Have fun with today’s activity. Some students may be a little uncomfortable with this, and laughter takes the edge off those feelings of reluctance. As students learn how to do some of these de-stressing activities, they’ll begin to use them on their own. That’s the goal. It is that over time they’ll gain insight and comfort with these activities. Read through this and decide whether you could have kids lying on the floor or whether you want them sitting at their desks.
This week we’re going to focus on how to help our bodies be really relaxed. Do you know what that means? When we’re upset, our bodies feel more tense and tight, maybe like a baseball or a basketball. If you drop it, it would bounce. When we’re relaxed, we’re more like a melting piece of chocolate, and we just feel our bodies be more soft. We’re going to practice helping our bodies get soft, and we’re going to do it a really fun way. We’re going to make them all tight first, and THEN we’re going to get super relaxed. Today we’re going to notice our whole body, starting at the feet and working up, and we’re going to use that same technique as we go, tightening and relaxing the muscles in one part of the body and then another. The most important part of this is the big exhale at the end! You’ll hold your breath while tightening, and when you exhale, you really really relax.
Tell them where to position themselves, either lying down on the floor or sitting at their desks.
We going to start with our feet. You can either look down at your desk or close your eyes, but this is a time to focus on yourself!
Start with your feet… Tighten all the muscles in your feet. Tighten, 2, 3, 4, keep them tight, 6, 7, 8, almost there, 10 and relax and exhale.
Now your ankles and calves – everything between your knees and ankles. Count again.
This time, between the knees and hips. Count again.
Now your hips and bottom and lower tummy up to your tummy button. Count again.
This time from your tummy button up through your chest, and remember your back side as well. Count again.
This time is just for your shoulders and neck. Count again.
Going down your arms, you can do your whole arm and hands together. You might curl your hands into a fist. Count again.
Finally we’re going to scrunch our faces up so all the muscles are tight… tight… include all the muscles in your head. Count again.
Teachers, you might acknowledge that there was laughter and that you’re fine with that – how it is great to laugh together.
What are some times it would be helpful to be able to relax?
Ring your bell or cymbal to denote the beginning of this sharing time.
Allow students to take turns sharing their perspective. Encourage others to listen respectfully and wait their turn to speak.
We’ve designed these first couple of weeks with the program to give teachers insights that will be helpful in lowering student anxiety about being back at school.
Generally, this Connecting time is 2 minutes long. For these first few days of school, it may pay off to give kids more time to reply. (This could also lead to more discussion times throughout the day as time or need arises.)
If you’d like to keep this activity to five minutes, consider coaching students on how to respond quickly yet thoughtfully.
Ring your bell or cymbal to denote the end of this sharing time.
Notice times today when you feel tight. You can do this activity any time!
Who was able to notice tightness in their body today? Did you remember to try our activity? How did it go for you>
Allow for a popcorn type response if all together. If remote learning, consider a text or quick email to each of your students individually.