the spaghetti test
The boys and girls seem quite familiar with the practices. They are aware of what we are «building the attention muscle» for. The day begins with a new greeting experience: shake hands, high five, fist bump, or big hug. They point at the pictures on the wall which greeting they feel like having today.
Then the usual breathe in – breathe out practice. They stay calm for a little longer each day. Just a little… And I tell them then that today we will share how we feel by painting an emotional garden.
An emotional garden
Using colour paints and brushes they begin their drawings to the sound of «sunflower» by Post Malone. They get more and more involved and creative and seem to enjoy this dynamic a lot!
We share in writing how they felt during the practice: some felt calm and free because they could draw whatever they liked, some felt scared and happy, some wrote amazing lines like «every paint was destroyed like a crushed rock rocking around the ocean».
Following the garden activity «the spaghetti test» comes, from the book Relajaciones by Mamen Duch & Guridi. The position to do this practice is Savasana: lying on the floor, straight arms and legs, palm of your hands facing up. This is the most relaxing position, actually, it brings body and mind together to a calm and quiet place [before the end of the spaghetti practice check the arms and legs of the kids can move with no resistance].
- Visualise spaghetti just like you get them from the supermarket: hard. Imagine you are the spaghetti, your whole body is hard as a rock.
- Then imagine you are going to have a bubble bath of nice and warm water. And as your feet get in your body starts to feel wobbly. Soft and tender, your whole body begins to change from rigid to tender. Your feet, your knees, your legs, your back, your waist, your chest, your hands, your arms, your neck, your head. More and more tender, like spaghetti getting cooked for dinner.
- Now feel how your body has relaxed.
After a break four pupils will be greeting all classmates: one will shake hands, one will give hugs, one fist bumps, and one high fives. The students line up and come to the front to choose how the would like to be greeted. They seem to enjoy this new practice!
We discuss emotions and how to handle them after watching this clip from Inside Out. The students are invited to give examples of when they feel like Riley. And when they feel like her, how do they react? What do they normally do?
Would they like to learn new skills to come out of this anger and frustration when their whole body tightens up and feels «like metal» using this very wise pupil’s own words…
Based on the same principle as The spaghetti test (above) this new practice «Melting – Melting – Melting» also shows how to defrost our body.
To begin with we play the first part of the clip with no sound so they know what to do when following instructions. The amazing thing happens when all the students standing in pairs facing each other, all of a sudden remain in complete silence, following the teacher’s instructions, they can feel their bodies all tightened up. Then they learn how to go from frozen to soft. And they simply melt… Everyone literally ends up like a blob on the floor!
To do the second part – «the ice statue» we play the video and the students just follow. Before I leave the classroom everybody has melted. Hopefully ready to begin their lessons in a little bit more calm and centred place.
La vida, sin prisa