This is another in the hodge-podge series of blogs that share a variety of resources for today’s educator. Today, we’ll be looking at some new items that can help us and our students feel better as we practice wellbeing. Let’s dig in.
Arts + Health & Wellbeing
Google Arts & Culture has a fabulous new website with activities developed by the World Health Organization to help us reconnect with ourselves, each other, and our environment. There are guided videos to relieve stress and boost your mood, as well as movement breaks, breathing exercises, and music and art activities. While designed for adults, this site would also work for students.
To have a sense of wellbeing, we must connect our brains and our bodies through movement. These free cognitive-physical activity videos cover a variety of uses and are all centered around moving and its positive impact on the brain. The videos tend to be short (most of them under three minutes long) and include topics like social emotional learning, musical thinking, and math. All of them are based on the latest brain research and still manage to be fun. My favorite? The Mixed Tempo Beat Synchronization Classroom Activity (look at the expressions on the kids’ faces as they s-l-i-d-e!)
Put a Smile on Your Face by Cooking
Making and then eating something delicious can definitely add to your sense of wellbeing. The Open Source Cookbook is meant to be an open source toolkit that everyone and anyone can access during a time of heightened need. There are recipes from “chefs, line cooks, home cooks, mothers, fathers, nonnas, popo’s, and everyday joes.” Each recipe includes information about the provider, detailed instructions, and fabulous photos. Check out this yummy recipe for classy chopped beef burger and cheddar soup.
Create a Stop Motion Video
Cloud Stop Motion is an online stop motion animation tool with free accounts for schools. It offers powerful features including sound effects, music, title, credits, and more and works on any device. While no registration is required, the free school account offers more possibilities. With it, teachers/administrators can:
- Create unlimited student groups and accounts.
- View, edit and delete student accounts, projects, and movies.
- Empty student recycle bins.
- Render, watch, and export student animations as MP4 movie files.
- Manage organization storage.
Calm Down with Sand
This Is Sand offers a chance for you to take a break and relax by piling different colors of sand into beautiful and artistic layers. There is an Android and iOS app or you can just use the browser-based version; all are free. Admittedly, my creations are not quite as beautiful as I had hoped. But there are some amazing examples of sand work to get you inspired.
Challenge Your Mind
If you’ve relaxed enough and are now ready to challenge your mind, try out PuzzGrid. This timed puzzle activity starts off by showing you a grid of 16 words that must be separated into four categories of four words each. Each category should be on a similar theme or topic. Afterwards, you have to name each category (for example “rivers” or “Greek letters”). Be warned: there are words provided sometimes that don’t match anything. And many of the connections between words are not the obvious ones. Each puzzgrid is ranked as very easy, easy, medium, hard, or fiendish. Here’s an easy one to get you started. This activity would be great for young minds!
Relax with Nature
A virtual field trip can be a great way to relax and unwind. (Check out some of them in this TCEA blog). But sometimes you just need to stop and smell the flowers. Here’s a 10-hour relaxation video of nature scenes that includes soothing music. Show it in snippets when you (or your students) need to take a break and breathe. (Full disclosure: There are text adds that appear on the video, but, to me, the scenes are worth it.)
One of the best ways to have a sense of wellbeing is to practice gratitude. There is a lot of research that shows that this can lesson emotional exhaustion and feelings of depression. This article has some easy ways for students to practice gratitude, and they would work well with adults too. And this one shares 22 videos that can help students better understand and show gratitude in their daily lives.
What are other resources you use to create a stronger sense of wellbeing in your life or the lives of those around you? Please share them in the comments below!