Several years ago I was teaching a lesson to a class. It was a disaster. At least that was my initial assessment. The class was off-task in every way. If I remember correctly it was snowing outside and we were preparing for an early dismissal.
I was exasperated and my patience box was empty. I recall giving my “I’m disappointed in you” speech and instructing the class to be silent for the remaining five minutes. To coin a phrase, it was one of those days.
The following week when I had that class again several hands were immediately raised. When called upon, a student requested if they could do what they did last week. I was perplexed. What could this student possibly be referring to? Last week was something I wanted to move on from. However, in an effort to learn from the previous lesson, I asked what was it that we did which was so enjoyable. The response was unexpected, yet perfect. The student told me he wanted to sit absolutely still. When probed further, other students echoed this sentiment. “Yeah, it was relaxing” and “It gave me a chance to think about my day” and “I like listening to my own breath.” How cool is that!?
Essentially, they were asking to be in the moment; fully present and engaged. Not distracted. Not impulsive. Not off task. From then on I have incorporated that type of activity into many lessons. It teaches them to be more aware of themselves and how they are connecting to the process of learning.
After that I found something called, The Kid's Yoga Deck. It includes easy to use strategies which promote concentration and focus. I have also found that these exercises help kids to pay attention to how their body responds to stressful situations. It is empowering for young people to be attuned to their mind and body.
What unexpected, yet perfect outcomes have you experienced in your own life?