Creating Trauma Responsive Toolboxes: Strategies to Enable Student Learning and Psycho-Social Development

This workshop is designed to be hands-on, allowing participants to understand and develop strategies that ameliorate the trauma that students of all ages and stages are experiencing in today's world -- trauma than antedated the pandemic, COVID related trauma including the impact of social distancing, maskes and school closures, and racial tensions (at least in the US). We will collectively be creating and discussing trauma responsive toolboxes, These toolboxes are the subject of two articles I have written and are related to my just released book, Trauma Doesn't Stop at the School Door.  Link to relevant article:  The toolboxes can be used by students and they can be created with students. They can sit on students' desks; they can be carried in backpacks; they can be left on nightables.  Teachers and counselors may also want these toolboxes for their own desks/offices, for student use or their own use to curb secondary and vicarious trauma (they are different).  In short, they contain a myriad of trauma responsive tools and what is in the boxes can change depending on the particular ages and stages of students.  Also, these toolboxes message: there is something concrete we can do to ameliorate trauma. We can never eliminate it once it has occurred but we do have the tools to lessen the damage, including feeling stones; feathers; pipecleaners; worry dolls and figurines. We will discuss what these and other items can accomplish. Given trauma's profound impact on our mind and body, these toolboxes become pathways forward, signaling loudly that we can deal with trauma symptomology more effectively.  One participant will win a trauma responsive toolbox that I will mail to them.  Also, participants will receive a discount code for my new book, enabling its purchase at a reasonable price.

Target Audience


To Bring/Important Notes

Participants should bring two blank sheets of paper, pencils/crayons/markers, and a dish they are willing to break -- a cup, a saucer, a bowl, glue and gold nail polish (or any other color if gold is hard to get).


Friday 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

This session is full.


  • Finn Partners
    Karen Gross

    I am an author and educator with expertise in trauma and its impact on student learning and psycho-social development. My new book, Trauma Doesn't Stop at the School Door (Teachers College Press, June 2020) provides educators, counselors and social workers with micro and macro trauma responsive strategies.  For details, see:  I currently serve as a continuing education instructor at the Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work. I am a visiting professor at Bennington College and College Unbound.  I serve as artist in residence at an elementary school in Bennington VT. that serves 100% free and reduced lunch children.