First Day of School Kindness #BeKind21

Day 4 – Setting Up a Classroom Peace Area

On Tuesday, I set up a peace area for my students. A classroom peace area is a space set aside to aide students who are experiencing uncomfortable emotions, including anxiety, fear, and sadness, and it is also a space for a student to simply relax and gather oneself for a moment.

In my classroom peace area, a student (or a teacher) can sit and rub on some lotion, play with a little stuffed animal, explore a basket full of peace rocks, look at a model of the heart, and look at soothing images.

It is just a little corner of respite for anyone who might need it. I actually love sitting in it myself, and students can even just bring something they need from this area to their desk.

Day 5 – Cooking for My Family

On Wednesday night, I made bucatini and homemade tomato sauce for my family. I love the tomato sauce recipe from Diane Seed’s Top 100 Pasta Sauces. I used to make tomato sauces that were too spicy for my kids, but this recipe is one that everyone loves. It feels good to nourish my family before the first day of school.

Day 6 – The First Day of School with a New Ritual

I always wake up early on the first day of school. This morning, I was up at 5 am. I resisted my phone and computer for some relaxation. I filled the tub with hot water and bath salts, made myself this tea, and read a bit of Thich Nhat Hanh’s wisdom –

Many people mix up happiness with excitement, but excitement is not exactly happiness. When you’re excited, there’s not enough peace in you, and the happiness isn’t real.

After the bath, as my family awoke and we started bustling around, I felt a little more reserved than usual – a good thing for me. This quotation resonated with me throughout the day and helped me to cultivate the presence I wanted to have for my beginning ESL students and for modeling my best self for my student teacher. You can see in the latter pictures that my students and my student teacher are working together collaboratively, purposefully, and deliberatively on a writing task.

Mommy Self-Care Tip: Psoas Release

All creative people, all people who read and write, need to take care of their bodies for maximum concentration. Since becoming a mom, and as a person who struggles with bipolar II disorder, it is essential for me to do the best to take care of my body – just to be able to think straight and focus on the essence of my being – creativity expressed through writing, movement, music, and cooking. Working with my hands and brains requires a will to maintain a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

So here’s a tip from me to you:

If you are a mom who is constantly lifting heavy toddlers, this video from Yoga with Adriene is really the best. Somehow it released all the tension from where my body is tight from all the lifting and repetitive motion of pushing my kids on the swings, helping them with monkey bars, carrying two kids at a time on the way back from a walk. I felt truly relaxed for the first time in years – it’s only twenty minutes, but it made a difference in my day, and it inspired me to write a quick blog post without worrying about too much length and perfection.