Students in High Road at Denton Elementary School practiced using coping skills by creating “Calming Critters” when participating in a group counseling session with High Road Social Worker, Ileana Hoffman, LGSW. Group session focused on identifying feelings and exploring new coping tools. Ms. Ileana and students engaged in discussion about different feelings and knowing the signs your body gives you about what you’re feeling. For example, when a student feels worried, his stomach may feel upset or when he is angry he may feel like his face is red. Students identified coping tools that help them manage their feelings at school such as asking for a self time-out or communicating with staff. Ms. Ileana introduced “Calming Critter” while emphasizing the goal for students to have a variety of skills they can use to manage their feelings. Students created their own “Calming Critter” by utilizing a variety of yarn colors and other craft supplies. Students displayed creativity by giving their critters unique hair cuts, creating eyes, feet, antennae, mouths, etc. When Calming Critters were finished, students learned how they can use their Calming Critters as a coping tool. Students practiced using their Calming Critters in a variety of ways such as whispering worries to the critter, holding it when angry or upset, and using it as a fidget tool when overexcited or when listening to their teacher read. Students were excited to have a Calming Critter to add to their coping skills tool box!