Monday, October 17, 2016

Day 23- Monday Morning, 5 minutes for the day

The forecast for our field trip was good and it did not disappoint. By the time both classes came together just after 9 a.m., to prepare for our outdoor field trip-a scavenger hunt on our Legislature grounds, then a short walking tour through downtown, noticing some federal and provincial government buildings and services, before we took the river walk to The Forks, for lunch and some time on the playground, finally returning to school to reflect on our day- the sun was already shining and it was clear it was going to be a beautiful fall day.

Everyone was excited, but have also notably improved at balancing their enthusiasm with a cooperative and respectful mindfulness of themselves and their surroundings. We had already gotten everything we would need organized on Friday, though of course several had to ask what they would need, and it didn't take long to get settled in Mr. Y's room. They have also gotten accustomed to making room for both classes and seating themselves in places they know they will be successful.

Today everyone got comfortable very quickly, with Mr. Y's class sitting in their usual seats and my class arranging themselves around them. My breather and his friend, who has become a breather too, were on opposite sides of the room, and beside my breather was another boy, who was also happy to sit up straight and breathe- more students do this more often when we are outside of my classroom- and on the other side of my breather sat Student A.

With only 30 minutes before our bus was scheduled to depart, I told them we would move into our meditation right away, and chose a slightly shorter track, at 5 minutes and 27 seconds. Everyone was quiet and pretty still as I started the prompts, but within the first 30 seconds Student A had focused on distracting my breather. Without actually touching him, he started waving his hands in front of his face in an effort to call attention.

I continued the breath count as I made my way across the room to Student A, who saw me moving towards him, stopped momentarily, and then continued to wave his hand in front of my breather's face, until I was standing right beside him, when he finally stopped and put his head down. I am not certain whether my breather noticed at all, or just didn't give Student A the satisfaction, but he was undisturbed and stayed with the meditation.

I stood there for the next four minutes, the remainder of the meditation, as I went through the rest of the prompts and into the silence. As I spoke, guiding my students to visualize the day ahead, inhaling their positivity to make the day productive and fun, and exhaling their negativity and the distractions that cause them to make bad choices, I rubbed Student A's back, encouraging him to relax, I continued, guiding them to inhale their calm to make good choices and exhaling the fear, worries and doubts that may block them, still standing behind Student A, intermittently rubbing his back.

As we progressed into a minute or so of silence, Student A was quiet, as was everyone else, even Student 1, who was fidgeting with his sweater, watching me with Student A, but not calling attention. The last minute was still and peaceful, though standing there made it feel longer than the usual tracks,which was a strange thought to note as I took a few breaths.

In the end, it was only 5 minutes and 27 and it was time to close the meditation and get ready to go. It was very quiet as we gave them the final instructions and obligatory reminders, and then we were on our way.

The day itself was pretty perfect. The weather cooperated, which helped the students enjoy the scavenger hunt and appreciate bits of history in the monuments, some of which we will study together, and other they may chose to follow up on in inquiry projects.

The weather was also perfect for walking. Not cold, but not warm enough to bring out too many people, even nearing the lunch hour. Our students continued to breakdown stereotypes as they did a great job sticking to the right on the sidewalk, leaving room for others even though we were a group of over 45 and made several stops on the way. Even Student A managed to walk with a stick without hitting people with it.

By the time we arrived for The Forks at lunch, everyone was starving and already tired. They were also on time for each and every meeting point, even after lunch, and earned their time on the playground, where they used the last of their energy. Everyone, including me, was pretty wiped as we came back to school, so we took a few minutes to relax before we moved into the reflections.

As I handed them out one remarked that I looked like a test. I responded that these are the best tests I give them, because I understand what they really learned, and they almost always surprise me. I am sure this set of reflections will be no different.

Our days in the world always bring our most interesting learning and today was no different, I wish I could do these field trips even more often, and I am very grateful for these days we do get to enjoy.

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