Monday, June 16, 2008

How to Breathe in Class

Today I told all the students (25 of them) in reading class to close their mouths and breathe through their noses.

The instruction was so novel that instant silence descended, except for the deep breathing-through-the-nose noises that began to emanate from the group.

I then told them to remember how this closed-mouth position felt. This is what their mouths were to feel like for the remainder of class (10 minutes) as they worked silently on their worksheet. What a new concept it was to some! At least two then raised their hands to inform me that they had colds and could not breathe through their noses. I gave them permission to breathe through their mouths :) !!

Ridiculous, I know. I did not premeditate the order. It was born instinctively as I realized I'd been fighting the hum of unnecessary chit-chatter all class period. What other way is there to actually get children's mouths closed? I'm glad to find I have some practicality left. I believe they got more done in that 10 minutes than in any other similar block of time in all the past week.

This will not be the last time they will be instructed in what a "closed mouth" feels like. Now that I've discovered how well physical cues work to reinforce "abstract" concepts...let's see...perhaps next class period they will all be told to lift their feet off the floor and then remember what it feels like to be firmly and solidly planted on their seat.

Where, oh where, are the days of teaching high-schoolers?!

No comments: