3rd grade class
Project: To help her students prepare for the state's standardized high-stakes test, she wanted to incorporate yoga and breathing techniques.
Results: “At one point, one of the students was very upset by his own inability to answer a question. I had him get up and use the breathing and the calming pose; it was effective and helped him to try the question before he moved on. He stayed calm for the remainder of the testing period.
I can’t believe what a difference this activity can make for these students. They still do the breathing when they are starting in the morning and during a recent reading assessment, one of the students asked if he could do the calming pose when he was having a hard time with a written extended response. As I learn more about yoga, I hope to find a way to incorporate it into our day on a regular basis.”
8th grade Language Arts teacher
Project: To deepen her students' understanding of the poems in her poetry analysis unit, she wanted to incorporate movement as an interpretive tool.
Results: “The student’s interpretation brought out the passion of the words, and actually, it took my breath away.” At a parent symposium that was happening, he agreed to perform his interpretation in front of parents ... While one of my students read ‘As I Grew Older’ by Langston Hughes, he gave his bodily interpretation. The parents went wild.”
1st grade teacher
Project: To integrate movement and learning, by using appropriate movement activities throughout the school day.
Results: “I have had fun incorporating more movement in my daily lessons. The students love the playful movements and always want to do more. I find that they are talking more about their new learning. I have heard this from the parents, too. … It’s so much fun to hear a 1st grader run out of school to meet mom saying, “Mom, guess what we did today!”
5th grade teacher
Project: To help her reach all students, by incorporating movement into most class activities.
Results: “My students have been very receptive to my newly implemented movement plans and strategies. They are very intrigued by the fact that I am taking a class about movement and always ask me if I’ve learned anything new that I can share with them. They love trying out new ways of moving and being in charge of creating some of their own. My whole class has seemed a lot more energized, attentive, and happy since I have consciously started to incorporate all of these movement techniques. I plan to continue with these strategies and find new ways to get my students moving on a daily basis.”
Project: To support her preparation of students for academic studies, by bringing yoga and visualization into her Open Court Reading activities.
Results: “I am very encouraged by the integration of yoga to our kindergarten lessons. I see one student, N., responding to the poses and the deep breathing by quieting down, focusing more on himself and invading others’ personal space much less. I note that G. is more focused and is engaged because of the apparent challenge in the poses. I sense that he will respond the same when we learn the Warrior because I will encourage the children to link their thinking to the pose, i.e., being strong and focused like a warrior.
I also note that the typical kindergartner is more engaged in the Open Court lesson because they have started the lesson in a calm yet alert manner. Using the poses to form and visualize a letter shape and to act out the scenario of a lost lamb is very appealing to young children. I note that they are sharing energy in a positive and focused manner, which is a benchmark of the kindergarten year!
Lastly, I feel more positive about myself as a teacher because I have a new tool to assist students who may display DSI, Disorders of Sensory Integration, or students acting out because they struggle with anxiety or anger. I very much enjoy the minutes spent exercising, stretching and centering myself before I start a lesson. Yoga is my new pursuit not only as a benefit to my students but as a benefit to me!”
Teacher of a 4th-5th grade class
Project: To help students begin to identify their feelings through the practice of yoga.
Results: “The students came up with some fantastic words to describe what energetic, calm, and focused looks like. They also did a really great job observing the yoga pose first and then trying the pose on their own.
Only two boys out of 42 students couldn’t focus and take the exercise seriously. I asked them to sit out until they felt they could participate appropriately. They joined the group after about two minutes.
The students had a difficult time reflecting on their own feelings and were not able to say if they felt a certain way … They were able to say if they liked the pose, if it was uncomfortable, fun and/or easy.”
8th grade Language Arts teacher
Project: To help students deal with performance anxiety in making oral presentations.
Results: “There was marked improvement in each of their presentations and all of the students were definitely more relaxed and seemed more confident.”
1st grade teacher
Project: To channel the energy of a very active group of boys by teaching time concepts through movement.
Results: The students “were incredibly engaged and focused on moving their bodies as minute hands. The focused and determined gazes on many faces really showed this. When students got opportunities to display in front of the class, nearly every student had their hand raised to participate.”
3rd grade teacher
Project: To channel students' energy effectively by bringing more movement into her general education classroom.
Results: “I have developed a new respect and admiration for the purposes, needs, and results of movement. I have planned specific times within my classroom that are completely devoted and set aside for movement. I have been struck by the outcomes and reactions that I have seen within my students: both in their increased attention toward their academic lesson (which is wonderful), but also in their excitement toward the movements themselves. They now ask me, ‘When can we try that new Yoga move again?’ or ‘Can I show you something new that we haven’t tried with everybody yet?’”
“I have learned three powerful lessons. First: Movement is a MUST. It helps me and it helps my students. Second: Certain students will choose certain or different movements depending on what makes them comfortable. They are capable of making appropriate decisions about what their bodies need. Third: Without a doubt, everybody has enjoyed and been very positively receptive to all of the new types of movement that I have included into our day and encouraged them to try. There has been no hesitancy from anybody.”
5th grade teacher
Project: To smooth transition times through the use of calming, energizing, and focusing yoga poses.
Results: “After doing this lesson for the first time, which was during ISAT week, I noticed that the students did much better with their transition time. They were not as wound up and they were focused on the task at hand. Even now my students ask if we can practice the different poses. … Not only are my students more energized, focused, and calm before lessons, but also the mood has really been uplifted.”