Students Starting the Day with Quiet 5
Almost every morning this year we have started our day with what we call Quiet 5 and what many folks call mindfulness. It is 5 minutes of quiet bodies and quiet minds. I call it heavenly silence.It’s not heavenly because it is silent, although in an active classroom that is sometimes enjoyed. It is heavenly silence because it is so enjoyed by all, especially the kids. The silence is in the mind as much as it is in the body. But really it isn’t always silent. Very often my kids request that I “take them away”. They love to go for… “walks in the woods after a rain”, or for a “walk along a beach on a warm spring day”, or even just “sit near a window and watch and listen to a red cardinal sitting in a pine tree during a gentle snow fall”. They of course don’t do these things at the beginning of school days; I guide them through visualizations once their bodies are quiet. But the most requested is to share the love or what I call have a lovefest. That is to just tell them how much I love them and how special and unique each and every one of them is and why. I usually have to fight back tears as I do this because I see their need for these words is so great. We don’t do this everyday of course because it would get real old real fast. On most days, after we do a little breathing and neck and shoulder rolls, they just sit still and listen to the soothing flute music of a Navajo flue artist.
The use of the word “almost” to begin this post was very intentional. I say “almost” because since April break we have not done Quiet 5. Not once. We’ve had assessments. We have finished unfinished units that should have been done already. We have finished units that needed to be done before assessments and finished units that are assessments. Do you detect a pattern? We, like almost every school in America, test too much. That is my opinion of course. It is also the opinion of my kids. I know there are teachers who disagree with me. That is OK. We are allowed to disagree. Since April break I have also noticed that our classroom community has fallen apart. They bicker. They are saying nasty things to each other. They aren’t picking up after themselves. They aren’t reading! I attributed this to assessments as well as the end of the year and spring and nervousness about Jr. High next year. But could it be…could it just be… that we haven’t done Quiet 5 this entire time? That thought hit me as I was walking home from school. Maybe these other factors play a part but maybe the lack of quiet mindfulness is playing a part too. There is one thing that I am sure of and that is that we will not skip Quiet 5 anymore. Just like reading aloud and silent reading are non-negotiable parts of our day, so will Quiet 5 become non-negotiable. I’ll let you know if I see a difference.
1 week later….. We have now done Quiet 5 every morning and the difference is noticeable. My kids are back! Friday as we were beginning to settle in for Quiet 5 one of my kids said, “Mrs. Dunn, I notice a difference since we’ve started Quiet 5 again. We’re nicer to each other. Do you notice it too?” Oh yes, I notice it too. The power of Quiet 5. Why doesn’t every classroom do this? I wonder.