Send Richard a voice mail message

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Anger Ladder: A Lesson to Empower Students to Control Their Negative Feelings and Actions

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices. Accordingly, our mentees should know how to empower students to control their negative feelings so that those feelings do not disrupt classroom instruction. The Anger Ladder lesson is one instructional tool designed to help students achieve self-control over their negative thoughts, and counter-productive behaviors.

The teacher conducts a lesson on anger management for a student, a small group of students or the entire class.

The Anger Ladder Lesson[1] (Solomon & Solomon, 1985)

Enduring Jewish Knowledge Rationale for this Lesson: These middot: Erech Apayim-being slow to anger, Shalom Bayit-peace in the home, Samayach B’Chelko-being content with who you are and your situation, Somaych Noflim V’Rofay Chomlim Bayn Adam L’Atzmo- supporting, and healing the conflict inside of you.

Materials Needed: Anger Ladder handout (See the top of this post)


1. On the chalkboard, overhead, or presenter, the teacher records this verse from Proverbs 16:32: “Better to be slow to anger than mighty; to have self control than to conquer a city,” and facilitates a class discussion on its meaning.

2. The teacher then facilitates another classroom discussion on this question: Do we have the ability to control our negative emotions?

3. The Anger Ladder depicts three rungs or levels of negative feelings:

· We are on the annoyance rung of the Anger Ladder when we are irritated or bothered by some person or event. We are no longer annoyed when the person leaves, or the event ends.

· We are on the anger rung of the Anger Ladder when we are so upset by a person or event that we wish that person harm, or that event to meet disaster. Having that person or event cease is no longer a satisfactory resolution.

· We are on the rage rung of the Anger Ladder when our anger is out of control. We not only seek to personally harm that human being, or prevent that event from occurring, but cannot control our emotions or behavior. When we enter rage, a superior force is required to bring us under control.

4. The teacher presents the Anger Ladder graphic presented at the top of the post, and invites the students to complete the sentence fragments in the accompanying exercise.

Anger Ladder Exercise

Directions: Complete the following sentence fragments.

1. I get annoyed at home when ...

I get annoyed at school when ...

2. I get angry at home when ...

I get angry at school when ...

3. A time I got enraged was when ...

4. I have been taught that when I am angry I ...

5. The teacher invites students to form dyads (i.e.. learning pairs) to discuss their answers to the four sentence fragments.

6. The teacher facilitates a classroom discussion on student answers to this exercise.

7. The teacher makes the following point: Anger can be controlled, and it is a middah, a Jewish virtue, to learn to control our anger.

8. The teacher poses this question: Are there only three rungs on the Anger Ladder? The teacher invites students to generate additional rungs on the ladder such as disappointment, frustration, extreme anger short of rage, etc.

9. The teacher concludes the lesson by inviting students to complete this sentence: “One thing I learned from today’s lesson is ….”

On the next post we will discuss a follow-up lesson on how to handle negative feelings, stress and anxiety at school.

[1] Bettie McComb, guidance counselor at D.D. Eisenhower Elementary School, Fort Lauderdale, FL, originally created the Anger Ladder.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Jewish Education News Blog

Richard D. Solomon's Blog on Mentoring Jewish Students and Teachers