The connectedness of mind and body come together in physical education classes at Saw Mill Road Elementary School. Teachers Tim Byrne and Alyssa Parker are incorporating social and emotional learning into their lessons to focus on overall student health.
Each class starts off with a warmup exercise, and students follow the moving mood meter as their guide. They do an exercise for 30 seconds based on how they are feeling. Ms. Parker said that the actions correlate to each mood so, for example, a student with lower energy might do a more intense exercise to get them prepared for class. The exercises also change each month so children explore different ways to stay fit.
The moving mood meter sparks conversations, so Mr. Byrne and Ms. Parker learn what is going on in the students’ lives and might be impacting them in school. Giving them that avenue to talk and express their feelings creates a more positive learning environment in which students can thrive in class.
“We’re getting to know the students a lot better,” Ms. Parker said. “The students are feeling more heard. It gives them an opportunity to share what’s going on with them personally.”
Mr. Byrne and Ms. Parker also created the Zen Zone, filled with calming activities like balls, books, pictures and small toys. Additionally, each class ends on a relaxing note with breathing exercises.