Saturday, 17 December 2016

Shoulda' Woulda' Coulda'

I was in a grade 3 classroom on Friday and it was another cold day with a forecast of possible snow.  The school is located near Windsor Ontario which is about as far south as you can go in Canada  so we don't always have cold snowy weather in December.  The announcements were ending with a note about plans in case of indoor recess and the student who was sitting next to me said very matter-of-factly, "If it's going to be an indoor recess we need to go to the gym so we can burn off all this energy."

And I was making so many connections to what we had been learning about in the Self-Regulation course through the MEHRIT centre.  The five steps of self-reg are:
1. Read and reframe behaviour - is it stress behaviour?
2. Recognize the stressors
3. Reduce the stressors
4. Reflect (develop self-awareness)
5. Respond

This eight year old was doing so much self-reg work.  She realized that if the students were a bit squirrelly later on in the day it was because they'd been cooped up and hadn't been outside to play - stress behaviour not misbehaviour.  She recognized that lack of outdoor time as a stressor and she had some strategies for reducing the stress (going to the gym).

But here's the thing, announcements were over and everyone returned to their bell work and the day got started, and in hindsight, I feel like I really missed out on an opportunity to reflect with and respond to this student.

Dr. Shanker reassures us that self-regulation is a process of endless learning and deepening self-awareness.  I hope that next time an opportunity like this one occurs, I'll be able to not only recognize the self-reg that the student is demonstrating but be able to respond in a more meaningful way.

On that note, they were able to go outside but I think about indoor recess as a good example of a context for developing self-regulation and the idea of micro-environments.  How do we provide safe, engaging opportunities for students who need to burn off energy?  How do we provide safe environments for students who need time away from the social context of the classroom?  Can we have students moved to mixed age groupings so they aren't in the same room with the same people, especially when indoor recesses go on for several days in a row?

Below are some ideas I've seen used.  Feel free to share some of yours:

  • particular classrooms host 'bingo' for primary, junior or intermediate students so students can be in mixed groups and out of their own classroom
  • math manipulatives available for independent exploration
  • reading
  • library open for quiet reading for those students who need a quiet environment
  • computers and iPads available for student use
  • some centres set up in the hallways to reduce the number of students in class and provide a change of setting
  • board games
  • physical activity centres in the gym or classroom
  • yoga mats for students to do stretching in the hallway or at the back of the classroom
  • art materials available for student exploration
  • healthy snacks
From Dr. David Suzuki PS

No comments:

Post a Comment