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Curriculum for Teaching Emotional Self-Regulation

Curriculum for Teaching Emotional Self-Regulation

These lesson plans are designed for a team teaching approach, involving English/Language Arts in collaboration with adjustment counselors, guidance counselors, school psychologists, and other mental health clinicians. They are designed to be used with high school students.

The lesson plans can be used for analyzing virtually any piece of literature depicting characters facing emotional situations and interpersonal conflict. We encourage you to tailor the lesson plans for use with any literature of your choosing, and for this reason the lesson plans and student activity handouts are provided in easily modified format. You can use the four lessons either as a group or individual intervention. You can also use these lessons with a bibliotherapy group.

Theses lessons were developed by the School Psychiatry Department at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Student manual:

“Brain Driver’s Education: Operator’s Guide to Using Your Brain to Get Where You Want to Go” (PDF)

Lesson on emotional regulation: “How hot or cold does your emotional ‘engine’ run?”

Lesson on self-calming methods: “Downshift to a lower gear, with help from your body”

Lesson on reframing feelings before acting on them: “Slow down and look around you”

Lesson on conflict resolution: “Find the best route to your destination”

Materials Disclaimer:
These documents are available under a royalty-free license at and are provided courtesy of Massachusetts General Hospital (“MGH”). Any modification of this document is prohibited. This document is intended to provide general educational information concerning feelings, thoughts and behavior. By making available the information contained in the document, MGH is not attempting to practice medicine or providing specific medical advice. This document should not be used as a diagnostic tool or to substitute, replace or overrule a health care
professional’s judgment or clinical diagnosis. Users should consult with a trained mental health professional for individual situations and for answers to personal questions.

About The Author

Scott Carchedi

Scott Carchedi is the founder and co-editor of SSWN. Scott provides technology support and consultative services to school social work associations across the US. Scott is also a practicing school social worker in the western suburbs of Chicago, serving grades 9-12.


  1. Beth Page

    This is great! I work at a behavioral school, and this really applies to my students.

  2. Scott Carchedi

    Thanks for letting us know, Beth! I also work at a therapeutic program and have found the curriculum useful. It is a bit simplistic and I have started using the School Connect Program which I like even more. Eventually, I plan to write a post on the curriculum. Stay tuned!

  3. Christine

    This is a fabulous resource and I can’t wait to get started!


    What a wonderful ressource!
    Our school is in it’s second year of immersing itself into self-regulation pedagogy. We have had multiple workshop with Mike McKay, who collaborated with Dr. Stuart Shanker to found the Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative. I have implemented many strategies in my classroom and can see a difference in my students (grade 7 & 8s). Because I work in a French school, the difficulty I have comes in the form of written ressources I could pass on to the students. I was wondering if you would allow me to translate some of the material you have here, particularly the Student Manual. I would clearly site you as well as this website on the bottom of every page. I just found that this explanation is something that the kids could easily understand. I feel that the concept of self-regulation will seem more real to them if some of it is on paper.

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