“How was your weekend?”
A phrase that most of us mindlessly utter on Monday morning can be a fairly loaded question. Teachers, mostly white middle class women, come into the classroom with a cultural identity and, knowingly or unknowingly, expect conformity from our students. How does this play out in simple social exchanges?
How about a sharing time, such as morning meeting? Share your favorite TV show (assumes you own a television), share your favorite ice cream (assumes there is money to buy treats)… you get the idea. So, what’s a teacher to ask?
Mindful Moment Cards
Mindful Moment Cards by Lynea Gillen offer an opportunity for personal sharing (either verbally or written response) that are free from cultural bias.
Each morning I choose one card to read aloud during our morning meeting.
Then, we go around the circle, pass the sharing rope and respond to the Mindful Moment Card. Try a few out with these Mindful Moment Card Samples.
Examples of Use
One morning the prompt was, “Share your color of calm”. A boy said, “Orange is calm because I like to cuddle in my bed and read Garfield.” Later in the week, when he was struggling, I asked him, “What strategies do you have to find calm?” He responded, “Breathe in orange.” It was a question that anyone from any cultural background could answer. It allowed us to get to know him on a deeper level AND it provided him with a tool for self regulation. Seems a whole lot better than “How was your weekend?”
Another morning the prompt was, “Say the name of someone who really listens to you.” The rope made its way around the circle to a boy… who froze. Saying nothing. Blank face. One minute passed. I stood up, sat behind him and placed my hand on his back. The girls on both sides of him placed their hands on his shoulders. Five minutes passed. Total silence. It was excruciating. However, it was also beautiful. Finally, I “pulled the plug” since we were already late for music. The class left the room and the boy remained. After another thirty minutes, he walked over to me and said the name of a girl in our class. One of the girls who had touched his shoulder during his freeze. I walked him back to the group, where he shared out her name. The class applauded.
I still am not quite sure what exactly happened. Or why it happened. All I know is that we had a moment. Those five minutes in time, looking back, will come to define us as a group. These questions run deep…
Please leave comment! What questions, either from the Mindful Moments Cards, or from your own creation, have had a impact?