Time icon
Level icon
Material icon


1-2 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate


Drum (optional)


To help students learn techniques to notice their energy and emotion levels, and to regulate and refocus

  • Recitation of the Rosary
    • Start with the first part of the prayer “Hail Mary…”, students respond with the second part of the prayer beginning with “Holy Mary…”.
  • Patterned clapping
    • Lead a clap sequence and students repeat it.
  • Count to 10
    • Raise hands and count slowly to 10 and then back to one, while students follow.
  • Drumbeats
    • Beat a drum or tap desk slowly. Students stand and walk around the room following the tempo.
  • Reflect as a class on the reason for re-focusing, make the link to students’ emotional state.
  • Consider using materials that will support the cultural identity of your students.  Take a moment to discuss the significance of the instrument (e.g., Indigenous drum and association with heartbeat).
  • Reflection: Ask students to reflect on how prayer helps to center and refocus attention.

Behavioural self-regulation involves focusing attention, engaging working memory, and controlling sudden responses that can disrupt the emotional climate of the classroom, and inhibit learning (McClelland et al., 2007). Students who participate in these types of group-based refocusing activities demonstrate improvements in behavioural self-regulation, and academic outcomes (Diamond, Barnett, Thomas, & Munro, 2007; Tominey & McClelland, 2011).

Diamond, A., Barnett, W. S., Thomas, J., & Munro, S. (2007). Preschool Program Improves Cognitive Control. Science, 318(5855), 1387-1388.

McClelland, M. M., Cameron, C. E., Connor, C. M., Farris, C. L., Jewkes, A. M., & Morrison, F. J. (2007). Links Between Behavioral Regulation and Preschoolers’ Literacy, Vocabulary, and Math Skills. Developmental Psychology, 43(4), 947-959. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.43.4.947

Tominey, S. L., & McClelland, M. M. (2011). Red Light, Purple Light: Findings From a Randomized Trial Using Circle Time Games to Improve Behavioral Self-Regulation in Preschool. Early Education & Development, 22(3) 489-519. doi:10.1080/10409289.2011.574258

As Catholics, we recognize we are created in the image of God. We are connected, living in community, and recognize that every action and/or inaction affects ourselves, others, and the environment.

(4d) A self-directed, responsible, lifelong learner who responds to, manages and constructively influences change in a discerning manner.

Self-regulation and well-being: to develop regulating emotions, adapting to distractions, and assessing consequences of actions in a way that enables students to engage in learning