Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Calm Down

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         In What’s in your calming bin? from itsjustmeghan, Meghan shares about her son’s calming bin at school and at home. When he is overwhelmed he is able to go to his calming bin and unwind. Then she asks,

“What about you? What would you like in your calming bin?”

First of all I want to commend the teachers and the parents for allowing this young student to have a calming bin! It takes people who are compassionate and understanding to others to allow this kind of freedom and flexibility to those who may need it.

I guess I can relate because it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized I had control over my “fidgets.” As a good student, no one ever noticed how hard it was for me to focus. I think by pure will and fear of disappointing my parents, I worked hard at being the model student. Looking back now, I realize how hard it actually was. It wasn’t because I lacked the intelligence but because I was not an auditory learner and that that is how most of my teachers taught back then.

I notice that when I had to listen and sit still, my heart beat faster and my mind wandered. I even started to feel anxious. I used to doodle and of course, many teachers considered that rude. I started to write copious notes as the teacher would talk. Of course I couldn’t focus on what I was hearing and once I was home, I would reread the notes that I took and it would all make sense. But this didn’t help me in class when the teacher would ask me questions to see if I was paying attention. Of course I was paying attention because I was writing down everything the teacher said but I didn’t comprehend anything I was hearing.

As a teacher, when I attended meetings, I was able to jot notes down on paper. Then I started to bring my laptop and again noting everything down that was said and later read it so it made sense. It didn’t help me to record anything because again, that was all auditory.

So, I thought maybe I just had an aversion to learning that was all auditory. I made sure with my students that I addressed different learning styles and I think they appreciated it. The problem is that most students don’t know what their learning style is. I didn’t know what mine really was. I needed to have students try different styles over time so they could explore and find out what their styles was.

After I left the classroom, I started crocheting and then knitting. I started to listen to audio podcasts and video podcasts. I realized suddenly that as long as I was moving, I was able to focus! Why didn’t anyone notice this about me before? Instead of copying notes now at meetings, I bring my knitting. I’m able to focus on the speaker and comprehend what is being said. The pastor of my church doesn’t mind if I knit during the sermon and said she even noticed I pay attention more!

I wish I could go back in time to all of my wonderful high school and college classes and relearn the stuff I missed! I would bring my knitting and have a ball.

So the answer to Meghan’s question:

I would have paper and pens for writing or doodling. I would have some yarn and knitting needles or crochet hooks. I would have those squishy balls to squeeze. I would have things that would let me move my hands and allow my mind to relax.

So, what would be in your calming bin? Please share.

Image: 'sweet escape'
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