Five Senses in Five Minutes

Friday, June 29, 2018 No comments
Another Mindfulness exercise I hope you'll enjoy. This one connects you to the space you're in at the moment you're there.

Materials You'll Need...

  • A room or space outside

Pick a room or space outdoors to do this activity (you'll only be there for five minutes or so, so you might want to switch up your location each time you do this).

For five minutes, you're going to get in tune with your five senses. Try to find the following:
  1. One thing you can taste
  2. Two things you can smell
  3. Three things you can hear
  4. Four things you can touch
  5. Five things you can see
Personally, I like to do the first three with my eyes closed. I always feel like I can hear better when I'm not distracted with the things I'm seeing. 

When I've done this with students, I've given them the option to jot things down if we're planning on sharing afterward. It takes a lot of the pressure off of young students, especially, and it helps them keep track of how many things they've noticed around them.

Thoughts for Thursday

Thursday, June 28, 2018 No comments
Cam and I are beginning to settle into a little routine at home together. He's really been awesome as far as his behavior and patience since we can't really go anywhere or even play outside (if he takes off running, I can't run after him so it's really just avoiding possible danger). He's been taking 3+ hour naps, which gives me some great alone time and time to take a nap myself!

This week, I started participating in Jennifer Serravallo's Writing Camp to go along with The Writing Strategies Book. It's not only been nice to focus on my writing again in an organized way, but it's been motivating me to stay in tune with the educational side of social media. Sometimes during extended breaks from school, I end up forgetting the day of the week I'm on and I lose productivity without a regular routine and daily exposure to teaching. I haven't finished any new resources to post for sale yet, but the ones I'm working on are "big project" type that I'll be happy finishing by August.

Time is passing by pretty quickly (as it has a habit of doing). I am glad to be in my third trimester with this baby! We received his "Going Home" outfit from Kohl's yesterday and we're starting to get his nursery organized once again (luckily nothing is really changing from when we decorated it for Cam, other than it's become a place to store my maternity wardrobe and some clothes). I'm starting to feel like the end is in sight, which makes dealing with all my aches and pains and restrictions that much easier!

Oh! And Nick and I finally decided on a name for the little guy. We're not sharing it until he's here, but it's so awesome to have that decision made. We had a little girl's name picked out from the time we were dating, but naming these two boys has been incredibly challenging! Now the biggest challenge is not referring to him by the name unless Nick and I are alone together! haha.

Other than that, nothing new here... Hope everything is good for with you as you're reading this! Take care!

Heartbeat Slow-Fast-Slow

Friday, June 22, 2018 No comments
As promised, here's another exercise to practice Mindfulness!

Materials You'll Need...

  • An open space

Place your hand on your heart and feel the beating of your heart. Take note of how fast or slow it's beating. How are you feeling in this moment?

Next, stand up and do 10 jumping jacks. (This activity can be altered using various exercises of your choice.) Once you've done them, place your hand back on your heart and notice the difference in how it is beating compared to when you were at rest. How are you feeling now?

As your heartbeat begins to slow back down and resume its normal rhythm, pay attention to how your whole body is feeling. How do your legs feel? How do your arms feel? How does it feel to breathe in and out? Take in the moment and monitor your body as it recovers from the brief exercise you just did.

Glitter Jar

Friday, June 15, 2018 No comments
I'm excited to bring you my first weekly Mindfulness post for the summer! I plan on sharing 12 of my favorite mindfulness exercises and activities with you over the next few months. I will post them on Friday mornings bright and early. This way, you can try them for yourself and be ready with some activities for your students once school resumes in the fall.

I first learned about mindfulness in grad school. I took a wonderful course focused on incorporating families in our classroom community and the professor led the class more like a self-care therapy session than a rigorous grad class. I ended up learning so much about myself as a person and an educator and still remember a lot of the activities we did even seven years later.

Basically, I'd describe mindfulness as using meditation and other exercises for being aware of what is happening in the present moment. It's about focusing on and accepting your thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they're taking place. I've found it helps me a lot to be aware of these aspects of myself, especially when I'm stressed or anxious about something. There are some great exercises that you can use in the classroom to teach your students how to practice mindfulness as well.

The first one I would like to share is the Mindfulness Glitter Jar Exercise.

It may not be the most original activity for mindfulness, but it's a great one to get started with if you're new to practicing mindfulness.

Materials You'll Need...

  • A clear jar (mason jars work great and can be found at a variety of stores!)
  • Glitter (I prefer to pick bright colors because I really believe colors make a difference in mood!)
  • Water

Fill a jar with water and pour some glitter in. Shake it up, swirl it around, and then set it down on the table in front of you. As you watch as the glitter settle, silently focus on how your thoughts get jumbled and chaotic when you're upset, angry, or worried about something. Imagine your thoughts are the glitter and notice how when the glitter settles, the water clears up and it's easier to see... Much like when your mind calms down, it's easier to think clearly and rationally.

If you're doing this activity with students, have them reflect on how they felt when the glitter was swirling around versus when it had settled. Discuss how the activity helped them imagine their own thoughts in their minds.

Summer Break

Thursday, June 14, 2018 No comments
So the little boy growing inside of me has dictated when my school year had to end. After two weeks of being home with his big brother Cameron, I am already feeling less stressed about life in general and more at ease about my pregnancy, but I'm also missing the teachers I work with every day and the kiddos I have gotten to know this past year.

The good thing is, I have a wide open schedule, a brand new Chromebook, a to-do list of resources I want to create this summer, and the doctor's advisement to stay off my feet as much as possible until this baby comes. I'm hoping to be pretty productive, even if that means my summer dreams of going for adventures and spending days outside running around with Cam have POOF! disappeared.

I'm hoping to have weekly posts devoted to various categories: technology, word work, and mindfulness. Those are the top three on my list right now, but they might evolve as I go. After my long-term subbing positions this past school year, I have come up with some great word work activities and want to create some more that I can post on my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I found that even with all of the great resources out there made by talented educators around the world, I was tweaking things to fit my students' specific needs. The cool thing is, I ended up coming up with some great resources that I'm hoping other teachers and students could benefit from using!

I have to run in a few to my weekly doctor's appointment... Should be a quick one, just a measurement of my growing belly (seriously, how am I only 24 weeks with a belly this big?!), a heartbeat check, and a fun little hormone injection! Hopefully I'll be back early enough that I'm motivated enough to start the post I'm aiming to publish tomorrow. Fingers crossed!