Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
Here’s a new windy way to power up a school day…
Windchime Music Powers Up a School Day – Surprise students and command instant attention by powering a windchime indoors with the touch of your hand.
Stand in front of the class with the windchime hidden from view at first.
Announce that it’s time to power up the school day.
Call on a few volunteers to guess how you plan to do that.
Then lift the windchime for all to see.
Even if the windchime makes music when you move it, tell the class that you will add more power to its music by tapping the chimes together.
Advise kids to listen to its sound…clang, clang, clink, clink…as you move the windchime more.
Engage the class further by inviting students to imitate the sound the windchime makes.
All of this takes but a few minutes of time. That’s the best part.
Because the point of powering up a school day is to get students focused, ready to learn, and into the lessons ahead.
If your curriculum calls for language arts instruction on the day you power up with a windchime, you might like to share the poem I wrote, titled Spring Song. (See below)
My windchime celebrates spring
as it swings in the afternoon sun,
playing a love song to the breeze that stirs its simple structure.
Carefree and shimmering,
this pure and enduring instrument of joy
delights visitors to my deck.
Five silver tubes tink, tap, tink, tap a center stone,
twisting and turning,
like the page of a calendar eager to leave March behind
to welcome April’s gentler days.
Two notes to teachers in the Southern Hemisphere…
1) substitute the word spring with the word fall in the first line of the poem.
2) change the last two lines to: like the page of a calendar eager to leave August behind/to welcome September’s stronger days.
Depending on the grade level you teach, use this poem to help students develop language arts skills.
Vocabulary Development – Some words in the poem, Spring Song (or Fall Song), may need explanation to help younger children gain full understanding of the picture that the poem paints.
Sound Words at Play – Talk about the sound words in the lyrical writing…tink, tap, tink, tap. Ask what other sound words work for a windchime.
Action Words at Work – Discuss the action words in the poem, such as twisting, turning…the movement the windchime makes as it creates a spring (or fall) song.
When you’re ready to move on to another lesson, ask what action words can power up a school day.
Answers may include turning (eyes toward you, the teacher) and focusing on the task at hand.
Stretch the concept of powering up a school day to help you later in the week or month by showing the windchime again and challenging students to write their own poems about a windchime sharing its power to make music.
Dream Catchers Silently Power Up a School Day – Dream catchers are windchimes of a different sort.
They wave gently and silently indoors when the air in a room is stirred by a night breeze through an open window or the whoosh of a cooling fan.
Native American dreamcatchers are colorful circular weavings with feathers and beads dangling down.
Many dreamcatchers are woven with a single bead at the center of the web.
Others simply have round holes at the center of the design.
Dreamcatchers hang in homes where children and their families believe in the magical power of dreamcatchers or at least enjoy these colorful and eye-catching decorations for a home.
The Native American Legend of the Dreamcatcher is a familiar story to children in the Great Plains of the United States and elsewhere where cultures and traditions from around the world have been shared.
The legend tells that when a dreamcatcher is hung above a bed, the good dreams pass through the woven center to the sleeping child. The bad dreams get trapped in the web and disappear at dawn’s light.
Many dawns mark the beginning a new school day when teachers have the opportunity to power up children and nurture good dreams.
Teachers can encourage kids to set aside fear and “aim high” to achieve their dreams.
Find a dreamcatcher to keep in your classroom. In the US, dreamcatchers are available in craft shops and even in dollar stores. Dreamcatchers are also available online.
Use your dreamcatcher with another language arts activity…
Dream Up a New Story – As a lead-in to writing time, hold up your dreamcatcher and ask the class if anyone knows the Native American Legend of the Dreamcatcher. Call on a student who knows the story to tell the legend. If no child knows the legend explain it in a few words.
Then ask the class to look at the dreamcatcher again.
Announce that you’ve become a dream catcher yourself; you want students to dream up a story (fiction) or share an actual dream they have for their futures (non-fiction) in a new story for you to read.
Prompt critical thinking by suggesting that in addition to being the basis for a Native American legend, the dreamcatcher could also be a story web.
Story webs are pre-writing tools that many teachers use to help children plan before they begin to write.
Point to the center bead or hole of the dreamcatcher and challenge students to see the center in a new way – as the focus of a new story to write.
Elaborate on this idea. Explain that if the center is the story focus, the web around the center is the support and elaboration students will write by adding details to weave their stories together.
As writing time begins, make the connection between powering up a school day and powering up our minds as we get ready to write.
When we write, we take what is in our minds and our hearts, and with our hands we get the writing down.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Please send comments about how you “power up a school day.”
Talk with you again soon,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet