Pay Attention to…YOURSELF…with Sensory Bridges

Teaching is a labor of love, but to sustain yourself, make time to pay attention to YOU!

Teaching is a labor of love, but to sustain yourself, make time to pay attention to YOU!

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

Teaching is a labor of love. You can see the passion in the faces of teachers around the world.

But, teaching can be exhausting!

As a new school year gets underway, make sure to make time to pay attention to yourself.

Restore your energy by rejuvenating with sensory bridges. What’s a sensory bridge?

According to artist Peter J. Woytuk, “art forms a sensory bridge to expand our awareness, make connections and deepen our appreciation of the natural world.”

If we define art as expression in many forms, think of sensory bridges as paths to rejuvenation through accessing and enjoying the arts.

Start with the Art of Laughter – A quick read (authors unknown) of a couple of actual answers given on history tests and in Sunday school quizzes by fifth grade students in Ohio (US) might make you laugh…

Ancient Egypt was old. It was inhabited by gypsies and mummies who all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of the Sarah is such that all the inhabitants have to live elsewhere. 

The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn’t have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a young female moth.

In the first Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits, and threw java. The games were messier then than they show on TV now.

Retired educator, H.T. Conner, is full of laughter. He loves to share funnies like these…

Why are smiles so easy to wear? Answer: They come in all sizes.

What is laughter? Answer: A smile that multiplies. 

What is a giggle? Answer: a run-away smile.

H.T. still runs track at the gym. He laughs himself when he asks, “What do humans have in common with a yo-yo?” Answer: They have their ups and downs.

Try another sensory bridge…

De-stress A.S.A.P. – Always Say A Poem – Medical research shows that reciting rhythmic verse slows your heart rate and helps calm you.

A small garden outside a classroom window can be a sensory bridge to help you rejuvenate.

A small garden outside a classroom window can be a sensory bridge to help you rejuvenate.

Select a favorite poem to read aloud as a sensory bridge or tap your inner poet and make up a poem of your own from what you see in nature.

Go outside or look out a window. Picture a garden of creativity, and say/write what you see.

Here’s a free-verse poem I wrote with this creative technique:


You play tricks with the sunlight,

Draw long shadows across a rowboat’s bow,

Host a game of hide and seek with songbirds,

Reach with strength to the sky as moonlight dances between your branches.

Take a Brain Break – Sometimes, it’s best to simply take a brain break!

STOP…turn everything off. Breathe. Mentally excuse yourself from your circumstances. Go to a quiet place in your mind.

Where do you wish you could be? Why are you where you are? Pretend you “just landed” and can start anew. Create a sense of rejuvenation.

It’s important to rejuvenate with sensory bridges that are not technology-dependent. Research suggests that more of us, especially college-age and under, are becoming disconnected from in-person communications.

This finding was underscored in a recent feature on “CBS Sunday Morning” (US network program). The feature detailed a study in which young people began to panic when they “surrendered” their cell phones for 24-hours of no texting. Some opted out of the study because they couldn’t stand life un-wired.

Unplug for a while. Look around your corner of the world and think about sensory bridges that can help you rejuvenate. Pay some much-needed attention to yourself.

Please send comments about strategies you use to rejuvenate during a school year.

Remember you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in (or out of) any instructional setting!

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet


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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers
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."

Related Posts: Let "Listen Star" Work Magic for You