This is not a classroom activity.However,this totally relates to the classroom scenario that we are facing now.There are so many children with learning disorders,behavioral issues and emotional stress.Young children who have an immense capacity to learn seem to be less receptive to learning.
We are talking about this in our peer circle.There is a decline in students’ imagination and creativity.There is more restlessness and defiance,more distraction and of course,easier access to technology.There are many underlying reasons to this .The foremost is – well,read on….
If you are standing in a queue,travelling by train,dining at a restaurant,you must have observed children ,sometimes infants,hooked on to watching videos or playing games.
The more I see,the more I want to write.I mean, the more I see young parents resorting to technology to keep children happy,the more I want to write about the options available to keep children engaged in a productive way.
Why is using gadgets a bad way to engage children you might ask.
As an educator,this is dismaying.There are significant changes in children’s behavior, in their ability to think and focus.Imagination is limited to what is fed by the virtual world.
Am not an expert,but there are perceptible ,alarming changes happening in young children that will have a sad impact.
And there’s a huge world out there – seemingly innocent apps and games that encourage negative emotions.
How can we alter this?There are many skills that emerge when you are a parent.
When you decide to bring up your child in a relatively tech – free environment,your skills as a a story teller,an artist ,a cook come to the fore as you think of creative ways to nurture a child – Journal Jotting
Few ways to engage children :
–>Have colouring books and colours
–>Traditional gamesand Story Telling : Go through the links for stories :
It is strange to see how many of us complain,’Am depressed’ and stranger to hear this from class 5 kids!I was travelling in the school bus when one child told his friend,”Am so stressed” and his friend said,”Full depression,da”.This was because they don’t get to play during the week they have tests.We really have to tell children how to articulate their unhappiness.I shall reserve this for a separate post:)
We know that before we tell children anything,it’s best to try out any tip/strategy on our selves.We are creative by nature.Yet we feel overwhelmed,challenged by all the happenings around us.Life need not be complicated.Let’s breathe easy.
Am sharing with you simple tips on taking care by doing something you enjoy.Self care need not be elaborate.If you like to doodle,doodle away.Your intention is not about creating masterpieces,it is about connecting to your inner space.This will keep you grounded and help you regain a sense of balance.
Every morning,our interactions can be pleasant.Good interactions create a positive learning space for us,and the children “
– JOURNAL JOTTING
Taking a short,brisk walk,practicing deep breathing for few minutes,sharing a joke with friends,connecting with an old friend or relative,the list is endless.I really believe in journaling. Here’s a sample of what you can create :
If you are the class teacher,you are in complete charge of your class.It is interesting and maybe overwhelming to be handling all the students as a class teacher.When you set rules in a creative way ,your students become more receptive.
Here are nine, simple ways to create safe spaces in your class,as a class, that you can implement right away!!
Meditation Room – Designing a space for meditation is simple. The room should be well ventilated and pleasant. Invest in grass mats or fabric mats for seating. You can have lamps, Buddha artwork, mandala or any spiritual symbol that the school believes in. The emphasis is on spirituality, rather than religion.
Walking Barefoot – Identify any one class during the day when students can walk barefoot. Walking barefoot deepens the connection we share with earth. This can be in a meditative manner or as a brisk game.
Walking in a straight line first and then making pattern along the way – this can be tried out with small groups of students.
The power of silence – make this as a short activity of say 6- 7 minutes. Draw a bell and pretend to ring to indicate silence. Or write SILENCE in bold on the board and erase letter by letter slowly as the class becomes silent.
Using natural objects to create art –collecting natural objects make students more observant and help them to make sensible choices when they buy materials for artworks
A warm greeting – A warm greeting establishes a good rapport instantly
Expressing gratitude – It is best to focus on life’s blessings. Gratitude cards, gratitude jar, notes on the wall are few ways to show gratitude. This will make students appreciate the learning and life.
Practice mindful eating at least once a week, as a class. It is fun and students relish the food better
Making a student “motivational speaker “– Have students pick up names from a carton/basket. The name of the student that comes up becomes the motivational speaker for the next day. Students can speak for 3-5 minutes, to motivate the others in their class.
A genuine smile, a caring heart immediately receives what it gives,from a child”
When we start working as a teacher, often we forget to record our progress. We do know that we learn every time we enter a classroom.Every academic year, we strive towards excellence. We set standards that are on par with professionals from the corporate world.
And ,we do this without expectations or incentives. We love the profession and we are here because we believe that we make a difference.
Teaching is probably the only profession that celebrates others’ progress – journal jotting
You can list the following and keep updating your list every month:
a) Courses you took up – courses online,a Degree that you obtained after you started working etc
b) Books you read – any book that you completed reading and that has added value to your learning
Awards or Recognition for teachers is rare and you need to document this with the description of who,when and for what you got the award.
A note of appreciation from the Management or the School Head can also be entered.
Testimonials – students/parents/peer
Students’ testimonials,gratitude note from parents or peers are something we cherish.
Workshops you attended /conducted
If you conduct workshops,record the session and the feedback you receive from the participants.
If you attend workshops,describe your learning and reflection.
a) Classroom activities – Record any new activity that you have planned
b) Students Assessments – Thinking of a different assessment?Add that to your dossier
c) Reflection – Your Reflection, Students’ responses – We take classes with the best of intentions – did the class go as per your expectation?Write down your reflection and if students receive your ideas well,make a note of that as well.
Snapshot – If all this seems like too much work,an excel sheet can be used to create a snapshot of your portfolio.Or you can use this Power point template : Portfolio
Go ahead !Feel proud of all that you have done for every child, what you do makes the world a better place!
The session plan below is structured and facilitated by Neha G Utmani – Visual Art and Art Appreciation facilitator for EY, PYP, and MS at Trio World School Bangalore
Using art as a tool facilitating Children to learn about themselves and construct their own identity within the context of community.
What is Identity?
Identity is not fixed. It is shaped by experiences. When children have positive experiences they develop an understanding of themselves as significant and respected and feel a sense of belonging. However, relationships become the foundation for the construction of identity – ‘who I am’, ‘how I belong’ and ‘what is my influence?’
In early childhood settings children develop a sense of belonging when they feel accepted, develop attachments and trust those that care for them. As children are developing their sense of identity, they explore different aspects of it (physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive), through their play and their relationships. When children feel accepted they feel safe, secure and supported and grow in confidence becoming explorers and learners
Session focus: Physical and Emotional Identity
Warm up: Introducing each other and making each other feel special ( you are special activity)
Main activity: students were given a portrait template and the session started with a discussion
What is this template all about?
So this is a face?
Whose face it could be?
Why do say I don’t know/ it is no one’s face!?
If you want to make this template/sketch look like it is you, what would you do?
When the group arrived at “you need to work on the details” / “you need to add eyes, ears, nose, and mouth only then it will resemble me!.” move to the next level.
I facilitated this session for PYP and Middle school children focusing on identity in different levels
Level-1 Focus and instruction: focus on realism for the little once, as physical identity is very strong in them (I wouldn’t want to initiate the concept of abstraction); it is best to work on skin as skin concept, feel the texture of oil pastels make this blank face look like you, if you have forgotten how you look, let’s try to remember how we look by feeling our face (feel your forehead, eyebrows, eyelids, nose, lips, ears, neck feel your hair remember the kind of haircut you have) now draw eyes, nose, mouth, hair – to make the blank face look like your face.
Level-2 Focus: understanding favorite color, feeling the texture of oil pastels,
Color the face with your favorite, (do not add eyes nose and mouth) just work on the hair
Level-3 Middle school grade 7and 8
Focus: Physical and emotional you
Students were asked the following questions what is art to you? Students write down their responses on post-its and stick it on the Art Room door.
Most of the students arrived at the conclusion that art is painting, drawing, singing, dancing, feeling, emotion, expression! I then asked if art is an expression and what if we don’t know how to draw/paint/sing/dance/write,? we don’t express? Then most of them said no we still express we talk and express, we express with our body language. We then worked on the main activity.
Instructions given :
“Close your eyes and experience your physical you by gently feeling your face, keeping your eyes closed to focus on the qualities you have, what kind of person are you! Use the blank template to work on what makes you who you are”.
This session was interesting for me as well, witnessing the student explore and understand them self.
I thank Mr. Vinod Singh, Ms. Hema Narayanan and Ms. Talia Nicholas for giving me this opportunity.
Below are the photographs to the session.
Template given to the students
Students of grade 7and 8 write their response on what is Art
When I stepped into the teacher’s shoes more than a decade ago, I was nervous and had to figure out most things. Now there’s no looking back. Yet I know that it will really boost your morale to know there’s someone to support you on this incredible journey. So here we are congratulating you on your career choice and guiding you as you progress.
If you are new to teaching and are waiting for the academic year to begin, there are plenty of resources on this website that will help you create great classroom experiences.
Five practical to do steps :
a)Preparation is important – the more prepared you are, the more confident you feel. If you are nervous about talking to a group of students, practice talking aloud in front of the mirror.
b)Wear comfortable clothes. If you are attire is comfortable, you will feel good
c)I was told to maintain a strict face when I entered the classroom the first time. Nothing could be more wrong than this piece of advice. Go with a warm smile and greet students enthusiastically – it is your first connect with students.
d)Give a short introduction about yourself, if you feel like it. You can then ask students to introduce themselves in a unique way. For instance, “I am Govind and I love playing basketball”.This will help you remember at least some of the students, especially if their responses are interesting. Do this only if you have the time to spare else you can dive into your subject, right after introducing yourself
e)Devote the last five minutes of your class for interaction. You can prepare for your next class, depending upon this interaction. I was very reluctant to admit “I don’t know” to any student. I would feel guilty about not knowing something that a child seemed to know. Now I know better. It is okay to say that you don’t know and will find out when posed with a question for which you do not know the answer.
There are other simple strategies: walk around the class as you teach, use the black/whiteboard/screen as you explain. Pause to make sure students are being attentive.
How would it be if we can incorporate small activities that promote self-care in a creative manner? There are plenty of activities that help create a balance. The more I read about chronic illnesses and the stress that children undergo, the more I realize that it is so very important to focus on mental health. We are teachers, parents, adults passionate about education yet we are unable to usher in any revolutionary change. Maybe then, the change has to start from us – within us.
We are also increasingly aware of the pressures (peer,societal,parental) pressure that children face. What can we do now that we are more aware?
Take better care of ourselves so that we can be more empathetic when we deal with children – journal jotting
Build a routine that includes self-care. You can weave in interesting activities into your everyday schedule.
Pick up a brush and paint something.
Take a pen and write your musings.
Write a letter to your friend.
Take a walk in the park
Potter in the garden
Learn a new hobby
Meditate with music
Plan a surprise for your loved ones
Sit in silence and just observe the beauty all around
Try making eco-friendly products at home
You can share any of these activities with your students too.
Have a class display board and write down your self-care activity for the week . Ask all the students in your class to write one activity they will take up for that particular week.
Do share your classroom board display – the more we share, the more we learn and the more we help students learn!
Accepting your self will help you move ahead in every sphere of your life. When you are in a state of acceptance, the way you respond is better.
“Life, after all provides you a chance every moment to get better. Counting your blessings, feeling grateful create a sense of harmony within you” – journal jotting
Try this activity: choose a glass jar and tie a ribbon around the lid.
Make a label –Blessings jar.
Use one sided paper, handmade paper or bills – any paper that has space to write.
Write the date .Think for few minutes about what made you feel really good. It might be that you cooked a great meal today, a friend called, you had an aha moment in class or an incident made you smile.
Benefits When you select a jar and decorate it/label it, you are setting an intention. When you use paper that is scrap, you are mindful of the resource and being earth sensitive. When you think about the happy incidents, you reflect more on the positive and feel grateful for your blessings .Lastly, even if you do not have the time to write in your journal every day, this 2 minute activity will calm you.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
If you interested in education,welcome!Here’s presenting posts that help you and support the growth of your ‘self’.Am a learner like you and I truly believe that when we work on our selves, we connect better with our students.
We work with young minds -we are not just knowledge givers.
We weave values subtly in our role,in our classrooms and create mindful,caring,empathetic citizens of earth.
Let’s work together!
The posts support your journey.The resources have an outline of few topics that you can carry to your classrooms.
We are here to share our learning and really hope that this is useful to you too.If you are new to teaching,look out for specific posts:)
Here’s a blessing from a wonderful person,Bhagyalakshmi Murali for all the educators in the world!
A BLESSING FOR YOU
As you go through your day today, may you know without a shadow of doubt that the Universe does have your back…. always.
May you be totally present in every moment today.
May your awareness help you to make choices that are for the highest good of all.
May you be aware of the incredible strength you have come into the world blessed with.
May you choose to tap into it all the time.
May you allow yourself to be the most resilient YOU that you have ever chosen to be.
May you be able to function in ways that allow you to accomplish everything you require to do, with effortless ease.
May you always choose to remember that you are a cherished gift.
May you choose to take care of yourself in ways that you have never chosen before.