Educators are asked to create an Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP) to support license renewal. After working through previous plans that targeted academics, I entered my twentieth year in the classroom with a shift in my focus. For my most recent IPDP, I chose to learn about strategies and techniques that have a positive impact on the social and emotional wellness of my students.
As the coordinator of our after school yoga club, I received a grant that gave me the opportunity to participate in fifty hours of training with Next Generation Yoga. The students who participate in our after school yoga club love the new ideas I brought with me from NGY!
Going through the NGY training with the lens of a classroom teacher also gave me several ideas of ways to incorporate yoga-inspired mindfulness into my elementary classroom. Here are some of the things I’ve tried recently:
Guided Visualization: This is a teacher favorite–especially during writing workshop. During the prewriting phase, we create a mind movie and then verbally brainstorm before organizing our thoughts in our notebooks.
Focus: The Glitter Jar (and Glitter Orbs) are simple and effective tools for calming the group. We even incorporated some math (How long do you predict it will take for all the glitter to settle? Let’s time it and collect some data!).
Breathing: The Hoberman Sphere is a student favorite. I have a small version that we use to focus on breathing in and out mindfully. Students love to be in charge of the sphere. This is especially helpful after the lunch/recess break.
Positive Affirmation Cards: We had a day where the winter blues were looming over our classroom. Giving each student a positive affirmation card was a great pick-me-up. Students were invited to share how they felt the card was meaningful to them. Most students taped the cards to their desks and two weeks later, they were still in place as a visual reminder!
Permissions: At the start of our NGY training, we were invited to write ourselves “permission slips” for what we needed to be present and focused during our training. I tried this in my classroom and my students impressed me with their thoughtfulness and honesty. “I give myself permission to ask questions.” “I give myself permission to start over.” “I give myself permission to breathe.”
These are some of the ways that I have been able to incorporate my NGY training into my work as a classroom teacher. My NGY training has given me new ways to support the social and emotional health of my students. I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the NGY training team!
NGY Teacher for 2-12 year olds