Ending The Year On A Self-Reg Note

Ending The Year On A Self-Reg Note

The other morning before school started, I was sitting down to organize items to go into the OSR. I like to organize everything first, and then start filing. I had two HUGE Ziplocs full of things that need to be filed. As I started to put Communications of Learning into alphabetical order and add other items in between them, I could feel my stress level rising. All of this paper! Paper is definitely a stressor for me: so much potential in things getting lost, such big piles of items to organize, and often the need for a pen to sign something … of which I never have a pen! This made me think about how stressful the end of the year can be, for educators and students alike.

  • Maybe it’s the changes in routine with the year-end trips and special school events.
  • Maybe it’s the year-end assemblies with the additional noise, lights, and even performances. This year, I’m stepping WAY out of my comfort zone and participating in a staff act at the Talent Show. We’re doing our own rendition of a Bobble Head Dance: singing, dancing, bobble heads, and performing in front of an audience … I can feel my heart beating faster even as I write this! 

This is our staff version. You can spot me in the back row, off to the left.

  • Maybe it’s the countdowns, and the realization that the year is coming to an end. This can bring about a lot of emotions all at the same time. I have never been a fan of countdowns, and while I may know how many days are left, I try not to discuss this.  
  • Maybe it’s all of the year-end tasks. There is no avoiding paper at this time of the year, and between OSR work to do and reading assessments to file, the paper is often never-ending!
  • Maybe it’s because the formal assessments are inevitable. As students get ready for the next year, the next teacher is often looking for reading assessment data and math scores. We know the benefits of pedagogical documentation, and we may be able to share portfolio work with others, but at this time of the year, scores seem to be the preference. There is always the concern of how will our children match up, and will others appreciate the growth that they have made this year? 
  • Maybe it’s because we’re saying, “goodbye.” This may mean moving schools, but it may also mean saying “goodbye” to students as they move to other classes and other schools. We’ve had a great year of building relationships with these children and their parents. It’s hard to let go!

Ending the Year on a Self-Reg Note - self-reg.caI can’t help but think about the Five Domains, and how these stressors that span so many of them are so prominent at this time of the year. So what do we do? As my teaching partner, Paula, and I did some planning the other day, we realized how Self-Reg really dominated our thinking.

  • We are keeping with a consistent routine for as long as possible, as this helps everyone feel calm. We are even in the midst of changing dramatic play one final time, as the students were determined to make this change, so why not embrace it together?! 

The changeover in dramatic play is beginning … #teachersofinstagram #ctinquiry #iteachk

A post shared by Aviva (@avivaloca) on

  • We are bringing out more sensory options for this week — from paint to plasticine — as sensory play is a great Self-Reg option for many of our learners.
  • We are looking at how to maximize our time out in the forest (regardless of weather), as forest play is often our calmest time of the day. 
  • We are making sure that all assessments are already done, so that we do not put additional pressure (or stress) on anyone during the last week of school. 
  • We are not doing a countdown. We have heard some students mention how many days are left, but we just let these comments go. We are enjoying our last week with the children, and we are helping our children do the same.

Knowing that the end of the year can be stressful has made us more aware of our actions and more deliberate in our choices to help create a calm environment for ourselves and our students. How has Self-Reg influenced your year-end choices? What impact might this have on staff and students on this fun, but stressful, time of the year? Here’s to some great (and calm) final days of school!

Aviva Dunsiger has been the Portal Plus Moderator for over a year now and completed the Foundations 1 Certification Program. She has taught everything from Kindergarten to Grade 6 and enjoys blogging about her teaching and learning experiences. She blogs professionally on her blog, Living Avivaloca. Aviva is excited to contribute a monthly post on The MEHRIT Centre Blog.

By | 2018-01-24T16:45:11+00:00 June 28th, 2017|


  1. Michelle F July 4, 2017 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Self-ref strategies are ridiculously difficult for adults and children alike in the last days. There are simply too many tasks crammed in & not enough time to help 30+ children in a class process their complex emotions. Nothing feels mindful — everyone is in survival mode in my opinion.

    • Aviva Dunsiger July 4, 2017 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Michelle! I wonder if this “survival mode” thought comes from challenges with self-regulating. If we all knew what helps us “feel calm,” and all used different strategies to self-regulate, would we feel differently? I found myself being really aware of my need to self-regulate, and purposely doing things that help me feel calm: from deep breathing to reading before bed to working in some time to blog to spending more time outside. Maybe Shanker’s work and own own awareness of Self-Reg are more important than ever at these stressful times!


  2. Michelle F July 4, 2017 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Agreed – strategies for students might be trickier though, depending on how well they have been practising them throughout the year. It’s hard enough for us as adults….students would ideally have reinforcement of strategies as much as they need in the classroom, but then there is the home piece…

    • Aviva Dunsiger July 5, 2017 at 6:33 am - Reply

      Thanks for your reply, Michelle! Thinking about this from a Self-Reg perspective, I wonder if the additional stressors at the end of the year, make the need for Self-Reg more pronounced. A strategy that might work at another time may not work now (given different stressors), or an individual that is not usually dysregulated may become so, because of other environmental, social, emotional, or cognitive factors at this time of the year. The home piece is also tricky, as sometimes, the environment at home and even the different connections with parents and siblings, may make issues that are a problem at school, non-existent at home (and vice-versa). Our own stressors can also impact on students. When we’re feeling dysregulated, often children feel the same way and/or respond accordingly to how we’re acting or how we seem. I’ve become even more aware of this since taking the Foundations 1 course. The end of the school year is interesting to think about as it creates a situation with additional stressors for adults and students, and problems that would not have been issues before, become them now. Thanks for adding to this important discussion, Michelle!


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