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January 15, 2016

Tackling the Winter Blues

By Rhonda Stewart
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Happy New Year everyone! As we return from the December break and settle into January, reality is setting in that we are in the midst of winter. Although Mother Nature has not reared her frosty presence, the calendar reminds us that January is the beginning of the long stretch ahead until spring break. An occasional snow day may come our way, but for the most part, the next few months can bring in a case of the winter blues. Normally we see signs of this in our students, restless from days of indoor recess and lethargic from the shorter days and longer nights. There is a slow building of energy ready to burst as everyone waits for spring to arrive.

    Students are not the only ones to be affected by the winter blues. I must admit that there are times when the blues hit me hard. There is something about leaving in the morning to prepare for class and it is dark outside. To make matters worse, leaving at the end of the day after grading papers or preparing lessons and, again, it is dark! I do not mind staying to get work done, but it just feels different during the winter months.

    I am working on keeping myself motivated, upbeat, and staving the winter blues. To this end, I revisited some ideas from my post on "Staying Healthy and Happy."  In this new year of 2016, I added and implemented some touches to help not only myself, but my students as well.

     

    Teacher Blues Busters

    Inspiration Journal

    It is so easy to look at life through a negative lens, and to see the glass as half empty instead of half full. To combat this, for years at home I have been keeping a “blessings journal.” My journal has moments that make me laugh and smile — moments that are blessings. I write down at least five moments every day. I am transferring this concept to my classroom. Since January 4, I have been jotting moments that bring a smile to my face. I will admit it was a struggle at first, but it is becoming easier. Even the words on the cover of my journal help me to keep my eyes on the prize: staying positive!

      

    Inspirational Quotes

    I took some motivational quotes and placed them strategically around the classroom. They can be found on the window ledge, on the classroom door, and on the walls. In keeping with our Dr. Seuss classroom theme, our entire rear wall includes motivational quotes from his books. I like to think of it as the words have our backs when things get tough. Added benefit: Dr. Seuss is always good for a laugh!

     

    Door Quote

     

     Wall Quote

     

     

    Windowsill Quote

    Dr. Seuss Quote Wall

    Five Minutes of Peace

    There is a free app that you can download to your phone called Take a Break. It coaches you through a brief mediation. I am including the link for both iTunes and Google Play. I use this app at home and decided to use it at work as well, especially during times of dealing with stress. It is definitely five minutes of peace! It helps to keep my mind clear and focused so that I do not feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. This will come in very handy during standardized testing for me and my students!

    Motion Creates Emotion

    Get moving! The theory is that once your body is active and moving, endorphins are released that help to relieve stress and make you feel happy. Another free resource, GoNoodle, is a fun way to interact with your students. I first heard about this from one of my fellow bloggers, Kriscia Cabral, with her post, "Brain Breaks With GoNoodle." These quick, interactive breaks help to shake the winter blues as well as refocus your students on the lesson being taught. My students and I are embarking on a new unit on informational text. Having these mini-breaks will definitely energize us! 

     

     

    Pearls of Wisdom New Year, New You! Set realistic goals for yourself. This way you can celebrate your moments of achievements!

    As always, do you have any ideas to keep the positivity going to shake the winter blues? Please share! I enjoy sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

    Happy New Year everyone! As we return from the December break and settle into January, reality is setting in that we are in the midst of winter. Although Mother Nature has not reared her frosty presence, the calendar reminds us that January is the beginning of the long stretch ahead until spring break. An occasional snow day may come our way, but for the most part, the next few months can bring in a case of the winter blues. Normally we see signs of this in our students, restless from days of indoor recess and lethargic from the shorter days and longer nights. There is a slow building of energy ready to burst as everyone waits for spring to arrive.

    Students are not the only ones to be affected by the winter blues. I must admit that there are times when the blues hit me hard. There is something about leaving in the morning to prepare for class and it is dark outside. To make matters worse, leaving at the end of the day after grading papers or preparing lessons and, again, it is dark! I do not mind staying to get work done, but it just feels different during the winter months.

    I am working on keeping myself motivated, upbeat, and staving the winter blues. To this end, I revisited some ideas from my post on "Staying Healthy and Happy."  In this new year of 2016, I added and implemented some touches to help not only myself, but my students as well.

     

    Teacher Blues Busters

    Inspiration Journal

    It is so easy to look at life through a negative lens, and to see the glass as half empty instead of half full. To combat this, for years at home I have been keeping a “blessings journal.” My journal has moments that make me laugh and smile — moments that are blessings. I write down at least five moments every day. I am transferring this concept to my classroom. Since January 4, I have been jotting moments that bring a smile to my face. I will admit it was a struggle at first, but it is becoming easier. Even the words on the cover of my journal help me to keep my eyes on the prize: staying positive!

      

    Inspirational Quotes

    I took some motivational quotes and placed them strategically around the classroom. They can be found on the window ledge, on the classroom door, and on the walls. In keeping with our Dr. Seuss classroom theme, our entire rear wall includes motivational quotes from his books. I like to think of it as the words have our backs when things get tough. Added benefit: Dr. Seuss is always good for a laugh!

     

    Door Quote

     

     Wall Quote

     

     

    Windowsill Quote

    Dr. Seuss Quote Wall

    Five Minutes of Peace

    There is a free app that you can download to your phone called Take a Break. It coaches you through a brief mediation. I am including the link for both iTunes and Google Play. I use this app at home and decided to use it at work as well, especially during times of dealing with stress. It is definitely five minutes of peace! It helps to keep my mind clear and focused so that I do not feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. This will come in very handy during standardized testing for me and my students!

    Motion Creates Emotion

    Get moving! The theory is that once your body is active and moving, endorphins are released that help to relieve stress and make you feel happy. Another free resource, GoNoodle, is a fun way to interact with your students. I first heard about this from one of my fellow bloggers, Kriscia Cabral, with her post, "Brain Breaks With GoNoodle." These quick, interactive breaks help to shake the winter blues as well as refocus your students on the lesson being taught. My students and I are embarking on a new unit on informational text. Having these mini-breaks will definitely energize us! 

     

     

    Pearls of Wisdom New Year, New You! Set realistic goals for yourself. This way you can celebrate your moments of achievements!

    As always, do you have any ideas to keep the positivity going to shake the winter blues? Please share! I enjoy sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

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Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
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