Monday, August 30, 2010

How to Relax

Friday my Kindergarten class had an Introduction to Relaxation during P.E. time, with some unexpected but delightful results.
Earlier in the week, I had the students copy a rectangle onto their writing papers, and then proceed to guess what it could be. They were used to doing this with circles and squares, but I wasn't sure what they would come up with for rectangles. One said "wagon", another said "door". I went to the cupboard and pulled out a purple rolled up yoga mat. As I unfurled it I saw the eyes around the classroom grow wide. They were hooked. I knew that just saying "It's a mat." in a room half full of English Language Learners I would not get my point across. But walking around with a life size rectangle made of squishy purple stuff? Oh, yeah.
Soon everyone was digging for their purple crayons and furiously copying the letters m-a-t onto their writing papers. There was no question about what a mat was in my room that day. A few lucky kids even got to touch it. Then I engaged them further. "Later this week, we are going to learn how to relax with these." With that I rolled it up and put it away.

Friday near the end of the morning, (it is a half-day program.) I instructed the students to sit in a circle and pulled out the mat again. I laid it out in the center of the circle and showed the children how to line up the heels of their shoes at the end of the mat so they wouldn't step on it while lying down. I modeled how to lie on your back and relax your arms and legs outward, palms facing up. How to close your eyes, and how to breathe. "Watch my stomach move up and down," I said. "Imagine there is a toy boat on it and it's floating on the waves of the ocean." (My toy boat yoga props have become bath toys for my one year old at home.) "Would anyone like to try it?" Flurries of waving fingers filled the room. As the kids each took their turn, an interesting thing began to happen. The kids began to sit cross legged around the circle and chant "mmmmm". Now granted it wasn't exactly "aum", but hey, close enough. The kicker? It was the boys who were doing this. And loving it. Can't wait to see what happens when we all get to relax at the same time next Friday.
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  1. that sounds wonderful! It's great to see a post here : ) Gracie started kindergarten last week... it just tires those small people out!

  2. Great idea, Peggy! You are the pefect person to teach your students to relax via yoga. I need to do this Betsy, I think! Cheryl


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