What happens to your classroom during the week after Daylight Savings? If you envision a room full of cranky, tired kids (and teacher), you're not alone.
It's a fact: most educators dread the calendar shift to Daylight Savings each spring. After all, moving the clock ahead means one less hour of sleep, and that fact alone can spell trouble for teachers and students alike.
Here's the lowdown: America and many other countries shift to Daylight Savings Time every spring (except for those lucky people in Arizona).
'Spring forward,' remember?
Ideally, all of us should get to bed 10-15 minutes earlier each night prior to the time switch. But if this advice comes too late, just follow a few timely tips after the clock moves forward:
1. Plan a class power nap.What do you do on the Monday following the time change?
Easy. The Monday directly following the time change is National Nap Day, so why not plan a 15-minute power nap for the whole class?
Each child might bring a soft pillow or stuffed animal to put on their desk as a head cushion. Ask your class members to help create the 'rules' for this event. To reduce fidgeting or whispering, consider playing soothing music or even a guided-imagery CD during those 15 minutes.
2. Go for a brisk walk.Most elementary classes take periodic walks during school. Still, you and your students may benefit from an extra walk at some point in the day (possibly just after the power nap).
If weather permits, consider a fast-paced walk around the school grounds. Any exercise will stimulate the brain so it's ready for classroom learning once again.
3. Incorporate movement into learning.Another way to stay energized is to incorporate movement into a lesson plan.
For example, you might try a math-themed relay race in which students pick up numbered tiles and mentally add them together before the next leg of the race. Or, plan a spelling game in which a student writes a word on his or her partner's back (after which the partner guesses the word).
4. Talk about the effect of light on sleep.Depending on the age of your students, you might plan a short science unit about light and how it affects sleep.
Discussion points could include natural sunlight and artificial light from cell phones, tablet devices, computers, and televisions.
Discuss the effects of light on sleep, and offer ideas for blocking out light when it's time to go to bed. You might even offer instructions on how to make an inexpensive blackout curtain as an at-home project. Parents may thank you for the idea!
Remember, the change to Daylight Savings Time isn't always welcome, but if you incorporate a few strategies, both you and your class members will feel a whole lot better.
Do you have great strategies for coping with the switch to Daylight Savings Time? Share your ideas in the comments below.
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