With the new normal for teachers and students being a mix of Remote Learning and Traditional Onsite Learning, it can be stressful. Add a layer of technology, and children can have heightened anxiety while navigating their lessons. The increased stress in their student's learning is why a teacher at Thompson Elementary in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District has designed a relaxation room for students to chill in her virtual classroom.
Kristina Gray, a Third Grade Teacher at Thompson Elementary, had an idea of creating a virtual Calm Down Corner for students to visit when they need a break. The "Corner" features a variety of calming videos, GoNoodle activities, relaxing books and music, as well as a self-reflection form for students to fill out if they want to her know what is bothering them. It is a wonderful opportunity for students to relax and refocus on their learning.
The Idea of the Calm Down Corner
Gray's inspiration for the calming corner came after attending a mindfulness conference a few years ago through Momentum. She has always had a calm down area in her physical classroom, and now with Remote Learning, she decided to build a virtual escape for students.
Gray says, "With the misfortune of the pandemic, I can't provide the same calming activities for my students like glitter bottles, fidget puddy, or stress balls. So I did some research online, and thought it'd be awesome to create a calm down spot Bitmoji style!"
How the Calm Down Corner Works
The Calm Down Corner is accessible to all students through Gray's Canvas homepage. Students can access the resources at any time! "We encourage our students to take 3-5 minutes to reset when they feel frustrated, upset, stressed, or overwhelmed. This helps them to step away from whatever is causing the strong emotions, and take deep breaths or think about something else for a moment before returning to the task or situation," said Gray.
Students Wellbeing During Unusual Times
With the Calm down Corner being new, students have been able to use the tool and provide feedback and suggestions to make it even better. "I have found a rotation of calming stories on Epic to share, saved videos from YouTube and GoNoodle, and will be taking the student's advice on adding resources like drawing or writing to keep things fresh," said Gray.
Thompson's third-grade teachers are excited to provide a safe space for their students during these unusual times. Gray's goal is to make sure that students can focus on their mental and emotional wellbeing to learn in a new academic setting.
During the limited time the Calm Down Corner has been open, students are more relaxed and more productive in the classroom. It is a tremendous victory for Thompson Elementary and their third-grade classes.