Anxiety in the Classroom

It seems that report cards and parent conferences bring out the stress in everyone. This year I’ve noticed that I have a lot of students who are really worrying about their first trimester report card. Couple that stress of a looming grade with all the assessments we’ve had to complete and there is a definite need for some anxiety reducing activities in the classroom.

This year I have had the pleasure of coaching a girls running program for our 4th – 6th graders.  One of the practices focused on meditation and teaching girls how to relax and why it’s important to de-stress and live a balanced life. I thought this lesson was very powerful for our running team and I think it would be an awesome addition to any math classroom. Who wouldn’t benefit from learning some relaxation techniques and then getting space to practice!

Here are a couple of quick things you can do to help teach age appropriate meditation and relaxation.

  1. Breathing – have students close their eyes and practice focusing on their breathing, counting how long then inhale and exhale.
  2. Visualization – have students close their eyes and them visual their stressors as papers. Have them visualize balling up each stress and throwing it in an imaginary trashcan.
  3. Body Awareness – lead students through thinking about different parts of their body. Start with their toes and end at the fingertips, guiding them through a process of focusing on each body part and how it feels.

I’d love to hear what other mediation and relaxation techniques you might know of that would work with students.  I can’t wait to start using these on a regular basis with my kiddos. I am planning to start it this next week and I’m really interested in seeing if there is a shift in my classroom climate.  To see how spending a little time helping my kids relax might change their attitude towards math, and hopefully even help their test scores. I saw it make a huge shift in my running team and I’m willing to bet it will be similar in class.

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