• Appreciation,  Building Community,  Education for Life,  Teaching Values,  Transitioning

    Start with your Heart

    Several years ago, when my children attended Living Wisdom School, I drove carpool in the mornings. The car was filled with different ages of students ranging from 1st to 7th grade. On one particular morning, the older children brought up a news topic involving leaders behaving in ways that they couldn’t understand. There was a pause for several blocks, and then, while looking out the car window, the 1st grader says, “Well, I guess they didn’t go to Living Wisdom.” The culture of kindness, positivity, empathy, and joy is felt by all ages at Living Wisdom. We’ve primarily offered this Education for Life education since 1997 through our school programs,…

  • Calm,  Energy,  Nurturing,  Transitioning

    Read Alouds and Energy

    Reading aloud is a major part of Primary class time and I use picture books to spark interest in a new subject, to deepen understanding, or just to be silly. Lately, I’ve been exploring using read-alouds as a tool to shift energy in the classroom. One day, the students came in from a PE where there had been some conflict. Their hurt feelings carried over into the classroom and the endless he-said-she-said began as soon as they got in the room. One student curled up and wouldn’t say a thing except and occasional “no I didn’t!” at the top of her lungs. Communication had broken down, and aside from endless…

  • primary class student
    Energy,  Transitioning

    Energy and Attention

    Chandi, the kindergarten teacher at Living Wisdom School in Seattle, writes about how she redirects her students’ attention. “One of my favorite ways of changing energy is using my classroom xylophone. I’m not a fan of teachers using a loud voice to call their classes for attention. I think it is jarring to their energy bodies. That is why I use the xylophone. I am also using whispering, with the xylophone now and singing a little song with freezing.  I sing a lot and play harmonium with songs and melodies that I make up for transitions.” (You can read more about Chandi’s classroom on her blog, Inside Out.) One of…

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    Energy,  Focused Attention,  Transitioning,  Willpower

    Boss of the Day

    Bharati is a master EFL teacher who taught at Living Wisdom in Beaverton for 15 years and now fills as a teacher whenever there is a need. She was recently filling in for Usha, teaching Communication/Language Arts to the 3rdgrade class. Since the class is 3-4-5th grade, the 3rd graders leave the classroom to do work, and they often work in a multipurpose room at the school. On this day, the room had recently been drastically changed. All of the Christmas decorations were up. As is perfectly natural, the students were excited, and instantly were drawn to explore the room. Bharati let the students explore for a few minutes, but…

  • playdough
    Body Awareness,  Calm,  Music,  Nurturing,  Transitioning,  Water

    Calming Energy with Music

    Usha tells a story in Calm and Compassionate Children about a time that she chose to use music in the classroom to change energy, rather than talking and ordering students about. The students had come in from recess, many arguing and up in arms about something that had happened on the playground. This is a very familiar scene to most teachers, as often simple playground disagreements start to expand to more and more students until most of the students are involved in the dispute. Rather than go straight to talking, Usha suggested that they drink some water, and sit silently for 5 minutes while they drank and relaxed. She put…

  • Energy,  Transitioning

    Changing Energy

    Getting the students’ attention when transitioning activities is one of the most important behavior management tools that a teacher can have. The energy that accompanies that attention-getting will impact the energy of the new activity. When I first started working at LWS in Beaverton, I was struck by the much calmer ways that the teachers got student attention. It was much more going with the flow of the children, working to channel their energy, rather than trying to change it. This gets to the heart of what Education for Life strives to do. In most schools, transition times are rather jarring. Teachers use often use a loud call and response…