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Grade 2 Wellness Wednesday!

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Our Grade 2 students have been studying a very interactive unit on health, which includes a special class rotation titled, “Wellness Wednesday." Planned to be conducted over the next three months, this involves going to different classrooms for 15-minute sessions focusing on various health-related activities every Wednesday. At the inauguration of the rotation, there was a special lesson in which the children cut up fruits and learned how to make delicious and, most importantly, healthy smoothies, touching on every aspect relevant to a healthy life. The lessons that have been continuously taught are: Mindfulness, Yoga, Stamina/Exercising, and Brain Games. Please read on for some descriptions of each class taken.

Mindfulness

“Pretend you’re a fish with gills and no lungs that just turned into a person. Feel the strange sensation of air filling your lungs. Appreciate the first time you feel air touching your nostrils as your lungs fill and expand.” Grade 2 Homeroom Teacher Sibila Boyko has taught the young learners various methods on how to meditate, along with breathing techniques and other ways to relax their minds and bodies. She has incorporated the idea of lying still on the floor, as well as sitting cross-legged and holding one’s knees to help practice mindfulness. Taking deep breaths (in and out) and closing one’s eyes is essential to reaching a peaceful mind as well. An interesting method Ms. Boyko has also used to help the students mediate is describing different scenarios like the one mentioned above. After each scenario mentioned, she always states, “Now come back to your bodies, wiggle a little, and follow the sound (of the metal pot being hit by the stick) and stretch.” Certainly, being mindful is not easy to accomplish because minds tend to wander around. So whenever possible, she has stated it is important to quiet one’s mind and relax.

Yoga

“Ok class. Extend your arms to make sure the person next to you is not too close. And now let’s stretch a little before starting!” In this class, Grade 2 Homeroom Elizabeth Tucker is teaching the students not only how to do various yoga poses, but also the value of maintaining a healthy body. Her lessons also emphasize the importance of inhaling and exhaling and breathing deeply, since she often repeats the statement, “Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth.” Some of the positions the children have studied so far include: Swan Dive to the floor; downward dog position; cat-cow pose; and mountain pose. The children are learning how to make their bodies as flexible as possible, while being in a state of relation.

Stamina/Exercise

“Don’t give up! Work for five more minutes! You can do this!” As soon as one enters this classroom, they are able to feel the enormous energy within. Recently, the students have been watching a video showing a mixture of different exercises that they must follow. Grade 2 ELL Teacher Kelli Cochran has made it her mission to keep the students on their feet for the entire duration of the 15 minutes. While performing moves such as the “hot feet,” “get pumped,” “heel-taps,” “frog squats,” “skater’s pose,” “tight-arm circles,” “travoltas,” and more, the children are building up their stamina and endurance. Most importantly, they are learning to keep their commitment to their goals and truly be able to finish what they start. After each session ends, it is normal to see the students breathing heavily, but excited to have completed their task.

Brain Games

“Train your brain, which is also a muscle, and the stronger it will become!” Grade 2 Homeroom Teacher David Whitmarsh can be found stating this at the start of his lessons. Aside from the physical activities presented, there are brain games provided to improve the minds of the young students. In this class, the children work on games such as “How Many Squares,” where they have to find as many squares as they possibly can in the worksheet given; “Finish the Maze,” which is another activity they have to utilize their minds to find their way to the end; and “Sudoku,” the popular logic-based, combinatorial number-placement puzzle game in which the objective is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, row, as well as each of the nine 3×3 sub-grids that compose the boxes contains all of the digits from 1 to 9. As one can imagine, training the brain for a healthy mind is essential.

Lastly, in relation to the health unit, Grade 2 students have been learning about body systems in their PE class. PE Teacher David Cooney has mentioned this about his lessons: “We are allowing the students to explore the intricacies of the human body, especially the heart. We are investigating the concept of causation, meaning what happens to our heart rate when we exercise and when we rest, as well as the concept of connection, for which we will explore the link between positive health and heart rate at rest. The heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised to get stronger.”

Through all these interactive lessons and activities, Grade 2 students are learning how to become stronger and healthier, which we hope they will continue throughout.

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The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation, motivated by its mission, focused on the student. The three programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Founded in 1968, IBO currently works with 2,771 schools in 138 countries to develop and offer three challenging programmes to over 763,000 students aged 3 to 19 years.Visit www.ibo.org for more information.

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