Anger Trigger Analysis

Trigger Recognition, Anger Management, Stress Management

UDL 6.1

Anger Trigger Analysis is a process during which students identify triggers or situations that commonly cause them to feel angry and determine alternative behaviors to display instead. An Anger Trigger Analysis typically involves guiding students to reflect on previous times they have felt angry and their response. Independently or with the help of a teacher, students then generate strategies and positive actions they can engage in when encountering similar situations in the future. This process empowers students to acknowledge emotions, plan coping strategies, and take ownership of their behavior. Encouraging students to recognize their triggers helps build self-regulation skills and promotes a positive behavioral and emotional climate within the classroom.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Graphic Organizer

Anger Trigger Analysis

This graphic organizer helps students analyze their emotional triggers and create a plan for how to handle them with scaffolded variations. Also included is a bank of common triggers and coping strategies.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Behavior & SEL · 3 pages

Picture Choices

Picture Choices: Calm Down Strategies

A Picture Choice Card with 12 different calm down strategies that can be independently implemented in the classroom by the student. This picture choice card gives students a non-verbal option for selecting a strategy to calm down when feeling angry or upset. This resource can also be printed and used as visual reminder of different choices available in a Calm Down Space in the classroom.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages

Self-Management Tool

Behavior Goal Planning and Reflection Graphic Organizer

This graphic organizer helps students through the goal-setting process. Also included is a bank of common behavioral goals, obstacles, and strategies to support students setting and meeting their own goals.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Behavior & SEL · 3 pages

Implementation Tips

Graphic Organizers
Use a graphic organizer or reflection sheet to help students identify triggers and plan alternative behaviors. Check out these examples of tools to use in your classroom: [[|Anger Map]], [[|“How I Feel” Reflection Form]], and [[|Stress Scale]].
Teacher Modeling
Model reflecting on personal experiences to show how to effectively recognize triggers and process emotions. For example, a teacher might share, “This morning I woke up late and then on the way to work a driver kept cutting me off. This made me feel so frustrated and aggravated. Have you ever felt frustrated, aggravated, or even angry before?”
Class Culture
Create a safe learning environment where students feel free to express themselves. Set clear expectations when students share about triggers or challenging situations in a whole-class setting (e.g., listen respectfully, keep information shared private, etc.). Be mindful of ways to keep students’ personal, emotional, and academic history confidential.
Communication Tools
Prepare tools to help students identify triggers and describe the emotions they are experiencing. An Emotions Chart that includes visuals representing different emotions can be beneficial for students with communication challenges.
Calming Space
Designate a Calming Space or area of the classroom where students can cool down and engage in activities to calm their emotions. Provide visual reminders or calming strategy picture choices to reinforce positive alternative behaviors.
Student-Teacher Conferences
Use Student-Teacher Conferences as a time to help students set behavior goals. During these meetings, a teacher and student can discuss triggers and focus on identifying coping strategies and alternative behaviors. Meet regularly with target students to reflect on progress, provide reinforcers, and build accountability for achieving goals.
Role Playing
Provide opportunities for students to practice alternative behaviors. Use Role Playing during class meetings and individual conferences to practice strategies to regulate emotions (e.g., deep breathing, count to ten, etc.).


Prompting Individual Students
A teacher meets with a student who has challenges controlling their temper in class. After completing an Anger Trigger Analysis reflection form, the teacher and student discuss alternative behaviors. The student draws an image on an index card to represent each alternative behavior (e.g., picture of a hand to represent asking for help, etc.). When the teacher notices the student losing their temper, the teacher subtly prompts them to try an alternative behavior by stating, “Time to pick a card.”
Whole-Class Check In
For a class meeting, a teacher creates a chart with smiley faces displaying different emotions (e.g., frustrated, excited, angry, etc.). The teacher asks students to silently put a check mark next to two of the emotions they felt during the past week. The teacher then prompts a discussion about emotional triggers based on student responses (e.g., “I noticed that many of you chose frustrated. What made you feel that way?”). The class then brainstorms alternative behaviors and strategies to use when faced with the situations listed.
Establishing Group Norms
Before introducing a group project, a teacher asks students to write one thing that has been difficult or caused them frustration when working on projects in the past. Students post their notes on the board and read each other's ideas. The teacher then assigns students to groups and asks, “What are things you’d like to agree to as a group to make sure you are able to work well together?” Each group creates a list of group norms (e.g., Each person contributes, listen respectfully, etc.) based on the ideas on the board.

Related Strategies