Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
As the end of the school year or term draws nears, you may have students who act as if they’ve mentally left for vacation already!
Here’s an attentionology trick to pull students back where they still need to be…in school.
Use the magic of Mini Mind Wandering Time.
When it’s clear that students aren’t at their attention-best, hold the scold and suggest instead that it’s time for Mini Mind Wandering Time.
Imagine kids’ surprise when you unexpectedly give them permission to NOT pay attention – that is, to not pay attention for a limited amount of time.
Choose a Travel Zone to Mind Wander To – Lead into this magical Mini Mind Wandering Time by suggesting to the class that before you begin the lesson ahead, they’re free to choose a travel zone to mind wander to…for a few minutes.
Kick start imaginary travel time by asking where they’d like to be outdoors or indoors if they could be anywhere right now.
Ask for a few volunteers to call out their choice destinations.
A little call-out time releases energy and stress, paving the way for improved focus when you return to lesson time.
Then ask for absolute quiet.
Explain that mind wandering is private and requires quiet.
Encourage kids to imagine themselves using a magical mode of transportation to their travel zones.
Back to the Classroom Campground – Close Mini Mind Wandering Time with an announcement that now it’s time to meet back up at “the classroom campground” (or group meeting area with a name that suits your community, country and culture.)
Designating your classroom as “a campground” creates more opportunity for later mind wandering time. For example, when students seem restless, you can invite them to stand up, stretch, and picture themselves at “a campground.”
As kids rise, ask them to close their eyes and mind wander about what they might see and do at “a campground.”
Follow up this Mini Mind Wandering Time by instructing students to join you in a circle in the center of “the campground” for storytelling time.
How else can you use the magic of Mini Mind Wandering Time?
Mind Wander to Make Up Funny Names, Stories and Silly Stuff – Introduce this activity by announcing the opportunity to use Mini Mind Wandering Time to make up funny short stories and silly short poems or rhymes.
Start this mini work break entertaining your students with the funny names of two poets you pretend to be quoting. In English, you might use one name like Ida B. Gonenow.
Tell the class about her cousin, Ima G. Neverreddy.
Quote “Ida’s and Ima’s favorite rhyme – one of mine (see below).
What Time is It?
I’ve got a hunch,
it should be time for lunch.
Let’s ditch the math for candy bars
and enjoy the crunch, crunch, crunch!
Explain that Ida and Ima love to complain about school work; their minds wander all the time.
Ask your students to guess how well Ida and Ima do on end-of-term tests!
Tests aside during mind wandering time, invite kids to make up a funny name, short story, or silly poems of their own…before…you guessed it…“we all get back to work.”
In the middle of Spanish instruction, for example, put a puppet, like a little bear, on your hand.
The kids will be all eyes on you.
Make it look like you’re speaking directly to the puppet and ask it to spell a word phrase in Spanish, like adios amigos.
Then, using a made-up “puppet” voice, make the puppet say “Huh? What? What’d you say?” as if its “mind” had wandered.
Ask the class to repeat after you – an attentionology trick of its own – repeating – and say, “Oh no, little bear, you’re in mini-mind wandering time!”
Mind Wander for Pre-Writing Improvement – Pre-writing involves choosing a FOCUS for a poem or story.
If students have trouble thinking of a fictional focus, encourage them to spend “Mini Mind Wandering Time.”
Traveling by memory or imagination can lead to some wonderful settings for writing and learning.
Mind wandering enhances learning because it allows students and teachers to relax, but it also stimulates thinking.
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