Being “Tuned In”
In our classroom counseling lessons last week, First and Second Graders demonstrated how carefully “tuned in” they can be to what’s going on in the classroom. In First Graders’ Second Step lessons, they’ve learned about how to pay attention using these four instructions: “Eyes watching, Ears listening, Voice quiet, and Body still.” Those instructions are crucial, but the most crucial is having one’s brain focused! Students understood that they could appear to be paying attention, but if their brain isn’t thinking about the speaker’s words, they’re not really listening!
Using the four Second Step tactics plus “Brain focused,” the students played a game in which they took turns carrying out actions throughout the room. The game is like dominoes; each student’s action (printed on an index card they’re holding) leads to another student’s action. The children have to be “tuned in” carefully to everything around them while “tuning out” distractions. The first few index cards read as follows:
“When someone says, ‘Begin,’ say ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good afternoon.'”
“When someone says, ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good afternoon,’ clap your hands three times.”
“When someone claps three times, say, ‘Today is a great day.'”
“When someone says, ‘Today is a great day,’ stand up and turn around three times.”
“When someone stands up and turns around three times, go to the board and write your name.”
And so on for 30 cards. The kids’ favorites are mooing like a cow, barking like a dog, turning on and off the lights, shaking the school counselor’s hand, and writing things on the board. In most classrooms, we had time to go through the cards three times, and the students saw that the more they practiced and the more they were “tuned in,” the faster they completed the cards. They loved beating their time from the previous round!