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 :)


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.


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!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Guest Post at Kristie's Blue Jeans!

Greetings friends!

I'm over at Kristie's Blue Jeans, sharing my experience with meditation and tips for how to get started. Even if you're super busy! Check me out :)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Easy Like Sunday Morning #4

You may have heard this one from Girls. Still awesome (or maybe even more awesome)


Thursday, November 6, 2014

TBT: The Wishing Tree

Happy Thursday!

This week's throwback is from 2012. I hope it inspires some classroom teachers to create their own Wishing Tree project (either related to elections or Thanksgiving - as in a Thankful Tree).

Original post: November 28, 2012

So this post is a little late, but I just loved the activity so much that I didn't want to miss out on sharing it :)

After the election madness, after casting our votes, and after analyzing the results, the Lower School all participated in  The Lower School Wishing Tree ceremony. Students wrote their wishes for their communities, their state, and they country. These wishes were created based on promises that our president made for our country, and students took it to a whole other level!

First, our class created a BrainFrame to brainstorm and remind ourselves of Obama's promises that we read during our election unit.

From here, we generated a list of our wishes. We briefly discussed the differences between wishes that are realistic and unrealistic. Then we discussed the differences between wishes that we want for ourselves, and wishes that we have for our country or communities. The kids generated their own ideas and I wrote them on chart paper to hang up in our Social Studies Corner. This list helped students when they went to generate their own wishes for the Wishing Tree.

The students were given blank leaves to draft their wish, then once their wish was finalized and edited, they rewrote their wishes on a sturdier leaf. They then decorated their leaves, and as a class, we held our Wishing Tree Ceremony.

It was a wonderful activity that the students really enjoyed. We really worked as a community to generate wishes and dreams for our community and country. We worked as a community to help each other come up with ideas. We celebrated as a community once our Wishing Tree was complete. I think it turned out beautifully...:)

What do you think?

I'm linking up with The Teacher's Desk 6 for another Throwback Thursday post. Click the button below to join in on the fun!

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