Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
Holiday season activities, immediately past and coming soon, can add to attention problems for students, especially kids who are under stress.
Catch your class’ attention and help relieve stress by inviting students to enjoy SILLY MINUTES.
Start a set of SILLY MINUTES this way…
Surprise everyone by interrupting yourself on purpose, in the middle of a sentence (at a time that suits your schedule, of course).
Glance at the classroom clock and announce in a theatrical voice, “Oh, it’s time for SILLY MINUTES! We must stop what we’re doing for now and pick it up later, after we’ve gotten silly.”
Some children will begin to laugh, but ALL eyes will be on you. Scoot to the board in front of the class and write the words SILLY MINUTES in all capital letters.
Tell the class that you’ve capitalized the words SILLY MINUTES to show how important they are.
Plan your own SILLY MINUTE activities. Be creative.
Make more kids laugh by opening up a pop-up book and telling the class that the character you’re showing is proud of the poems it writes!
A peacock who writes poems? That’s silly!
In English, you might use a name like Ida B. Gonenow. Tell the class that Ida has a cousin, Ima G. Neverreddy. Explain that Ida and Ima love to complain and get silly.
Read a silly rhyme or two, like…
What Time is It?
I’ve got a hunch,
it should be time for lunch.
Wish we could ditch the math for candy,
and enjoy some crunch, crunch, crunch!
How else can you let kids enjoy SILLY MINUTES to de-stress?
Ask the class what would happen if _____________________ (a funny children’s character who is popular in your region or country, or another part of the world) suddenly dropped in for a visit.
Invite kids to take turns acting out the character.
This activity opens the door to helping children learn about other cultures and customs.
In Latin America, for example, the popular Mexican comedian, “El Chavo del Ocho” (Roberto Gomez Bolanos) is still appreciated for his funnies.
Before his death in 2014, Bolanos appeared on television as “El Chavo del Ocho,” and played the part of a naive superhero named “El Chapulin Colorado,” which translates into English as “The Crimson Grasshopper.”
A red insect as a superhero? Is that silly?
Silly? Yes…and smart! Letting kids enjoy SILLY MINUTES de-stresses children and also sparks creative thinking!
Show the class a world map at the start of a set of SILLY MINUTES, and take them on an imaginary journey to discover silly characters.
If you stop by Germany, tell students about the well-loved sprite (elf-like creature called a Kobold) named Pumuckl, who lives there. He gets into mischief. (Kids love that!)
Pumuckl is invisible except to the master carpenter, Eder, with whom Pumuckl lives.
Challenge your class to pretend to be invisible during SILLY MINUTE time. See what they do.
Fly on (with imagination) to India and introduce your class to Dinkan, a popular superhero there who was a naughty mouse until he was kidnapped by aliens, given superior strength, and granted the ability to fly.
Invite kids to get silly acting like a superhero mouse.
Encourage students to “perform” for the whole class during SILLY MINUTE time.
- Who wants to be a silly puppeteer? Bring out a puppet or stuffed animal and ask volunteers to bring the puppet or animal to life for some fun.
In addition to helping children de-stress, SILLY MINUTES can become a reward for good work. “Let’s enjoy some SILLY MINUTES,” you might say after a difficult assignment or test. “Our brains will enjoy a rest!”
Using the word MINUTES along with the word SILLY signals that those moments you offer your class are just that, moments only…
a time for “kids to be kids” and a part of school days that children will appreciate as they endure stressful times during a holiday season or any time.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Talk with you again soon,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet