Many people today try to make the most of each hour of daylight, especially in the midst of wintertime when the days are shorter and the sky is grey for three months out of the year. However, especially in western Michigan, we long for the days of warmth, sunshine, days at the beach, barbeques and fireworks surrounded by family and friends, as well as ending the day (or a long work week) sitting by the lake watching the sun set as we prepare for a new day. Education and teaching are a lot like the sun setting at the end of a day.
In my classroom, as any new day will begin with the students smiling and (hopefully) happy to be present and are ready to learn. To start the day, I will begin with a song (like “Here Comes the Sun’’) to get my class moving and excited to learn. There will be also be an inspirational quote of the day/week to keep my students inspired and to let them know that life can be rough at times and all one wants to do is give up, but in general life is good and a smooth path leading towards happiness.
Towards the middle of the day, students begin to get tired and have the “afternoon lull,” so I am hoping to keep their minds going by doing brain games and stretching after lunch because it will keep the brain moving and motivated. This is like when the sun is out at the middle of the day and all it wants to do is slowly decline until it is time to set and end the day. Typically when learning, a student will be the most productive and able to retain the most information in the morning when they are fresh and free from all else. This also happens after a physical education class is taken because it is a “break” from traditional learning and it is moving activities that help move and energize the brain. It is a good idea to take a physical education course in the early afternoon.
Lastly, the end of a school day; the time where 99% of the brains of students are fried and the last thing they want to do is write another set of notes or do anything remotely academic. In my classroom, especially since I want to teach elementary, we will do “highs and lows” as well as other engaging games that keep the mind going but aren’t necessarily the most academically controlled. It will be a way for students to calm their brains and transition into the next part of their day. This is where the “sun sets” and after the sun is down, or the bell rings in a school, the school day is over.
School is a place to learn, experiment, be free and learn new things. I want to have a positive, inspiring, calming environment for my students to learn in. I am so excited to become a teacher!