Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
Stop, look and listen…listen with an extra-attentive ear to your students when school starts tomorrow.
Do they seem moody? If the answer’s yes, maybe you need to help them cook up some comfort to manage their moodiness.
COOKIN’ UP COMFORT – We can’t always do that literally, although it’s fun when we can, but teachers can help kids de-funk and develop a taste for writing and art by inviting them to cook up comfort in an illustrated essay or poem.
Save this attention-getting trick for the afternoon when students appear distracted and struggle with paying attention.
Lead cookin’ up comfort by saying something like this…“Is it just me, or has it been a long day, one that’s made us a little tired and edgy?
Continue the hook by asking if students find themselves wishing for something sweet, like chocolate cake, to have as soon as possible. Add a mouth-watering question and answer, like this, “Is your mood making you want chocolate cake and macaroni and cheese tonight? They dish up SO MUCH comfort!”
By now the kids are hooked. Start actual writing time by announcing that everyone has a favorite comfort food. Ask the class, “What’s yours?”
Invite students to use some quiet, private writing and illustration time to describes his or her favorite comfort food on paper.
Encourage the kids to express through their writing and art when they find themselves hungry for comfort. Reading their work will give you insight into their individual concerns and needs.
Kids’ writing and illustrations are windows into their minds and hearts. Looking through those windows can help you manage their moodiness.
Color also expresses feelings, catches kids’ attention and helps manage moodiness.
Try this hook; it’s perfect for a rainy day when kids are disappointed because outdoor recess is cancelled…
CRAZY ABOUT COLOR – On a rainy afternoon, look around the classroom and say, “Oh my, everyone’s looking a bit blue.” Experienced teachers know that moodiness in children is often rooted in worry.
Suggest brightening up the day by playing a game called Crazy About Color.
How to play:
- Ask students to listen for color words as you begin the game. You say, “Grandma says that she feels great. She says she’s ‘in the pink.’ Grandpa got so mad the other day that Grandma says he was ‘seeing red.’ Sometimes on rainy days, like today, I get to ‘feeling blue.’ Then my mom bakes my favorite cake and life seems rosy again.”
- Ask kids to think of their favorite colors.
- Then ask, “Is your favorite color special because it makes you think of something you like or why?” Challenging questions quickly catch attention.
- Tell the class that people associate colors with all kinds of things. Point to something that displays a range of colors and allow time for kids to say aloud what colors are special to them and why.
- Explain that one way to deal with worry is to describe worry as a color. “If worry were a color, I think it would be unmistakably grey,” you might say. Ask your kids what they think to continue the conversation.
After a game of Crazy About Color, start color-based writing time. Give students sheets of pre-printed paper that lists colors. Leave space between each color for them to write about their personal color associations.
In one of the classes where I played my Crazy About Color game an eight-year old girl wrote a poem about yellow.
Yellow is the sun.
It is relaxing
Yellow is fun.
It is beautiful,
It is loving,
Yellow is the color
Some of the best tricks to help manage moodiness involve humor. As the old saying goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Humor is a proven attention-getting tool. Share funny poems with the class to lift children’s spirits. Invite kids to sprinkle some humor into their comfort cookin’ and color-related writing.
Please send comments about how you help students manage their moods.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Stop by for Mid-Week Focus on Wednesday.
Talk with you again soon,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet