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Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts

Six Ways to Help Kids Beat the Winter Blues

The Winter Blues
A medical diagnosis might be Seasonal Affective Disorder.
 
Six Ways to Help Kids Beat the Winter Blues: Winter can seem very long, and often gets the kids feeling "down". Here are some ideas to help them through it!
 
I am not a medical professional, but I have seen these symptoms in many of my students:

  • change of moods
  • increased crying
  • difficulty concentrating
  • fatigue or loss of energy
  • lack of motivation
  • feeling sluggish or agitated
  • problems getting along with others
  • changes in appetite

Honestly, with the incredible amount of snow here in the northeast, we've been stuck inside way too much, and it's not just the kids struggling with these symptoms!

As I'm sure you know, teaching can be tough under normal conditions.

It's even tougher when the kids just want to nap at their desks!

But what can we do about it?

Here are a few things I've tried:

Six Ways to Help Kids Beat the Winter Blues: Winter can seem very long, and often gets the kids feeling "down". Here are some ideas to help them through it!
1. Exercise!  Get those kids out of their seats and moving! They may not feel like getting up at all, but that's a sign they really need to!  It's important to do some exercises that will get their blood pumping, like jogging in place, jumping jacks, or Go Noodle! (If you haven't discovered Go Noodle, it's time to check it out! It's free, and the kids love these Brain Breaks!)
GoNoodle Inspiration Blog


Six Ways to Help Kids Beat the Winter Blues: Winter can seem very long, and often gets the kids feeling "down". Here are some ideas to help them through it!

2. Rest and Relaxation! They need some quiet time, too! There are yoga moves that are perfect for kids, and simplified forms of meditation. (Many studies show the need for meditation!) In my classroom we have "silent seconds". That's when the kids sit with their hands on their knees, trying to clear their minds of all the clutter. They love it, and seriously need to clear their minds. (We all do!) Another form of relaxation? Bring out the water color paints! They are suddenly VERY quiet when those come out!

Here are some book ideas if you want to find out more about yoga with kids!


Here are some ideas to help them through it!     Here are some ideas to help them through it!   Here are some ideas to help them through it!

Six Ways to Help Kids Beat the Winter Blues: Winter can seem very long, and often gets the kids feeling "down". Here are some ideas to help them through it!

3. Happy Music! There is much research that proves music affects our moods. When the children are acting tired and dragging themselves around, it's time to put on some happy music! It's OK to let them dance! HERE is a post I did years ago that has several suggestions for Happy Music for the classroom. HERE is another link to a post that gives suggestions for a variety of kinds of music, and when to use it in the classroom. 

Six Ways to Help Kids Beat the Winter Blues: Winter can seem very long, and often gets the kids feeling "down". Here are some ideas to help them through it!

4. Get Outside! I realize sometimes this isn't possible, but it's important for those kids to breathe fresh air and get away from the stale air in the classroom. Plus, they need that Vitamin D from the sun! (Did you realize many symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are similar to those of seasonal affective disorder?) What learning activities can be done in the snow? Measuring? Science? I'm sure you can come up with something!

Six Ways to Help Kids Beat the Winter Blues: Winter can seem very long, and often gets the kids feeling "down". Here are some ideas to help them through it!

5. Shake it Up! Kids need to look at things differently. This can be as simple as rearranging the furniture or having a backwards schedule day. It might mean changing the routine or doing something totally different one day. It's amazing how one crazy day can put them in a better mood. Plus, when they get back to the routine, they appreciate it more!
Six Ways to Help Kids Beat the Winter Blues: Winter can seem very long, and often gets the kids feeling "down". Here are some ideas to help them through it!

6. Plan Something Special! Kids (and adults) need something to look forward to. It gives them motivation. Luckily, February has plenty of opportunities for special activities! We're planning a Valentine's Day party, and I'll go out of my way to make it super fun. They need it! We also have Day 100 (which will be whenever we get back to school after this recent snowstorm!), Presidents Day, Mardi Gras, and Chinese New Year. (Which brings me back to #2: rest and relaxation!) But with the winter we've had, I may have to bring back something I haven't done in years:
 

Virtual Trip to Mexico!

Here are some ideas to help them through it!Yes, we actually go on a virtual trip to Mexico. We get in our virtual airplane, put on our seat belts and fly to Mexico. We get out of our seats, and exit the plane to the warmth of the Mexican beaches. We bring our beach towels, have tortilla chips and salsa while enjoying our books. We see virtual animals and feel the virtual warm breeze.  I might even sneak in some mapping skills and a handful of Spanish words to keep it interesting.

Of course, I might have to bring out some resources like this one: 

Here are some ideas to help them through it!

or this one

Here are some ideas to help them through it!

or perhaps this one:
Six Ways to Help Kids Beat the Winter Blues: Winter can seem very long, and often gets the kids feeling "down". Here are some ideas to help them through it!



We CAN get past this winter!

Six Ways to Help Kids Beat the Winter Blues: Winter can seem very long, and often gets the kids feeling "down". Here are some ideas to help them through it!


Don't Blame Santa!

I've heard a lot of teachers blaming the holidays for the struggle many children have in school this time of year.

Don't Blame Santa! Here are some reasons why the children struggle this time of year. It's not really Santa's fault!
 
I suspect it's not the holidays that are making it tough for them to concentrate. I think it's a couple of other things.


1.  These little guys have been pushing since August! They've had a couple of long weekends, but they really haven't had a real vacation! They're due for a break!

2.  The days are short. They get up in the dark. By the time they get home from school, the sun is pretty much down. Not only are they not getting outside to let off steam, but so much darkness robs them of Vitamin D, and makes them sleepy!

Some of my little guys can barely hold their heads up during the day! 

I had a little girl today looking lost, so I asked her what she was looking for. She said she couldn't remember. (I admit, I do that all the time: walk to the other side of the room, then can't remember why I walked over there, but I blame old age!)

Honestly, I think the holidays are the only thing that hold them together! The promise of fun activities, Santa's watching to see if they're good, seasonal literature and games... there's still some great learning happening, despite their low concentration.

They'll be back on track after a good rest. We have almost 2 weeks off coming up, if we can make it through 4 more school days!

...but I'm not blaming Santa! He's the one who's helping them hold it together!

Don't Blame Santa! Here are some reasons why the children struggle this time of year. It's not really Santa's fault!

An Educational Winter Art Project

I love a craft that ties into something educational.  

I also love a craft that allows room for individual creativity.  

An Educational Art Project: turn a snow man art project into math problems! The best part? You can keep it up after the holidays!

This time of year, we have to pull all the stops out to get them enthusiastic about learning, so we did this art project.

The kiddos made snow people with snowballs for each of the letters in their names. They made a math equation to represent their names, then decorated the snow people. 
 
An Educational Art Project: turn a snow man art project into math problems! The best part? You can keep it up after the holidays!

Sorry, I had to cover the last names. Middle names were optional, but several wanted to include them. 

An Educational Art Project: turn a snow man art project into math problems! The best part? You can keep it up after the holidays!

Look closely at this one: the third snow person is sad because the wind blew away his hat!

An Educational Art Project: turn a snow man art project into math problems! The best part? You can keep it up after the holidays!

Here's another, aren't these adorable?
An Educational Art Project: turn a snow man art project into math problems! The best part? You can keep it up after the holidays!


One thing I really like about these: I can hang them in the hallway now, and I can keep them up until January!


An Educational Art Project: turn a snow man art project into math problems! The best part? You can keep it up after the holidays!


January Freebies!

Looking for some freebies for the month of January?  

I know where you can find some: right here!

January Freebies!  Here are five different freebies that can be used in your elementary classroom during the month of January!

January is a good time for Thank you cards! I like to start the year with a lesson on Thank you cards, and let the children write thank you cards to each other.  They love it!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Thank-You-Cards-Freebie-5115442?utm_source=january%20freebies&utm_campaign=thank%20you%20notes%20freebie

For more about the parts of a Thank You note, see THIS POST.

We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. in January.  This is one of my favorite freebies.  It really gets the kids thinking. It's an opportunity for children to decide on the fairness of decision in their lives.  I've heard some very passionate conversations when we work on the Just or Unjust activity!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Just-or-Unjust-a-Civics-Sorting-Activity-190743?utm_source=blog%20post&utm_campaign=Just%20or%20Unjust


For more resources to teach about Martin Luther King Jr. see THIS POST.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Halfway-Day-Activities-Freebie-2280861?utm_source=blog%20post&utm_campaign=Halfway%20Day

Many people are getting ready to celebrate Day 100, but we have another month before that happens. However, I do think Day 90 is a great opportunity to celebrate my favorite fraction! Halfway Day includes a couple of fractions to practice 1/2, and some badges for the children to wear to celebrate 1/2 way through the school year!

I've been working on a series of No Prep Printables. These are perfect for when you need something quickly, but want a valid learning activity which will engage the children.  Here's a sampling of Winter No Prep Activities!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Winter-No-Prep-Printables-Freebie-Literacy-and-Math-Fun-1021081?utm_source=blog%20post&utm_campaign=Winter%20No%20Prep%20Freebie

January is a great time of year to decide to be happy, and you can help your students by encouraging them to be grateful! You can learn more about these Gratitude Journal Labels in this blog post: Five Finger Gratitude!


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Gratitude-Journal-Labels-5100464?utm_source=january%20freebies&utm_campaign=gratitude%20journal%20labels

Enjoy your January, and give those kiddos an extra happy greeting back from vacation!

January Freebies!  Here are five different freebies that can be used in your elementary classroom during the month of January!



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