This week, we reviewed what we had learned about being a mindful listener and then introduced using mindful seeing. When we are mindful with our seeing, we are taking in all the details around us. We talked about how it is important to be mindful of what expressions you see on people’s faces.
We talked a lot about what facial expressions show which feelings. And then we talked about how we can be mindful see-ers and if we see someone who has an expression on their face that shows they are not feeling happy or good, then we can check in with them and see if there is anything we can do to help their feelings improve.
We, also, discussed mindful movement. We started by finding our pulse and talking about being aware of the rate that our heart is beating. After doing jumping jacks for 30 seconds, we noticed that our heart rate was much faster than when we were resting on the floor. We talked about how our heart pumps faster when we are exercising to get more oxygen to our body so that we have energy to keep going. But, our heart rate speeds up when we are nervous, excited, or scared as well. We talked about being aware of how quickly our heart is beating and learned a way to calm ourselves down if we notice our hearts beating faster than they need to. We talked about sitting up straight to allow for easier blood flow throughout our bodies and taking deep breaths (or yawning) to slow your heart rate and help calm ourselves.
We also talked about our body movement and how we need to be mindful of how we are moving. Often, first graders are on the move and bump in to people or furniture around them without realizing it. To practice being mindful of our surroundings, we each put a ruler on our head and walked around our room trying to keep it balanced on top. The kids were very aware of where the furniture was, where their friends were, and what speed they were moving so that their ruler wouldn’t slip off. Since having this discussion, we have talked about being mindful of our surroundings while we are moving around the room, especially around our mailboxes or iPad cart where space is limited (no pushing/shoving).
Another idea we have been talking about is how attitude affects how well you can handle situations, especially solving problems. We introduced the words: optimistic thinker and pessimistic thinker. We talked about how optimistic thinkers think with happy thoughts and are more likely to solve problems successfully. Pessimistic thinkers are often defensive and react with anger when problems arise. The kids spent a good deal of time role playing different problems and sharing how an optimistic thinker would react as opposed to a pessimistic thinker.
For example: If someone takes the seat that we want at lunch
Pessimistic Thinking: “That person is so mean, it’s not fair, I was going to sit there.”
OPTIMISTIC THINKING: “I can find another friend to sit by, I can try to sit there tomorrow.”
We agreed that we need to start practicing optimistic attitudes so that we can handle problems better on our own. We are going to practice taking a few deep breaths when a problem arises and thinking of the problem from a different point of view. When these situations arise at home, remind your first grader to use optimistic thinking…ask them, “how can we think about this situation optimistically?”