academics. A team approach is best, in my opinion.

    • Yes, I agree and part of what I responded with is that this endeavor is really a school community responsibility to provide the students with the support they need.
      Educators can and do get maxed out.

    • I believe that part of understanding students that have dealt with trauma is rethinking and what the looks like for those those children. Utilizing the strategies suggested, such as “I see you need help with,” and giving them controlled choice are helpful. I have a trauma student this year that sought my attention and he always excelled if I worked one on one with him. Over the year, his time needing me lessened.

  37. “Healing Days” is a wonderful book to use with children that have experienced trauma. It is written in a way that makes it useful even for very young children to understand. The book can guide discussion and assist in the healing process. As a teacher, I would feel comfortable suggesting the book as a resource to a parent or caregiver looking for help in dealing with a child that has been through trauma. I like that the book isn’t too specific so it can be used for many types of trauma. I especially like the “Safety Plan’ and the “Feel Good Plan” because it gives the children some control.

    • I am happy to have the book, “Healing Days” to use as a resource to work with children who have experienced trauma. It focuses on so many of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that children might experience and assures them that they are not alone and someone is here to help them them through it. I love using books with children because it can spark so much discussion and helpful ideas for healing.

  38. The book “Healing Days: A Guide for Kids Who Have Experienced Trauma” was a beautifully written and illustrated book. Seeing a book that talks about their problems can help them feel like they’re not alone. Other children have gone thru this too. Sometimes there is comfort in feeling like you’re not alone.

    • Reading a book like that for a child or anyone for that matter is often a good first step when things are more difficult to discuss or convey certain thoughts or emotions. No one likes to feel alone. Let’s face it there is always safety in numbers.

  39. The required reading “Calmer Classrooms” was very useful in helping teachers know a little more about some of the children in our classes. As a music specialist, I am not usually told anything about the child’s background. I do find that very frustrating. I don’t know who is in foster care until all of a sudden a student is gone, and when I ask about them I’m then told that they went to another foster home. The reading gives me a little insight as to why some kids might not want to please me, or perhaps why some act so much less mature than their peers.

    • As a PE teacher I deal with the same issues. I am given no background information. I will often feel like the child is just being difficult. Then when I ask for information I am often told it’s confidential. When this happens I really want to help but feel like my hands are tied.