You are in the trenches now, educators! All of your training has brought you to this very moment: 2 weeks from the end of the year. Prayerfully, all the main concepts have been covered, parents talked to, and routines established. But now, you are a lion tamer for 9.5 days of school.
Now, before you read further, I am not your stock mental image “hippie teacher”. I am not saying using technology in these ways is the magic meditative cure to wild children. Some days though, this stuff works. And: I will take those glorious 10 minutes. Any calming activity should also be paired with as many active lessons or times to get those almost-summer-ready-to-burst bodies moving!!
Here are trench tactics I have used this year to create a calm vibe for learning. When structured well, it can flow over into the attitude of students in the next activity.
Whale watching: http://www.vanaqua.org/learn/see-and-learn/live-cams/beluga-cam
Right now, we are learning about types of whales! Thank you, aquarium in Vancouver, for having a webcam linked to your graceful Beluga whales. Throw this up on the Promethean board with some calm music, dimmed lights and let them watch for a moment and then write 2-3 questions about the animal. I have done many-a search on zoo animal webcams. This can be an incredible window for children into a zoological mindset.
(Today we had 3 minutes of quiet, watch whale time in the afternoon. It was lovely.)
Emotion Music Art Project:
This is one I preface with “no talking” but soon after getting into it, the children don’t contest that. Play a few different slow music pieces (wordless is best). Have students color or paint (if you’re very brave) the way the music makes them feel. You could offer coloring pages for those who are intimidated by a blank white page.
Chill soundtracks (Rain forest or meditation or ocean):
This week I am starting every day with the front row of lights OFF in the classroom and calm meditation music playing as they walk in the room. Oh, does it start the day on nice foot. I am not sure if it calms the children or myself more, but as long as its a smooth start, does it matter? 🙂
I’ve printed spelling words on blue paper, put blue backgrounds on my bulletin boards, used blue font on my smart board and required blue crayons for some Math activities. I don’t know why this lovely color is focusing and calm, but, it is.
And not the least important: P R A Y E R!!!!
God’s peace to you all!