Several times this week, I have commented to people that it feels like a blizzard is coming. I have said this, not because it's cold, but because the kids, (the whole school really), just seem excited or agitated. It may be because November is always a hard month after Halloween, conferences, lots of days off or half-day, up coming holidays and preparations for the holidays.. The talk of the election and the feelings about it, good or bad, may also be contributing to it. There is definitely a different energy in the air, and I have seen more rough play outside and hurtful words. Whatever the cause, I decided to take time today to do some deep breathing and mediation with the children. The children laid down and had a stone on their belly to help them focus on their breathing. We listened to quiet music and focused on relaxing different parts of the body. Then we sat up and continued to breathe in through their nose and out their mouth. We did some slow, gentle head rolls and rolled shoulders back to release some tension. We will practice this on a regular basis.
We also read the book Moody Cow Meditates, by Kerry Lee MacLean. This book is about a cow who is having a horrible day. Ask me to tell you why Moody Cow was having a bad day, and what he did on purpose out of frustration. The story ends with a visit from grandpa cow who helps Moody Cow meditate, and shows him the Mind Jar. The mind jar is simply a jar with sparkles in it, much like a snow globe. When it turn it upside down several times, the sparkles spinning and move around, like your mind when you are busy, upset or anxious. Breathing in and out and watching the sparkles settle is a good strategy to use to help settle your thoughts.
Tomorrow we will make a class Moody Cow Mind Jar, but you can make one at home too. Here's all you need:
an empty, clean glass jar - clear mason jars work well
sparkles or glitter in at least one color - the finer the glitter the more sparkle
a bottle of glycerin or corn syrup - corn syrup is cheaper but is a little yellowish
some liquid dish soap or hand soap - clear works best - this allows the glitter to sink instead of staying at the top
Fill the jar 3/4 full with warm water. Add glycerin or corn syrup almost to the top of the jar. Put in about four or five drops of liquid soap. Put the lid on and shake to to dissolve the glycerine or syrup and soap in the warm water.
Then, take the lid off and put in a pinch of glitter for each thought you need to release from your mind. You can use different colors for angry thoughts, fearful thoughts. You can also add in another color for kind thoughts you need to remember are always in your mind.
Put the lid on again, and mix it up my turning the jar upside down, the right-side up, five or six times. Set the jar down and breathe in and out as you watch the glitter settle to the bottom of the jar.
Here's another idea for a mindfulness jar:
We also worked more with short a today. We watched a silly video called Stand By Your Can. Enjoy!
After we were adequately inspired by this video, we wrote words with /an/ in them. We started wtih short consonant/vowel/consonant words then added endings to the words, such as s and ing. We also added blends and digraphs to the beginning of the words. We wrote longer and longer words. We even wrote Thanksgiving by breaking it down into parts. We impressed ourselves!
In writing today, we wrote about what we are thankful for. I will be posting these later on our Home Page. The children were very thoughtful about what they chose. I did not coach them or tell them they could not say toys, so you should be very proud of what they chose to write about.
It's possible I'm partial, but I think we were one of the best classes during the fire drill today. They walked quickly and mostly quietly, and waited silently for instructions. Bravo!
Have a nice evening!