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Hey Creative Thinkers!
What do you think of Yoga? For your kids? Well school’s over (for now anyway) and the adrenaline that was sustaining our children during school has thankfully drained out. But they are mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted.
The Need for Unnatural Craziness
As a teacher-mom I have had firsthand experience with the anxiety that rises to proportions so high I’ve had students vomit, or cry or flat out refuse to take the exams on the day of the exam! The months leading up to this were just as bad. The pressure! I have left my children burning the midnight oil making all attempts to pass their exams.
Of course, we should know this is an unhealthy practice on all fronts! Finally,in rolls June and the students are completely burnt out.
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In my own journey to living a more focused and peaceful existence I turned to yoga. One afternoon I was scrolling through YouTube and uncovered a gem, Boho Beautiful check out the video. In addition to the slow lessons to the poses in yoga and moved into the meditation videos that was available as well. Seriously guys I loved it! And while the poses required some stretching of muscles I had long ignored due to the close to sedentary lifestyle of teaching and mom duties, they felt wonderful.Over the next few months I continued to practice yoga. When I did the poses in the morning, I literally felt relaxed and energized simultaneously.
Then next morning I introduced my children to yoga. My son took to the practice. I think more so because it helped stretch those muscles he used during his intense soccer training sessions. My youngest daughter… well I’m working on her. I’m hoping to be great model and she will join in at some point.
Body Benefits of Yoga
While there are many physical benefits of yoga for our younger counterparts such as flexibility, strength, and coordination there are also mental and emotional benefits as well.
Breathe in Peaceful Reflections
The breathing exercises alone is an excellent benefit for our over stressed kids. Learning to calm your mind and focus on your breathing takes a level of mindfulness. Many of our children have not mastered or practiced. They are over stimulated. So, having them remain still and just breathe takes practice, practice, practice. This practice during the stressful days of school time and the overwhelming study sessions during exams comes in very handy.
The breathing exercises is a great relaxation technique for peaceful reflections. A study at the Harvard Medical School showed yoga as a beneficial activity to support mental health in children. Here’s an article that discusses the benefits for yoga for kids.
Yoga Equals Downtime
Breaks throughout the school year are welcomed. However, the breaks for our kids involve some form of activity. Camp, sports, family visits and other time sucking activities that are most times a necessity (working parents) they stimulate. Making downtime nonexistent. Yoga is downtime.
So, when summertime arrives we, as parents, want to try to give our kids downtime.While we still have to schedule activities for our kids (working parents); we want to teach our kids how to calm their minds and learn to center themselves. Yoga offers the opportunity to learn patience and practice discipline. Both equally excellent tools needed for school. Grab a mat and you too, a towel, water and this awesome video to get started. I promise you won’t regret it.
Educational benefits of Yoga
- Enhances concentration
- Teaches mindfulness
- Increases self-esteem
- Cultivates self-awareness
- Gives tools for stress management
- Allows for increased flexibility
- Strengthens growing bodies
- Cultivates a peaceful mind
- Teaches self-acceptance
- Supports mental health
Have you ever tried yoga? Do you think your kids would enjoy practicing yoga? Let me know I would love to hear about your experiences.
Happy teaching and learning
Hey creative thinkers!
I know all of you know about YouTube. In short, I go on YouTube for just about everything, no scratch that everything. I am a DIYer at heart so I either live on YouTube or Pinterest (my favorite past time, no seriously just ask my kids).
YouTube is simply awesome and for transformative teachers like us, it is a magnificent place to go to not only supplement our lessons, but to also fire-up our students’ learning.
It’s time for some hard truths:-
Students are not learning the traditional way (you can thank technology for that).
But I happen to like technology minus those video games. Ugh! ‘Traditional’ can no longer be our go-to. As creative thinkers we are always on the lookout for non -traditional ways to enrich and engage young minds.
YouTube can hold our students’ interest and engage beyond the traditional.
There are so many educational videos and some that are not so educational (we’ll talk more on that later) that are available for teachers to incorporate into their lessons. Students learn by watching reenactments, demonstrations (experiments), listening to stories, songs and notes! What’s notes you ask? Well take a look at ‘Thug notes’ on YouTube. It was a great find when I was searching for another way to explain “Lord of the Flies” to my son who was in 8th grade at the time. Well one introduction was enough to make Thug notes my go-to when looking for an alternative way to explain a classic. (Disclosure: The language in this video is for middle and high school students). And even knowing this you guys I would check with administration (as she whispered on the side).
Students attention spans are lower than ever.
Unfortunately, this frustrating truth is here to stay as long as we live in an instant gratification society. So, what do we do creative thinkers? We become innovative and transformative.
YouTube can spark impressive discussions and debates! (I love those)
During my reading lessons, I implemented a Socratic method called “Circle session”. The students form a circle on the rug and conduct a Q & A session using accountable talk sentence stem. I do not participate in any way during these sessions. Rather I use this time to informally assess my students. These discussions were sparked by books we were reading and YouTube videos I chose to supplement the reading lesson. The YouTube video held their interest, encouraged questions and responses. They were fired -up. I have to tell you watching my students actively using content rich vocabulary was spectacular. Even my most reluctant students joined in.
There are increasingly more incidents of disruptive behavior.
Based on my career as a teacher, which has been about 15 years, I have run the gamut of disruptive students. Putting it nicely, it was an eyeopener. One thing I have learned is 80 percent of disruptive students need redirection. How about a trip? A virtual trip that is.
YouTube can transport your class around the world.
I didn’t believe until I went looking and I did say I live on YouTube. I mean who just types up virtual field trips? Me! Technology, gotta love it. We are always searching for a thought-provoking ways to fire-up our students. Every September I do my very best to plan class trips to the museum, planetarium, the library, etc. We’ve gone on neighborhood walks, grocery shopping (yes, I’ve done that; I promise I didn’t actually shop). YouTube offers virtual field trips to the Amazon Rain forest or go on an African Safari! All without leaving your classroom. And it’s free (bonus!). I can not tell you what a sanity-saver this was. My disruptive students (and I had whoppers) were engaged and…wait for it; they wanted to do the follow-up activity as well. I was jumping for joy (not outwardly cause that would totally ruin the stern look). 🙂
So, about those not so educational videos…
You want to be super diligent when choosing the right videos for your students. Always watch your selected videos before your students to the end. There are some videos that are point blank inappropriate depending on grade level (see previous video).
Accessing YouTube videos
Most schools have firewalls installed to prevent inappropriate content exposure to the students. And this totally blocks out YouTube. But there are ways around that. Once you’ve selected and viewed the video, download the video or link it to a PowerPoint or Word document and Voila! YouTube also have an education section called #Education YouTube. Check out those videos as well.
YouTube is a useful learning tool. Use it to supplement your lessons. It provides a visual not to mention audio means of learning. Go ahead and fire-up your students!
So, creative thinkers, how many of you are using YouTube? Can you share some of the awesome ways you’re using this great resource?