B... is for BREATHE

Hiya Friends! 

I'm Erin from Super in Second and Beyond! Join me on the 5th of each month here on the Virginia is for Bloggers page to see what randomness flows out of my fingers and on to the computer - we'll both be surprised!
This year, I'm switching from the classroom to the coaches role and I'll be writing on my blog all about the technology questions I deal with as well as straddling that divide between those in the classroom all day and those who are not. I hope you come along for the journey!

This month we're talking about the letter B. 

B is for....BREATHE

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Heading back to school isn't just stressful on teachers and admin...kids have it rough, too! Most kids have sat in front of a screen for 2 1/2 months and are now being asked to not only stay awake for six whole hours but also contribute to discussions with strange new kids and a new teacher...YIKES!

So, it's simple - just have a relaxing first week back at school with EVERY. Single. Person highly stressed out. You're a great teacher, you've got it!

That's it. We're done. Have a great month!

Just Kidding. Although, you probably are a great teacher...I mean you're actively working on your craft by reading blogs...so it shows you care about doing your best.

I heard a pastor say once that many people get frustrated with religion because we're told all the things we SHOULD be doing...but not HOW to do them. Of course we should foster a relaxing atmosphere and encourage students to feel at home...but HOW?!

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Here's the HOW: Believe Breathe.

I know it sounds like a cat poster, but it's true. (If you didn't get that Lego Movie reference you obviously haven't been subjected to the movie enough times....lucky duck!)

One thing I do on the second day of school is teach my students some relaxation breathing. 

On the first day of school students are so psyched to find friends in their classroom and amped about being back at school that they won't remember how to relax...but on the second day....reality has set in and usually stress levels are rising.

By the second day of school, I've usually identified someone who will take quite a bit of my time (usually for behavior reasons). They're the kid I single out and call to my desk for a quick one on one while other students are engaged. I teach that kiddo how to do the breathing first and later after introducing it to the class ask him (or her) to come up and demonstrate for everyone the *right* way to do it. (<--that's what we call a sneak attack, I'm showing the class I trust this student to make good choices and prove they can "Do Their Breathing" I'm also showing the student positive reinforcement and the love I have for them.)

It's truly very simple. If you're a visual learner- watch the video below to see my boys demonstrate (you can see my dog and my dad in the corners of the shot..I'm a consummate professional) Otherwise, read on!

The first step is to place your hands in front of you (about chest level) with your palms touching.

Your eyes should either focused on your hands or closed.

Slowly breathe in through your nose (it's okay to make a noise). As you breathe, expand your hands so only your fingertips are touching.

Hold your breath for a moment and slowly exhale through your mouth bringing your palms back together.

Repeat at least 5 times.

Students (and teachers!) are encouraged to do this anytime they're feeling frustrated, anxious, upset...you get the idea.

If students feel self-conscious, I always tell them they can put their hands under their desk so no one can tell they're "Doing Their Breathing". On the flip side, I make a big deal out of anyone using the technique on their own and ask them to share if they feel better when they're done. Since we all get stressed, learning tricks to manage is nothing to be embarrassed about.

If you're already back to school and missed your opportunity on the second day - don't worry! As long as it's not the FIRST day of school, you can't go wrong. If you're reading this during your planning (really?!!?) teach them when they get back from PE, or lunch. It's never too late to learn to manage stress!

We start school on Tuesday, and I've employed this breathing technique more than once during the work week.

If you use it, let me know how your class (or peers) respond. I wish you a stress free and fabulous back to school season.

B...is for BREATHE! :)

Till next time,


  1. Thanks Erin! I needed this after my first week of school:)

  2. This is such a great reminder of how we need to manage our stress. Stress is a wicked thing, and we all feel it. Thanks for the tips, Erin!