Help Students Manage Their Anger with a Mad Pass

Helping students self-regulate their behavior is often a challenge at all levels of school. One former graduate student of mine was a middle school teacher in an urban school district. She created something called a Mad Pass to help students with dealing with anger in the classroom. This Mad Pass had several easy-to-us components to make it work:

Anger Ladder

This teacher created a poster sharing the levels of anger that we all face:

  • 0 = calm
  • 1 = annoyance
  • 2 = anger
  • 3 = rage
As students come into class each day, students would use this poster to communicate to their teacher where they were "at." For example, 0 means calm,  while 2 would mean angry.

The Mad Pass

If her students being feeling angry (2) or higher, students were encouraged to grab the Mad Pass and exit the classroom to get a drink. If this becomes an issue in your classroom, you could even have a "chill zone" with items to calm the student down.


Just taking the Mad Pass into the hallway is enticing for any student who wants to skip out on class time. In order to add accountability, this teacher added a timer to limit how long they left the classroom and a sheet of paper to analyze their emotions.

Returning to the Class Environment

Students bring back the mad pass and sheet of paper. This sheet of paper is their "ticket" back in their seat. They cannot sit down until they have a conversation with the teacher about what happened and what the student will do differently next time. 

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