Erin Wegener, Washington Elementary Guidance Counselor, used her Creative Teaching Grant to purchase fidget toys and a sand tray. She has used the fidget toys to help students who have problems paying attention or anxiety be successful in class. The purpose of the toys is to teach self-regulation skills.
The sand tray has completely changed the way that Erin can help kids. It is more natural for children to express complicated feelings and situations through the sand tray than verbally. This year several kids have asked her to use the sand tray in the hallway.
Washington has several refugee students all of whom have experienced difficult things on their journey to Fremont. One girl in particular never attended school before and spoke limited Spanish. When Erin put the sand tray in front of her she was able to show her home in Guatemala and talk about a car accident she had been in.
One student who came from Guatamala during 4th grade year – spoke almost NO Spanish. She repeated casa and policia a lot. She was extremely excited and animated.
Another student opened up about the death of her mother for the first time in three years when Janet set the sand tray in front of her. A second grade student was able to process his father’s overdose the night before.
These tools have allowed Janet to be a much better school counselor. She uses them several times a day and can’t imagine not having them!