Monday, March 28, 2016

Mindfulness Monday (Anger)

Minfulness can increase a students self-awareness and increase their ability to cope with strong feelings. Mindful breathing is one way to manage strong feelings of anger.  Anh's Anger is a wonderful tool to use with children when teaching about mindfulness and strong feelings.  I recently used Anh's Anger with my second graders as we are talking about managing strong feelings.  In the story, a boy  named Anh is told to stop playing with his blocks because it is time to eat dinner.  Anh gets upset and begins to cry.  Anh's grandfather tries to comfort him but Anh gets even more upset, pushing his gradfather and knocking over the blocs.  Anh is told to go to his room to "sit with his anger".  As Anh sits in his room, his anger deescalates from a wild monster down into a small presence, until if finally dissipates altogether.  Ahn's anger reminds us that anger is part of all of us and that sitting and breathing can help us to transform it.
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After reading Anh's Anger I had students paint a picture of their anger (what it looks like and what it feels like).  In the book, Anh's anger looked like a red monster.

We then practiced mindful breathing and talked about how mindful breathing could be helpful to students at home and at school.

In the second book, Steps and Stones, Anh's anger resurfaces.  This time Anh is outside at recess.  Anh is having having a conflict with another classmate and Anh's ager shows up to suggest some unhelpful ways to solve the conflict.  Anh suggests that they slow down and they end up walking and breathing, counting their steps.  Along the way, Anh calms down and his anger begins to look less threatening.  This book teaches students that we can listen to our anger, but we don't have to react to it.  Taking a walk and breathing can be ways that we cool off.  Read 4 Health has a great lesson plan for Steps and Stones.
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