Contract to Worry Less this School Term!

When worries have students down, introduce them to Dennis B.

Worries can weigh students down at the start of a new school term.

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

Start with a Question – Worry got ya down? This Q relates to many children.

Ask your class at the start of a school day if worry has a hold on anyone’s heart. Watch some hands fly.

You have their attention; now the key question is what can you do to help ease the distress?

Power a Flower with Sun Power – Only through our imagination can we bring the sunshine into our classrooms on rainy days.

Try this trick to put sunny smiles on the faces of K – 2 kids after they’ve endured a difficult school activity, such as taking a test.

Show the students a bendable flower, like one made of felt with wire underneath the stem from a dollar or toy store.

Tell the class that you found the flower in your “pretty pretend garden” and you picked it because it looked sad and worried.

“You look worried, pretty flower.”

Explain that you need help to brighten the flower’s day by bringing the sun inside to give it warmth and care.

Continue holding the class’ attention by asking the children to make the magic of the sun shine on the flower.

Invite one or two kids to come to where you’re standing with the flower in hand and hold the stem with you. Count in a loud voice with the class…“One, two, three, little flower, listen to me, the magic of the sun’s warmth and care will chase away your worries and make you happy!”

Then…

Bend the flower to a standing position and ask the class if they agree that now this flower looks much more worry-free and happy!”

“Ahhh…now the flower looks worry-free!”

The best tools to help kids focus have multiple applications.

Use my “flower-power” as part of an early grades science lesson to demonstrate the effects of sunlight.

Hang up a Worry Wash Line – Third and fourth grade classes will enjoy washing away worries with this clever classroom clothes line.

Ask kids to suggest ways to help themselves and others stay worry-free.

Hang a poster in class that encourages kids to find ways to be worry-free.

Stretch a cord above a section of your classroom and clip clothes pins with blank note cards to the line.

Tell your students when you first hang the line that you’ve added a Worry Wash Line to your room.

Announce that it’s open for anyone to pull off a card, jot down a worry, write one’s name or not, and clip it back on the line to wash the worry away.

When your students are not in the classroom with you, gain a greater sense of your students’ concerns by reading the notes they clip to the line.

Find Friends for Dennis B – Invite fifth grade students to take on the challenge of helping a fictitious character named Dennis B become more worry-free.

Find a large funny face or full body of a guy that you can name Dennis B and post him with a name tag on a classroom bulletin board or wall.

Post blank sticky notes all around the new class character. Invite students to use the replaceable notes to offer Dennis B an idea on how to be worry-free. Introduce Dennis B with a poem written in his honor…

Worry-Free

Dennis B vowed that he would live his life worry-free.

When problems tested his resolve, Dennis B said problems can be solved.

“Look,” Dennis said with poise, “let’s find solutions, not make noise.”

“Nashing teeth ’til jaws are sore will only make us worry more!”

“Simply put,” said Dennis B, “I feel much better worry-free.”

Create a Contract to Worry Less Individual contracts between a student and teacher and/or a student, teacher and parent are popular classroom management tools.

Why not write one that deals specifically with helping children control worry-related feelings and behaviors.

Format the contract any way that suits your needs, but it’s important to include a line for the student to write his or her name, age, and points of agreement, including a promise to bring persistent worry to the attention of a trusted adult.

Off we go to a new school year or term. Let’s try to worry less. Comments welcome, as always.

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

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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
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Solution: Show toy airplanes, pretending to make them "take off" across notebook paper. Explain to the class that stories, like airplanes, require clear "flight paths."

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