Our head of school recently shared with our staff the video " Just Breathe " by Julie Bayer Salzman and Josh Salzman. The video captures eloquent 5-year-old students explaining what happens to your body when you experience a certain emotion. But it wasn't the impressive vocabulary they used, such as "amygdala" and "cortex", that blew me away. Rather, it was the way they took ownership in how they deal with their emotions.
After watching the video alone, I immediately thought of my students. So often do we as teachers get caught up in the ABCs and 123s of teaching that we forget there is so much more to learning. Learning that is just as important, if not more, that children must understand and experience to be happy, healthy people.
So without a second thought, I played the video for my grade 1/2 class. For three whole minutes and 41 seconds they watched in complete silence. Some with mouths wide open. I knew it spoke to them. They saw themselves reflected in the children from the video.
After the video played we sat together quietly.
"Sometimes I get mad," one student whispered.
"My sister and I sometimes fight, too," another stated. I just sat back, occasionally jumping in with a question to get them thinking.
"Do you think taking deeps breaths is something you could try when you become upset?" I asked.
Students nodded and smiled. "It's easy and you can do it anywhere," someone added.
I'm excited to see what changes this new strategy might bring to our classroom environment.