Contract to Worry Less!

Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!

Worry got ya down? There’s a question on a lot of minds, one that relates to children as well as adults.

Ask your class one morning when the day is just getting underway if worry has a hold on anyone’s heart and watch the hands fly. You have their attention; now the key question is what can you do to help ease the distress? Check out some options I’m posting here. Then, please share your own attention-getting ideas on how to help students deal with worry by posting a comment below.

Power a Flower with Sun Power – Only through our imagination can we bring the sunshine into our classrooms on rainy days. Here’s a trick that will put sunny smiles on the faces of K – 2 kids after they’ve endured a difficult instructional or other school activity, such as taking a test. Show the students a bendable flower like the one in my blog pic below. (This one is made of felt with wire underneath on the stem, available in dollar stores or toy stores.) Tell the class that you found the flower in your “pretty pretend garden” and you picked it because it looked sad and worried.

“You look worried, pretty flower.”

Explain that you’re hoping that you and the class can brighten the flower’s day by bringing the sun inside to give it warmth and care. Continue your hold on the class’ attention by asking the children to help you make the magic of the sun shine on the flower. Invite one or two kids to come to where you’re standing with the flower in hand and hold the stem with you. Count in a loud voice with the class…”One, two, three, little flower, listen to me, the magic of the sun’s warmth and care will chase away your worries and make you happy!” If you want to add to the dramatic importance of chasing away worry, you can request that the class repeat the “chant” to the flower and then, with the flick of your hand bend the stem so that the flower stands tall, the way it looks in my second blog pic below. “Oh,” you can ask the class, “don’t you agree with me that now this flower looks much more worry-free and happy!”

“Ahhh…now the flower looks worry-free!”

The best tools to help students focus offer teachers multiple applications. My “flower-power” attention-ology tool can do more than help children manage worrisome feelings. You can use it in a similar manner (bending the stem from slumped to standing tall) as part of an early grades science lesson to demonstrate the effects of sunlight.

Hang up a Worry Wash Line Third and fourth grade classes will enjoy washing away worries with this clever classroom clothes line. Stretch a cord above a section of your classroom and clip clothes pins with blank note cards to the line. Tell your students when you first hang the line that you’ve added a Worry Wash Line to your room. Announce that it’s open for anyone to pull off a card, jot down a worry, write one’s name or not, and clip it back on the line to wash the worry away. When your students are not in the classroom with you, you’ll have an opportunity to get a greater sense of your students’ concerns by reading the notes they clip to the line.

Find Friends for Dennis B Fifth grade students may be willing to take on the challenge of helping a fictitious character named Dennis B become more worry-free. Find a large funny face or full body of a guy that you can name Dennis B and post him with a name tag on a classroom bulletin board or wall. Post blank sticky notes all around the new class character. Invite students to use the replaceable notes to offer Dennis B an idea on how to be worry-free. Introduce Dennis B with a poem written in his honor…

Worry-Free

Dennis B vowed that he would live his life worry-free.

When problems tested his resolve, Dennis B said problems can be solved.

“Look,” Dennis said with poise, “let’s find solutions, not make noise.”

“Nashing teeth ’til jaws are sore will only make us worry more!”

“Simply put,” said Dennis B, “I feel much better worry-free.”

Create a Contract to Worry Less Individual contracts between a student and teacher and/or a student, teacher and parent are popular classroom management tools. Why not write one that deals specifically with helping children control worry-related feelings and behaviors. You can format the contract any way that suits your needs, but it’s important to include a line for the student to write his or her name, age, and points of agreement, including a promise to bring persistent worry to the attention of a trusted adult.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in instructional settings!

Talk with you next week,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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