Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Celebrating BrainSMART's 20-Year Anniversary: Teachers Speak

Teacher leader Stacey Wartenbee shares a BrainSMART celebration entry about using one of our popular strategies to help transform her classroom into an even more positive and focused learning zone.

How to Leave Your Worries Outside
the Classroom Door

Attending a BrainSMART professional development session helped to transform my classroom and teaching. As we know, true learning cannot take place until basic needs are met and we feel safe. So over the last couple of years, I have really focused on the social and emotional needs of my second-grade students. I believe that these skills are as important as math and reading (and are necessary for students to learn well in the content areas).

In our session, Dr. Donna taught a number of teaching principles and original strategies. One of the tools I have found very helpful is called the "Coat Hanger Strategy." After our professional development session, I immediately taught my students how to use this tool so we could leave our worries outside the classroom door each and every day. First, I hung a coat hanger outside my door.

Each morning since, my students can figuratively hang any problems that burden them on the hanger outside my room before we begin the school day. This leaves them free to focus on learning rather than on worrying!

While this is a fabulous strategy for my students, I have found it very beneficial personally as well. My many stressors need to be left outside the room too. For example, the problems I have with my car, or the fact that I did not get a good night's sleep should not impact the learning in my class. Now, I have a strategy for leaving my worries outside the classroom door too.

Stacey Schumacher Wartenbee

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