Do you have students who get upset and struggle to self regulate independently to return to a happy state again? Using a zones of regulation poster can help teach your students to first identify which zone they are in and then to identify which strategies they can use to get back to the green “happy” zone.

The zones of regulation poster is a cognitive behavior approach to teach students to identify which of the 4 color-coded zones they are in. In addition, to identifying the zone they are in they also learn strategies to stay or move out of a particular zone.

Students will learn to use calming techniques, cognitive tools, and sensory strategies to move between zones.

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The Zones of Regulation Poster

The zones of regulation poster uses four colors to help students identify their emotions by labeling their emotion with a coordinating color. This approach helps the student become more aware of their emotional state in any given moment and to give them strategies to support regulation to stay or move out of that zone.

Students begin by identify the different emotional state or “zone” that they are in. Each of the four zones a represented by a color. The four colors are blue, green, yellow, and red.

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Zones of Regulation Poster

Create a calming corner in your classroom or office and review the four zones of regulation. Help teach the student to identify which zone they are currently in during good zones and bad zones. Then have the student choose a tool or strategy from the green zone to help them return the green zone of feeling calm, happy, and ready to learn again.

The Four Zones

  • The Red Zone is the highest emotional state when the student is experiencing anger, terror, explosive behavior, etc.
  • In addition, the Yellow Zone is still an elevated emotional state, however, the individual has more control over their behavior than if they were in the elevated zone of red. This student may be experiencing silliness, stress, excitement, frustration, etc.
  • The Green Zone is a calm emotional state. This is the student who is experiencing happiness, joy, content, is focused and ready to learn. This is the state we hope all students spend the majority of their day and where learning best takes place.
  • Furthermore, the Blue Zone is the lowest emotional state when the student is feeling sad, sick, bored, or tired.

Use the above four posters to help teach the concept of the four different emotional zones.

  • I feel…First, teach the emotional state the student might be feeling in any particular zone.
  • I am…Then teach the actions the student might be taking in the particular zone.
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Zones of Regulation Strategies Poster

Use the above poster to teach a few tools or strategies a student can use to help them regulate back to the green zone.

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    It’s Okay to Experience all Four Zones

    It is normal for students to experience all four of the zones. The zone of regulation poster is to help teach the student to identify and recognize which zone they are in and that they have the ability using specific tools and strategies to change the zone they are currently in into a zone they want to be experiencing.

    Here is an article going into more detail, All the Zones are OK! Tips for Managing the Zones You’re In.

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    In addition, to the premade posters I have also included a black version to allow the student to be apart of the process of creating the zones to make them as personal as can be. For example, maybe when the student is in the red zone they feel pissed and they are throwing books and the strategy that helps them the most is going on the calming swing.

    Use the blank versions to have your students write down their own answers and draw a picture of their own answers.

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      Want Even More Options?

      Furthermore, in addition to the blank version, I have included an adobe reader editable version that can be edited using the free version of adobe reader.

      All blue boxes are editable. Simply type in the blue boxes. Then have your student draw a picture to describe the text.

      Additional Lessons to Teach

      In addition to teaching the zones of regulation, it can be helpful to teach the following topics and lessons.

      • How to read others’ facial expressions.
      • Recognize a range of emotions within one’s self and others.
      • Identify another’s perspective.
      • Identify the impact of your behaviors on others.
      • Recognize their own triggers that put them in the red, yellow, or blue zones.
      • Problem-solving skills.

      Who can Teach The Zones of Regulation?

      The zones of regulation poster can be used by anyone wanting to help teach students to improve their self-regulation skills. To just name a few people who might want to teach the zones of regulation are special and regular education teachers, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, counselors, behaviorists, social workers, and parents.

      About the Author

      Leah Kuypers, MA Ed., OTR/L, is the creator of The Zones of Regulation®, a structured way to help teach self-regulation. Leah is the author of the book and two apps by the same name. She provides trainings and consultation to parents and professionals and conducts workshops on The Zones framework to groups around the world. Visit her website here, to learn more.

      In Conclusion

      Students can begin to self-regulate their own emotional state by first identifying the different emotional states or “zones” that they are in. The zones of regulation teaches that there are four zones. Each zone is represented by a color. The four colors are red (anger, terror), yellow (silliness, stress), green (happiness, joy), and blue (sick, bored). Lastly, the student can then recognize their emotional state and then they can use the tools and strategies to stay or move between the zones as they wish.

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