These past few weeks, my classroom has truly been my happy place. I’ve got a great group of kids this year and we’ve truly built a classroom community. Knowing that, for them, a huge part of the world seems unusual and unstable at the moment, I’ve put a few daily practices in place to help us all stay a little more grounded. We have the same routine every morning: we express gratitude, we practice mindfulness, we set a goal for the day, and then we begin.
I am grateful for…
Every morning I ask my students to think of and write down three thing they are grateful for. They can be specific or general. They can be recent of long term. No matter what, they have to come up with three things. Most days, I share my own three, and then I ask for volunteers. Some days, they come up with five, six, or ten things to be grateful for. Most will say the same things, day in and out, but it’s the practice that holds the most importance.
Today I am feeling… because…
I don’t only ask my students to pay attention to how they feel but also, why they’re feeling that way. I tell them that when we can identify our feelings, we can better understand how we are acting and reacting to situations. We say that some days, it’s okay if we don’t know the “because.” Sometimes we just feel the way we feel for no reason and we can accept that. And, if we feel ready for a challenge, we consider how to keep our positive emotions going throughout the day and how to change the negative ones we might be feeling.
My goal today is… I can achieve my goal by…
If we can set a goal for our day, we can set a purpose and increase our motivation. We can take action with intention. I find that this is the most challenging daily practice for my students. However, those that really get it set the most thoughtful goals. I’ve also found that they enjoy setting goals that benefit others (stay positive so I can be a good friend) which I find incredibly inspiring.
At the end of the day, with our dismissal, we practice both recognition with class “shout outs” and reflection as we share our lows and highs of the day. We share our lows first, so we can acknowledge that not every moment in life is a great one, before sharing our highs to boost us back up.
At first, I wondered if my kiddos would think these daily practices were cheesy. However, they look for them now- they expect them. Allowing them a little bit of inevitability each day has greatly helped our classroom environment. They miss them when our schedule is wonky and we don’t get the chance to work through them. That is a win in my book.