Has Spring Fever hit your students? Are they tuning out more often than you’d like? Not paying attention? How about you? Has your attention…and energy level…wandered off? Has the gray and rainy…or white and snowy…weather got everyone down at your school? It happens every year in every school across our country. Sometimes it even starts as early as February! It has hit our school particularly hard this year….including the staff! You know how it goes…just when things really heat up….test prep…..testing… progress reports….conferences….Professional Development…and on and on. Wham-o! It hits and hits hard. Well today’s Teaching Tip is more of a reminder of an oldie but goodie, and is giving you permission to take a refocusing break as often as you need to. This week we are telling you to “take a hike!” Literally!
Go ahead! Get out with your students and go for a 10 minute walk around your school to refocus. (If you read our blog regularly, you know we say that for a lot of things. But there’s a reason we were all sent outside by our mothers to play! It’s GOOD for you in oh-so-many ways!)
Don’t just walk though….tell students to PAY ATTENTION to as many things as they can outside. What did you hear, see and feel? Then, when you come back in, have them write down (or draw, for the youngers) as many things as they can that they noticed outside. Count ’em up and have them write down the number of things that they noticed. Then, next time you all need to refocus, (like tomorrow :-), do it again. Were they able to pay better attention and list more things this time? Did they “beat their own score?” Each subsequent time that you go for a hike around school, have them check their own score and see how they did. This is so great for rebuilding their stamina for paying attention to things. And if you might be thinking this is only for the littles….nope! The olders LOVE the challenge and actually need it just as much or more than the littles. After all, they have state testing in the spring to boot!
Trust me! Going for a “hike” works to re-develop everyone’s attention skills long term, AND the fresh air and movement will help them to be far more productive in the short term. And for you? Well….it’s a great break for you, too! After all…teachers need a break this time of year just as often as the students, right? Truth!
So even though it is easy to say…”I don’t have time for that!” As Nike says…Just Do IT! It will make you and your students pay better attention to the tasks at hand, and make you all more productive than trying to slog through with fuzzy, inattentive brains. Not to mention it will alleviate some of that springtime stress. Good luck with Spring Fever this year!