Fear Triggers – Spider Prop Activity


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Using a spider prop for drama work can be a fun way to engage in learning conversations about Emotion Triggers and Behaviours with photo and symbol supports

Fear Triggers – Spider Prop Activity

Using a spider prop to engage in some drama work can be a fun way to engage in learning conversations about Emotion Triggers and Behaviours with photo and symbol supports.

This activity was carried out in a Specialist Provision for pupils with learning and communication needs, and was linked into using a symbol prompt board (see link) to help learners identify and talk about their own triggers for feeling frightened.

The teacher took photos of the drama scenario to help pupils observe and talk about how people behave when they’re frightened.

Some examples of verbal prompts when looking at the photographs… can you describe your mouth, eyes, eyebrows, forehead…? / I see your wide eyes / how is he showing he’s scared? / what are her hands doing?

An alternative to using photo prompts for supporting language would be to use some Behaviour symbol prompt sheets (see links).

The Emotion Words scared and frightened can be used interchangeably in an activity like this, or limited to one, depending on your learners. Having a scared/frighted symbol prompt visible encourages staff and pupils to say aloud the words targeted.

Emotion Work Levels and Adult Input

The first activity sheet example below was completed by a learner who is beginning to be introduced tothe cog concepts. As you can see she has a good understanding of the vocabulary used and was able to independently choose symbols and make a distinction between the things that make her feel excited and scared. The activity sheet scaffolded her responding in accordance with the cog system.

The dry wipe trigger card could have done the same job as this activity sheet alongside a scared/frighted and excited symbol. The behaviour card could then be brought in beside it to support discussion about facial expressions and actions when feeling scared and excited.

Learner at the stage of starting to be introduced to the cog concepts of Triggers and Emotion Words.











In the second example below the learner is still at the level of learning emotion works vocabulary so to support this activity the adults need to make lots of references to props, photos and symbols while saying the words that are the focus for learning.

If you look at the notes at the bottom of the activity sheet you’ll see the level of adult support required to complete the fear trigger task. This child had been a non-verbal participant of the drama activity but had shown apprehension towards the spider prop, so the teacher helped select the spider symbol for the sheet. Knowing the child well, she also drew attention to the ‘dirty hands’ symbol, which on it’s own triggered a fear response from the child in the form of a scream.

Learner at the stage of learning emotion works vocabulary and non-verbal responding