How can we help students get ready to learn?
Are you teaching “small groups”? Rotating through reading stations, math stations, Daily 5, Daily 3, CAFE, conferring… Woosh, is your head spinning yet? I wonder how the students feel!
This trend of small, skill based, differentiated groupings, may be a good thing for academic goals, but it definitely increases the amount of transitions. The students are expected to move around the room, get materials, navigate space and remain focused on individualized academic tasks. That’s a lot to ask.
I have found ease in transition with consistent use of the Move Mindfully® Centering Routine.
Using the Centering Routine
All students, the ones working in a small group and the others working independently or with partners, go through the routine. The entire routine is completed from a chair. It is perfect for starting groups or for seated body breaks. This routine also utilizes twists, which are great to promote digestion after lunch!
At the end of the routine I like to ring the chime to cue a slow transition out of the final rest and into the lesson.
I have found that the most powerful position in the routine is “head on desk” version of child’s pose found in our Move Mindfully® Card Deck. I know the idea of “head down” can seem punitive, but I think this powerful pose just has had bad PR. It triggers the calming response to lower the neck and also shuts out visual stimuli.
Taking time to center and reset is an effective use of time. This intentional breath, movement, and rest allows a focused energy. I notice that after these moments, nobody gets up, moves around the room or asks to use the bathroom. You will find your students are more able to focus on the task at hand.
I know a movement based classroom is all the rage. Wiggle seats, wiggle standers and fidgets galore. Don’t get me wrong, I think that movement is extremely important. However, certain types of movement can be hyper altering and counter productive to achieving the ideal relaxed alert state. We need to offer intentional moments of stillness.
Do you use a centering routine after transitions? What have you done to promote stillness? Leave a comment!