Friday, November 28, 2014

SPED Bloggers Blog Hop: Essential Oils for the Mid-Year Chaos

Welcome to the Special Education Bloggers Blog Hop! I am so thankful you have stopped by! I hope this blog hop has given you new tips and tricks to use in your classroom, and that you are enjoying your FREEBIES!

You made it to Thanksgiving! Just a few more weeks until Winter Break! Can you make it?

This was always the most stressful time of year for me as a teacher, even more than the end of the year madness. (who can be that stressed when Summer is on the horizon?) Come December, I was up to my neck in report cards, conferences, and holiday crafts for parents, just to name a few. Tackle on the job of containing a classroom full of excitable second graders, and every single day, I was fried and ready for a nap. I needed a change.

I decided to share something with my classroom that I was solely utilizing in my house...

Technically, I'm a scientist now, so what I'm about to say to you may not seem very compatible. However, there is indeed science behind what I am going to share, and I think it is worth looking into to see results for yourself

I needed… essential oils.

I'm here today to give you some tips on using essential oils in your classroom to make it through this stressful time of the year!

The way I have found most effective (and safest) to utilize essential oils in the classroom is by way of a diffuser. (Here is the diffuser I personally own) I diffuse different oils for different purposes throughout my house and (when I had) my classroom. I will list the different ways to use oils for different, common classroom problems.

*Note: While using essential oils topically with children is generally safe for many oils, I do NOT recommend doing so. Some children may have allergies, sensitive skin, or the parents just plain don't want you rubbing oils on their kid's feet (this last one is an EXCELLENT reason not to use these oils topically with your classroom. That seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen). While I may advocate for topically applying oils with children in my own life, I do not suggest you do so with your students, for all the ethical reasons I mentioned, and other obvious ones. In all seriousness, it is still best to request consent from parents if you do plan on diffusing oils into the air, as it is best practice.*

Inattention


  • Clarity (Young Living Blend): promotes a clear mind and alertness through is combination of stimulating oils.
  • Lemongrass: Refreshing, rejuvenating, stimulating, and balancing, this oil improves mental clarity.
  • Peppermint: Many studies indicate this oils benefits, including its ability to improve concentration and mental sharpness.
  • Basil: Inhaling basil can refresh the mind and restores mental alertness.

Sniffles and Colds

  • Thieves (Young Living Blend): This blend was researched and tested for its cleansing abilities and it has been found to be highly effective in supporting the immune system and good health.
  • Eucalyptus: This oil helps relieve respiratory and sinus infections, is a powerful decongestant, and fights viral infections.
  • Peppermint: In addition to its powerful alerting properties, Peppermint is purifying and fights against respiratory infections, viral infections, headaches, and digestive discomfort, just to name a few!

Impulsivity and Hyperactivity

  • Lavender: My favorite essential oil because it is packed with power! When diffused, lavender is calming, relaxing, and balancing, both physically and emotionally. IT has also been documented to improve concentration and mental acuity.
  • Peace and Calming (Young Living Blend): This blend promotes relaxation and a deep sense of peace and emotional well-being.
  • Coriander: We know this name from its seed, commonly used in cooking! When this oil is diffused, it is used to soothe and calm the environment.
  • Cistus: When diffused, this oil is calming to the nerves and elevates the emotions.

Sleepiness and The Slumps

  • Grapefruit: This stimulating oil can help relieve anxiety and depression, as well as promote alertness and combat fatigue. It's refreshing and uplifting fragrance helps to boost awareness.
  • Peppermint: This oil is extremely stimulating - just inhale to see for yourself! Research indicates that peppermint aroma may help attention, performance, and focus, while awakening the senses.
  • Rosemary: Another common spice you might find in your cabinet, this oil helps to overcome mental fatigue and improves mental clarity and focus. Research has found when inhaled, rosemary boosted alertness, eased anxiety, and amplified analytic and mental ability!

Bugs and Germs

  • Purification (Young Living Blend): This purifying blend cleanses and disinfects the air and neutralizes mildew.
  • Thieves (Young Living Blend): Studies have demonstrated the killing power of a blend of essential oil, found in Thieves, against airborne microorganisms. This blend is highly antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-infectious. 

Absentmindedness

  • Frankincense: This powerful oil is known to increase awareness and improve attitude. Additionally, it can help decrease short-term memory loss.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint, as mentioned above, can help promote alertness. Ttis has been shown to help with memory retention.
  • Cardamom: The oil form of this common seed has an uplifting, refreshing and invigorating aroma. Cardamom helps to promote alertness and mindfulness.

Crabbiness and The Grumps

  • Joy (Young Living Blend): This aromatic blend brings joy, inspires compassion, and helps overcome grief and depression.
  • Bergamot: This oil is simultaneously uplifting and calming, with a unique ability to relieve anxiety, stress, and tension.
  • Cistus: This oil is known to be calming to the nerves and elevates emotions. It is commonly used for its antidepressant properties.
  • Frankincense: This oil is a power house! Frankincense is commonly used for depression and  When diffused it can improve mood and create a sense of calm and meditativeness. 
  • Orange: A study conducted by Mie University found that orange essential oils, along with other citrus fragrances boosted immunity, induced relaxation, and reduced depression.
I hope these tips help you through this crazy time of year! I know it helped me in my classroom, and daily in my home throughout the year. I'd love to hear about your adventures with essential oils as well!

And now, for your (unrelated) FREEBIE! I created this just for you - it's a worksheet to use with your students who are working on identifying and coming up with their own fact and opinion sentences.

Click here to get your FREEBIE!

DISCLAIMER: All the information presented here and on the Mindful Rambles blog is for educational and resource purposes only. It is NOT a substitute for or in addition to any advice given to you by your medical professional. Before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or exercise regimen, please consult your physician.

Leave a comment letting me know how you use essential oils in your life, or if you don't, if it's something you'd be interested in learning more about. :)

Thanks for checking in.  For more freebies and tips, continue the trip through the blog hop by checking out Creating and Teaching...just click the button below.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Turkey Day Playlist for Awkward Thanksgiving Dinner

Looking for a soundtrack to your awkward Thanksigivng dinner? Play this softly in the background and when your Uncle Joe cracks some borderline racist joke that makes everyone cringe, crank it up to drown out the awkward silence.

You're welcome in advance.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Coming Soon...

An amazing Special Educator's Blog Hop! 25 talent special educator's will be sharing their tips and freebies with you starting this Friday! Make sure to come back to check it out :)


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Easy Like Sunday Morning #6

alt-J is a tremendous band from England - worth checking out! This song is from their first album. I'm posting their video instead of just the song because it's incredible. With any luck, I'll be seeing them next week when they come to Boston :)

Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Thankful Classroom

Happy Friday Friends!

If you are looking for a fun craftivity to do with your kiddos during the short week next week (US teachers at least), check out my Thankful Turkeys Craftivity! They turn out super cute and for under $2, it's quite a steal!

You can choose between the feathers with lines for your students who are writers, or the blank feathers for students who would prefer to draw. Both are provided in this product. Additionally, there are explicit directions for assembly and pictures to follow along. This is honestly, one of my favorite products because it is so simple, yet so adorable when it's all put together! My kids loved how these turned out and you will too!

Also, if you are looking for a math activity to add to your centers or downtime next week, look no further than my Don't Be a Turkey! Number Sense Math Center. This product is perfect for Kindergarteners or anyone who needs help with number subitizing and number sense! I used this with some of my 1st and 2nd graders who were struggling with the automaticity of recognizing clusters of objects. Super helpful and fun!

With easy to follow instructions for both readers and nonreaders, this simple center is perfect for your differentiated classroom. And for less than $2, you get a great center for a little :)

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving week in school, and a safe and healthy Thanksgiving at home :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Easy Like Sunday Morning #5

Currently completely obsessed with this song from The Head and the Heart. Great band. Great music. Great song.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mindfulness Meditation: The What, Why, and How

Greetings friends!

Recently, I was a guest blogger at Kristie's Blue Jeans, blogging about how to incorporate meditation into your lives, even if you are super busy. (Who isn't?) I figured that some people may benefit from learning about my meditation journey, and how practicing meditation can benefit you too!

Many people look at meditation as a complete lifestyle overhaul; one in which, if they embrace meditation, they will then have to start eating organic hemp seeds, wearing Birkenstocks, and creating natural remedies using medicinal herbs. While all of these changes can certainly be made (and I highly recommend) it is by no means necessary. You can still eat conventionally grown apples, wear your glitter Uggs, and continue using industrially produced medications. I promise.

Additionally, many folks think they are too busy for meditation. That meditation is too time-consuming, too challenging, and requires a lot of “stuff” to do it right. I’m here to tell you that is a load of BS. The best thing about meditation (other than the insane benefits) is that you need absolutely nothing to do it! Sure, many people use meditation pillows, swear by healing stones, and listen to meditation CDs, but none of these things are essential to start and sustaining your meditation practice. I have been practicing meditation for years and have never owned any special seating or trinkets.

There are many different meditation styles and techniques out there. You may want to try all of these to find the one(s) that suit you best. There is no right or wrong technique. I am personally guided by a technique called mindfulness meditation. My mind wanders. A lot. As someone who has struggled with ADHD her entire life, I’ve learned to embrace this quirk, even throughout my meditation. Some techniques suggest focusing on a particular thought, mantra, or style of breathing to help focus your attention. I have found that when I attempt to do this, I end up failing (though, of course there is no failing in meditation) and feel bad about it. I struggle to maintain focus on a particular thing and notice my mind wandering. While this is perfectly natural, I knew I was “supposed” to be doing it. Practicing with these ideas in mind was a lot of work…literally. I did not feel relaxed, nor grounded, and I dreaded doing it. Throughout my journeys, I discovered the technique of mindfulness. According to the bloggers at Gaiam, mindfulness meditation:

“encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.

Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge experience as “good” or “bad” (“pleasant” or “unpleasant”). With practice, an inner balance develops.”

This was exactly what I needed. Not only did it relieve my anxiety about doing things “wrong” but it enhanced so many other parts of my life. Through my practice of releasing self-judgment through my practice, I began to view my life, experiences, and stress in a different light. Instead of attributing a label to these experiences, I began noticing how I felt about them, why they were/were not happening, and ways I could make changes, or not make changes and continue feeling satisfaction in my life. I became less “judgy” and impulsive, and more introspective and balanced.

Whatever meditation style(s) you choose, you can manage a busy lifestyle while practicing meditation. Can you afford not to?

Want to get started? Check out my guest post over at Kristie’s Blue Jeans for meditation tips for busy beginners!


For more resources on meditation, visit The Buddhist Centre, and/or check out my Resources for Mindfulness Amazon List.

DISCLAIMER: All the information presented here and on the Mindful Rambles blog is for educational and resource purposes only. It is NOT a substitute for or in addition to any advice given to you by your medical professional. Before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or exercise regimen, please consult your physician.

Do you meditate? What, if any, techniques do you use? Keep the conversation going by leaving a comment!

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