As I've mentioned in previous posts, Julia Cook is one of my favorite authors. I recently used her book It's Hard To Be A VERB! to reinforce the idea of mindfulness. It's Hard To Be A Verb! is about a boy names Louis. Louis is constantly "doing something" and so people say that he is a verb. Louis wants to be still but he just can't stop itching, twitching, jumping, etc... He states that it is hard for him to sit still, it is hard for him to stay at his desk and it is hard to be a verb! The adults in his life are constantly telling him to "sit still" and "focus". You can purchase It's Hard To Be A VERB! HERE.
How does this relate to Minfulness? Minfulness can improve attention, mood and socially appropriate behavior. To download the mindfulness activities that I used along with It's Hard To Be A VERB! go to http://www.therapistaid.com and print the Mindfulness Exercises for Children.
Session 1: Read It's Hard to Be A VERB!
Discussion: Why do people call Louis a VERB?
What do the adults want Louis to do?
How do they feel when Louis is doing "the wrong something"? (GRUMPY)
How does Louis feel?
What was the consequence when Louis wiggled during his hair cute?
What was the consequence for getting out of his chair during work time?
What was the consequence for playing instead of getting ready for school?
Session 2: Brain Breaks (Wiggle your Wiggles)
Review the Wiggle your Wiggles section in It's Hard To Be A VERB!
Practice the "Wiggle Dance" that Louis learns from his mom.
Discussion: When is it appropriate to do a "wiggle dance"?
How can this help you focus and sit still?
We did a few more Brain Breaks from GoNoodle. You can see them HERE.
***I love Brain breaks and encourage teachers to use them...and many do! However, it isn't always practical for students to get out of their seat to do the "Wiggle Dance" so I teach some seat-based strategies that students can do while at their desk. You can find those HERE.
Session 3: Mindfulness Excercises
Focus: My Body
The Feeling Exercise
The Body Squeezing Exercises
Focus: My Breath
Session 4: Mindfulness Exercises
The Seeing Game
The Power of Listening
Session 5: Focus Squishy's
Review the "Focus Squishy" section of It's Hard To Be a VERB!
Have students make their own focus squishy's. (They used rubber fishing worms in the book)
Some of the fidgets that I make with students include:
Discussion: When can you use these? When would it be difficult to use these? How can these help you focus?
If you have a student who will be distracted by the squishy you can teach them to use their hand as a fidget. They just have to put their hands together and twirl their thumbs around one another:
Session 6: Nag Board
Review the "Nag Board" Section of It's Hard To Be A VERB!
What did Louis need to do in order to be ready for school on time?
What was the consequence?
How did everybody feel?
What are some things that you are supposed to do to get ready for school?
Do you ever get distracted?
Does anyobody have to remind you to do these things?
How would you feel if you were able to get ready for school by yourself without anybody "nagging" you?
How would your mom, dad, guardian feel?
Have students create their own "Nag Board"
Here are some ideas:
Session 7: Review
Students play Focus Bingo (page 21 of the Activity Guide)-Note-I play this as a regular game of bingo. The directions in the book are better suited for a classroom teacher.
Students have time to color page 19 of the Activity Guide)
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