How to Use The Language of Trauma and
It is our hope that teachers using this program
make sure that their classroom is a safe place for
children so that students can communicate experiences
in their lives. Teachers are not expected to be guidance
counselors. Rather it is hoped that they will, through these
activities, have a better understanding of why behaviors
occur and, in turn, know when they should make a referral
to a counselor or an appropriate authority.
Listed below are descriptions of the videos
and correlating stories. While we encourage teachers to
adapt these lessons to suit their own needs, we offer below
the Curriculum Committee’s intended use of the programs.
First, teachers will watch Video One.
It explains the effect of trauma and loss on brain development
and the role of the teacher in developing a “safe”
classroom. Dr. Bruce Perry, a leader in this field,
offers his expertise.
There are three videos and correlating stories, each
of which is designed for specific grade levels. The
teacher has the option to either show the video or read
the story first. At the end of each video, Perry discusses
important areas of concern for teachers and students.
a. Video Two, Elementary — Bridgett Bunny’s
Ordinary Day That Wasn’t tells about
a bunny that has always been happy but suddenly becomes
quiet and withdrawn because a sad and scary thing has
happened to her. She meets Mr. Owl, who listens to her
and helps her understand what has happened. The students
are never told what the sad and scary thing is. This
allows students to think about their own experiences
while listening to the story.
b. Video Three, Middle School — The Story
of Erica tells about a pleasant girl who moved
away and then came back as a very different person.
After some time, she reveals her problem to the class.
c. Video Four, High School — Erica’s
List features an older Erica who has been sent
to the office for being belligerent. This leads to a
discussion of why these behaviors occur, with an emphasis
on stimulus-response reactions.
After the students have watched the video and/or read
the book, the teacher (either on the video or live)
will ask the standard questions about the story to determine
students’ levels of understanding. These questions
focus on plot, character, setting, problem and solution.
For each grade level, the teacher guide offers language
arts lesson plans that are keyed to the story and that
match state standards. These plans can also be used
as a model with other stories.
Self-healing activities can be found in the teacher
guide and on the Web site. These include activities
that allow students faced with trauma or loss to reestablish
a feeling of safety and some degree of control over
The teacher guide and Web site offer a section called
Literature Connection that contains an annotated list
of books for classroom use. The Web page also contains
Web links to lesson plans and activities for many of
Using the context of language arts standards,
The Language of Trauma and Loss
strives to help teachers understand the importance of providing
a safe environment, both physically and emotionally, for
students. It also gives teachers and students a better understanding
about why some behaviors occur. While teachers are not expected
to be counselors, it is hoped that this program will help
them identify children whose behavior shows that they may
need professional help.
Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc. All rights