In my 5th grade classroom, we use a lot of techniques to help calm us, cool us, and wind us down (“us” includes yours truly!) Between girl drama, boys trying to be cool, “dating” (GAG ME, I can’t believe it happens so young these days!) and just general 10/11 year-old-attitudes, trying to control our emotions and tempers is a big priority in 5th grade. One of my favorite techniques that I began using with my kiddos my first year is yoga! Yes, yoga in the classroom!
I love using it with my kids so much so that I even started a yoga club this year, and the kids really love it. My yoga club, made up of 12 boys and girls in grades 3-5, meets once a week for an hour, and during that time, not only do we stretch, learn new poses and flows, and do yoga practice, but we also learn breathing techniques and discuss situations throughout our week where we’ve been able to use some of our breathing and calming techniques to avoid losing our tempers or getting upset. It’s really neat to hear about these avoided issues, and even see them (a few of my yoga clubbers are in my class, so I’ve seen them throw me a glance when they know they are getting anxious and then follow through with their deep breaths).
- Makes kids more reflective: Like I mentioned earlier, we are able to talk about times they have used their breathing techniques to calm down and avoid situations, and I really love seeing kids realize what triggers them so they can avoid it in the future.
- Serves as a brain break: There’s only so much Go Noodle that a teacher can handle, and honestly, in the upper grades, most of them just sit around “too cool” for those fun videos, so yoga is a perfect brain break or transition!
- Adds a little fun: In 5th grade, we are gearing up big time for the GMAS test, and with standardized testing being such a big portion of education these days, it’s hard to be able to incorporate a lot of “fun” stuff into the day… spending 5 minutes playing Simon Says is fun, sure, but spending 5 minutes learning new yoga poses is just as much fun, and is actually good for them!
- Helps them focus: Yoga is all about focus and calming, and teaching kids those skills can help them focus more throughout the day, and tune out other thoughts and disturbances.
- Increases confidence: I have seen major growth in this area for a couple of my yoga clubbers. Since we’ve been meeting since the beginning of the school year, some of the kids have gotten really good, and I love seeing them take the lead and ask to lead the stretch or get excited when they can do a new pose.
Now, for anyone thinking “but I don’t know yoga, what should I do?” Don’t worry! There are tons of resources out there that will help you figure out the poses and even some printables that you can give to your students. Here are a few videos and infographics I used to show them the poses, and I let them take home copies to practice:
Tell me, what do you think of incorporating yoga into the classroom?