Zones of Regulation

Student Contributor: B. Phillips
Zones of Regulation is a tool used to help students identify and communicate how they are feeling in a healthy way. It also gives students ideas for how to feel better in a healthy way.

The tool “Zones of Regulation” involves four phases of alertness and emotion- Blue,Green, Yellow, and Red. Most teachers who use this tool have a poster for each color in their classroom, with a small picture and label for different emotions that students can use to identify how they feel. Emotions in the Blue zone involve low levels of alerntness; like sadness, boredom, or feeling sick. The Green zone is the goal zone. Students in the Green zone are feeling alert, happy, and focused. The Yellow zone is when students have higher levels of alertness, but may be anxious, silly, or frustrated. Students in the Red zone need the most attention, as they might be feeling rage, panic, mania, and any other strong emotion that makes them feel out of control. The Zones of Regulation tool also involves including strategies for specific zones to help students move to the Green zone. For instance, some suggestions for strategies for the red zone might be taking a small jog or doing some yoga.

This tool fits in the corrective phase because it helps students understand their emotions and better control their actions. For instance, if a student is feeling anxious and as a result is distracting others, a teacher can use this tool to ask the student which "zone" they are in. If the student takes a second to look at the different illustrations and answers that they are feeling anxious (the Yellow zone), the teacher can invite the student to revisit the list of regulation strategies previously discussed for the Yellow zone, such as taking some deep breaths or some meditative coloring. The initial discussion of the activity at the beginning of the school year would fit into the preventative phase, as it helps students understand that they will be learning in an environment where emotions are accepted and respected on every level. The Zones of Regulation tool is both student directed and collaborative, as it helps students learn to regulate their own emotions, and it encourages positive communication between teachers and students.

More Information –
Tool Source: William LaConte on Whitby's website

1 thought on “Zones of Regulation”

Leave a Comment