Improve Classroom Behavior with a Mindful Exercise

Mindful Machine.001.jpeg

Are you starting school soon?  I don’t start until September 1st, but I’m already thinking of new ideas to use to get the attention of my class.  We all use different strategies to quiet a noisy room (quiet claps, echoes, two fingers up, class-yes).  But I wanted to think of a new way to signal for quiet while helping my kids to become more mindful.

The Mindful Machine

What you need:

A visual of a brain, which you can download below, and attach to a construction paper headband (or you can just point to your head if you don’t want to wear funny brain crowns).

How to do it:

  1. First introduce the new quiet signal to your class.  Say, “When I say Mindful Machine and put on this headband, we are all going to point to our heads and say “shh” while lowering our arms.”
  2. Try it.  Say Mindful Machine and have the students point to their heads and say “shh” while lowering their arms.
  3. You can point out that when they do it correctly, they look and sound like a giant machine getting ready to learn.
  4. Practice this new attention getter.
  5. If you really want to get creative and aren’t afraid of looking silly, get a picture of a brain, glue it to a construction paper head band and put it on every time you say Mindful Machine. This will definitely add to the visual component and I’m sure the kids will get a kick out of it.  You can download a FREE brain to use to make your own construction paper headband here. Brain
  6. Now every time you say Mindful Machine, put your brain crown on and have the kids say “shh”.  This will help them to be more mindful and stop, think, and listen to directions.  Plus, looking at you wearing a brain will be sure to put smile on all of your students’ faces.

Happy Students= More Learning!

Whole Brain Teaching Music Rules

As I ready my classroom for my kiddies, I’ve been thinking about what rules I want to introduce. Last year I began whole brain teaching in my music classroom. I started with two components: Class. Yes! and the 5 rules. In this post I will tell you a little bit about my rules.
Last year I introduced the 5 WBT rules with my kids with the accompanying gestures. Using gestures and movement with your kiddies is very important be aide any it helps create connections in the brain. The bigger the movement the stronger the connection.

The 5 rules I did were:

  • Follow directions quickly (move one hand in a quick, wiggly line)
  • Raise your hand for permission to speak (raise hand and then make speak movement with hand)
  • Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat (raise hand and then make walk gesture with fingers)
  • Make smart choices (point at head with one finger)
  • Keep your dear teacher happy (Hands near face, move them back and forth.)

This year I decided to change rule number 3 a little bit. You know how when one kid raises their hand and asks to go to the bathroom and suddenly half the class realizes they have to go to?!?! This kept happening in my class so I changed rule #3 to
Use your gestures for permission to leave your seat. I will have kids do the sign language sign for toilet when they have to use the bathroom. Hopefully this will cause less disruptions.

I have the kids recite the rules in the beginning of each class using gestures. Then they turn and “teach” their partner. More on that in an upcoming post. I love having them rehearse the rules because when one child decides to break the rule all I have to do is say “rule # 2” and all my kiddies will say “Raise your hand for permission to speak”. Usually this acts as a great reminder for the offending kiddie.

This year I also decided to incorporate music into my rules. I figured it would be a good idea since I am a music teacher after all 😀. I set the words of each Whole Brain Teaching Rule to coincide with its rhythm. I will say each rule and clap the rhythm of the words at the same time.
I am planning on using them as a quick note reading exercise in the beginning of class.
I made the rhythms fairly easy so even my 1st graders can say and clap them.
You can see some examples below.

WBT Music Rules

WBT Music Rules

You can find them on my TpT store here.

Have you used WBT in your class?