This month needs to start with a reminder to breathe. Do what Colbie, Common, and Elmo tell you to, and feel better.
Most teachers, I imagine, fight an ongoing battle between “I desperately want to take as much time as it takes to make each child feel heard and loved,” and “WE NEED TO WORK AS HARD AND AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!!!” The first voice would result in 26 well-loved children who can’t read, the second voice would result in 26 angry children who hate to read because everything is a fight.
In May, I’m going to focus on daily connection rituals in my classroom:
- Morning Meeting: pass a stuffed animal around, everyone gets to tell something
- 3-Minute Relaxation: belly breathe, listen to a secular, kid-oriented meditation of some kind
- 3-Minute Dance Party: our favorite right now is “Happy” by Pharrell
- more to be found and invented! 🙂
These rituals are about connecting with each other and with our emotions. We are having more and more angry and/or violent outbursts lately, and it doesn’t matter where they came from as much as what we do with them. Kids can learn to respond to their emotions. I can learn to do better, too.
Today we listened to “Belly Breathe,” followed by the story “Sea Otter Cove.” One of my occasional monsters said as soon as it was done, with a big sigh, “I liked that.” Another, more articulate, sometimes-monster said, “Wow, that was cool. I was feeling mad, and now I feel good.” More of this, please!
This time of year, I always think about how little time I have left with them, and what is the most important thing I can do for them. My intention is to send them into summer with a mindset that says, “School is awesome! I will miss this. I can’t wait for 2nd grade.” That seems like something that will propel them forward.
(By the way, self, connection rituals might be a good habit to start the year with, too!)