Our weekly song corresponds with our integrated science, pirate club and mindfulness study of the brain.
Brain Eater our current Unthinkable ( here ) and so many other places on this site hopes to defeat us when we 'flip our lid'- getting distracted, overwhelmed by our feelings, thoughts, and anything else in our environment.
Don't Flip Your Lid is a child friendly way to understand how the brain works, the impact of emotions on our brains and was originally coined by Dr. Siegel. Here is a short helpful video for parents.
Following along with the printed lyrics, we sang, read and watched these children's video about our weekly song. We learned how & why our brains can 'flip their lid' .
We also noticed that these children were using their breathing as an anchor for their attention to help their brains get to a calmer state. When we don't flip our lids we can learn, attend better, respond vs react and think more clearly!
We also watched a video about how these children who were able to meet with the song writer which included simple commentary from Dr. Siegel.
Mean words and actions cannot be taken back. Being mindful of how we speak and act is one strategy that can defeat Mean Jean. See more here. To illustrate this idea, I brought in a tube of toothpaste and tooth picks and asked the kids to squeeze out all of the toothpaste on a plate.
But before the toothpaste, we looked at a Power Point that contained pictures of bullying situations. By looking at the faces and body language of the children, we figured out who was acting like Mean Jean. We talked about feelings, what might the bully be saying and why people were bullies. The children listed many reasons a person was mean- being mad or being bullied themselves, thinking they are better than others, stressed, scared, lack of self control etc. I pointed out that I had recently seen and heard rude, mean name calling in class and that I was having red thoughts and felt we needed more practice using our T.H.I.N.K. strategy.
So, I had the children form a circle and asked them to squeeze out a bit of toothpaste. They looked at me quizzically and one child asked , " What does toothpaste have to do with bullies and Mean Jean?" I smiled and said I will let them know after we squeeze out the toothpaste. They have clearly gotten used to my sometimes odd requests and squeezed away.
I asked them if they could put all of the toothpaste back in the tube with a toothpick. Being up for the challenge, they were giving it a try and felt given time they could. I told them our actions and words are like the toothpaste which cannot be put back into the tube easily if at all. I explained that while our thoughts were private our actions and words were not. I reminded them of our velcro /teflon brain lesson where we learned that we needed more positives to get back to feeling good about a person who hurt us. I told them a story of being teased as a young girl and how I still remember. One boy asked if we can ever forget the bad stuff. I said not easily. It is best to think it not say it. The children were reflective and quiet as they moved to their small groups.
Welcome to my Classroom!
I am passionate, a little bit quirky ( some may say a little bit more) and dedicated to serving children with Autism. These young people have touched me deeply and have made me a better teacher & hopefully person. I want to share what I have learned that allows these beautiful children to grow & sometimes thrive in my class.
I begin my 26th year of teaching this year! I teach in the Bay Area and live in the beautiful redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. My sanctuary, place of reflection and daily sitting practice.
My hope is that this website/blog will help others understand and see children with Autism as talented unique thinkers who can and will contribute to our world and anyone who knows them in positive ways.