SDEA’s Trauma Informed Instruction Offerings

Educators across South Dakota are speaking up and asking for help to support their students. More students are entering school with social and emotional issues. Members have expressed concern about the lack of support for these students and want to do something about it. SDEA is offering a series of trauma-informed classroom sessions to help educators understand and help their students. The five trainings taken together or separately will aid educators in their understanding of brain architecture, how trauma impacts a student’s ability to learn, and the impact of poverty on the daily lives of students and their families.

If you or your local association are interested in bringing trauma informed instruction to your school, click here to see how.

Trauma-Informed Classroom Sessions

Brain Architecture Game (1 hour +) — This session has participants building a model of a brain in the first 8 years of life.  Using a game format interspersed with short video segments and group discussion, teams learn about the impact of traumatic events on brain development and the role that social supports play in building resilience in young minds.

(Resiliency, and the Trauma-Informed Classroom (2 ½ hours +) — Educators are well aware that student behaviors have changed dramatically in the past decade or two.  They are also aware that classic classroom management techniques are often ineffective.  This training examines Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as the source of the change in behavior and focuses on building relationships with caring, nurturing adults as the starting point to redirect behaviors.  Participants will learn about the effects of ACEs on brain development and long-term health issues, how to boost resilience in your students to help them overcome traumatic events, and classroom strategies that work. (Includes the Brain Architecture Game described above in the 2 ½+ hours.)

Paper Tigers Screening and Discussion (2 ½ hours) — Paper Tigers is a 1 hr., 42 min. documentary chronicling a year in the lives of 6 students at an alternative high school after it radically changed its approach to discipline.  From getting into fights, grappling with traumatic events in their lives, and on the cusp of dropping out, they find healing, support and academic promise at Lincoln High.  Facilitators lead a debrief and discussion after the movie to allow participants to synthesize what they have seen into practical applications in their own setting to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families.  This movie contains graphic language.

Resilience Screening and Discussion (1 ½ hours) — Researchers have recently discovered a dangerous biological syndrome caused by abuse and neglect during childhood. As this one-hour documentary reveals, toxic stress can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children, putting them at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time, and early death. While the broader impacts of poverty worsen the risk, no segment of society is immune. Resilience, however, also chronicles the dawn of a movement that is determined to fight back. Trailblazers in pediatrics, education, and social welfare are using cutting-edge science and field-tested therapies to protect children from the insidious effects of toxic stress.  Facilitators lead a debrief and discussion after the movie to allow participants to synthesize what they have seen into practical applications in their own setting.

Understanding the Impact of Poverty on Students and Families (3 hours) — Educators are filled with compassion, so it is natural to want to help when we see students who need food, clothing or other essentials, but do we grasp the real, lasting toll poverty takes beyond what we see at school?  The Missouri Community Action Network has developed a poverty simulation that lets you experience being poor first-hand.  This training requires a larger group with a minimum of 40 needed to fully implement the simulation.