I am just discovering the full potential of a free app called Tap Roulette – Make Decisions with Friends put out by laan labs. You can find it in the App Store for your iPad. I have no affiliation with this app. I just find that I use it consistently so I thought I would review it. Basically students put one finger down on the screen and lights appear alternating under the fingers until one is lit up. It is a random impartial way to make choices. Obviously it is a good app to use in therapy to choose quickly who goes first and who can choose an activity. I found out this tool actually has some additioal side benefits.
I have several students who have difficulties regulating their feelings and reactions with unexpected events in which they have no control. They end up with undesirable behaviors or refuse to join in an activity that is not of their choosing. I use Tap Roulette to set up such a situation so they can practice their strategies to remain calm and stay with the group.
It is very important to do pre-teaching of the strategies. There are a lot of programs out there that promote self-regulation and those techniques need to be taught before hand. Some of the strategies may be things you are familiar with such as deep breathing and self talk. I usually get student buy in and assurance from them before we start. We all have bad days so no use using it then. Even the ones that have the most difficulty usually want to do it. If they are not chosen and remain calm I give a lot of praise for keeping feelings in check and staying with the group. This seems to be a strong reinforcement that starts to break the cycle of an immediate blow up. This is such an important skill for students to learn socially in order to get along with their peers and function in a classroom.