Spring has arrived!
This means two things are happening right now:
- The Boy is sneezing
- The Students are restless
Spring Break falls later this year than it has in the past, and as spring settles over our campus, the energy level of our students rises. Our older students begin to lean forward, looking at the near horizon which fills them with equal parts excitement and terror. They are thrilled to think of all the freedoms that middle school will bring, yet, fearful of leaving the only school home they have ever known.
I had a fairly restless day with my 3rd block class last week. They are my last class of the day, and so came to me simultaneously tired and excited. The class was a struggle that day, and I missed the peaceful, happy groove that we normally have.
The next day, I started off with one of my favorite educational websites: GoNoodle - which has short, adorable videos for movement, and brain breaks. I turned to their mindfulness section, and we started class with a Mindfull Minute - an opportunity to settle and refocus. It was really great. We've been doing it every day since, and each day they come into class -- they are better able to settle in and take that minute to refocus and redirect their energy. The best part is that I am more settled, too. I feel that that minute of focus and settling allows me to be a more effective teacher.
The excercise we did yesterday, involved imagining a balloon tethered to us by a string. We pulled the string and lowered it, and then raise it up - eventually letting it drift away. The narrator explained that this was a way to learn to let go of our stress. One of my students who really struggles with anxiety said, "That was really good. I'm gonna think about letting my stress float away next time." I loved the idea of this 5th grader being empowered to advocate for her own mental well-being.
I probably need those mindfull minutes more than anyone. I want to be present and focused when I am with my students - not thinking about whatever it is that I need to do next. It was a really good reminder. GoNoodle is free and you don't even have to be a teacher to use it. We used to do it as a family, too -- they've got quick excercises, silly games, yoga and mindfulness. You should check it out -- especially if you are a teacher. I should warn you though, if you watch the songs, "Cat Party" or "Kitty High Five", they will be on loop in your brain for at least a week. Proceed with caution.