Strategy Sandwiches

Today I'm excited about sandwiches! Not real sandwiches, although I do love a good chicken salad. Nope, I'm excited about the strategy sandwiches I found {here} so I decided to try a Calm Down sandwich for lunch.

photo of a strategy sandwich

Since I de-cluttered my office by putting a lot of stuff in my new suite, I now have room for a small bistro table. One student, who comes at lunch to practice her calm-down strategies, and I made this sandwich while she ate. The ingredients - some meat and cheese, two tomato slices and a piece of lettuce - represent the things that we've talked about trying when the worries start to overwhelm. We put it in a zipper sandwich bag and she tucked it in her lunch kit.

This activity leaves SO much room for variation. How about a respect sandwich? I see math integration, too, by having the students cut and identify their shapes. (The lettuce could easily be an oval or a triangle!) 
Here are some titles that lend themselves to a sandwich enrichment activity:

In this tasty tale, Carla's Sandwich by Debbie Herman, what will Carla do when she gets teased for her odd sandwich creations?

In The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania with Kelly DiPucchio, will their difference separate these fast friends?

In The Peanut-Free Café by Gloria Koster, kids in the Nutley school cafeteria learn a little bit about the challenges of coping with a peanut allergy.

What strategies could you sandwich together?


  1. I love this idea about a calming sandwich! We have so many kids who worry today. This would be a fine individual or group activity, thanks!

    I also have a neat little thing that the kids love too---it is a jar of colored rice and inside it I have put little words on labels like: relax, breathe, count and the kiddos have to locate all the words by shaking the jar.

  2. I'm thinking of making a Feelings Sandwich. Much like a sandwich has a lot of stuff in it we sometimes have a lot of different feelings stuffed into our bodies all the same time.

  3. I'm going to have to look for The Peanut Free Cafe. I have a child in my room this year who's severely allergic to peanuts ... even just the scent of it!
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  4. Barbara, what a fantastic idea!! This would be a wonderful group activity. So many possibilities for this too! Thanks so. Much for sharing!!

  5. I just came across this post - I'm a little late to the picnic, but I LOVE this idea! Yum! So clever!

  6. This is super cute! I LOVE that you put this project in a ziplock bag! I'm thinking as a group activity, you could do a lot of brainstorming beforehand for ideas and strategies to use on the sandwich pieces. I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions for discussion questions for afterwards or during selection just to enrich the activity? Any suggestions would be welcome :)

    I'm interested to read the Carla's Sandwiches book to maybe generate ideas from there, too.

  7. Oh, Sara, what a great question. I think for sure you could talk about how strategies are never one size fits all. Just like you can go to a sandwich shop and select only the ingredients that you, that's how you'd pick strategies for your calm-down sandwich. If counting to ten is like mustard to me, then I'm NOT putting it on my sandwich because I don't like mustard. Just a thought ....

  8. haha We usually use songs, but this is fabulous! I love your creativity, and your blog!

  9. Hi! I just find this at a thrift store and because i read our before i think I'll like too use out for my8year old son tho calm down when his anger explodes..but how it works? How to use it like a parent..thank you.

    1. When your son is NOT in the throes of anger, ask him to brainstorm with you some of the things that help him calm down. Write or draw those strategies on pieces of a sandwich, cut from construction paper. Put the "sandwich" in a calm-down spot that he uses to help him remember what might help him de-escalate. As he acquires more and more self-management techniques that work, he can add more "stuff" to his sandwich. Good luck!


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