De-Stressors & Attention-Getters for the Holiday Season

A blank white board can be a relief for boggled minds. Blank boards are also clean slates that invite new ideas and information after rest time.

A blank white board can be a relief for boggled minds. Blank boards are also clean slates that invite new ideas and information after rest time.

Mid-Week Focus this week offers ideas to help teachers and students de-stress during a holiday season…

Sometimes Blank Space Is Best – If you’re suffering from “information overload,” take a few minutes out from your pressed school schedule and ask your class to join you in pointing to a blank white board. Any blank classroom space will do.

As the class waits to see what you’re up to, offer this de-stressing, refreshing attentionology trick…

…Tell the class that you want to ask two open-ended questions that allow totally free thinking, with no right or wrong answers.

Begin with a brief preface…

You could say, for example, “Class, your minds are like this blank board in some ways. They still have parts that are blank; you’re young; your minds have plenty of room to add important information and ideas as you grow.

Here’s my two-part question for you..

1) What would you like to learn today?

2) What would you like to fill the blank spaces of your mind?”

Listen for students’ answers and if you choose to, jot their responses on the blank board in a dark marker. Call their contributions a New Checklist for Learning.

Explain that because it’s a busy time of year, you’ll save these new learning goals for after the new year.

Giving kids an opportunity to ask for what they want is a big attention-getter. Your question puts the students in charge, at least for a few minutes.

When you bring out the class’ learning goals and add them to your curriculum planner, save time for individual students to come up front at the end of the day and “check off” what they wanted to learn on the list and believe they’ve successfully done that day.

This strategy offers the class a sense of “ownership” in their accomplishments.

Blank spaces can be a refuge when information overload strikes. They can also be useful teaching tools.

Take a Minute for Mini Mind-Wandering Time! – During transition time between lessons, tell the class that everyone is invited to take a minute for mind-wandering

Mini Mind-Wandering Time can include silly writing time.

Mini Mind-Wandering Time can include silly writing time.

before coming back together to focus on learning.

Mini mind-wandering helps everyone de-stress for a few minutes.

Short breaks of quiet private thought refresh body and soul. The key is to ask kids to “climb into their private QUIET mind-wandering zones for Mini Mind-Wandering Time.” Explain the importance of quiet to mind-wandering.

Offer the option for students to use Mini Mind-Wandering Time to write made-up silly words and phrases on blank sheets of paper. Being allowed to be silly, if only for a few minutes, is a big de-stressor.

Use a musical signal of some sort to catch the class’ attention when it’s time to get back to work. Music is a soft way to bring minds back from breaks.

Please send comments about tools and tricks you use in school to de-stress and draw students’ attention.

Look for Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers on Monday.

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Young students are getting noisy while you’re trying to teach.

Solution: Hold up "Listen Star," a toy magic wand that you’ve designated to be a cue for quiet. Tell the class, "When you see our friend, 'Listen Star' dance across the classroom sky, that’s your signal to HUSH for a moment."

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