Saturday, 20 November 2010 17:45

Tip #13: The Morning Movement Warm-up (Part 3 of 4)

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 This week’s tip continues our current theme: establishing an effective morning routine that prepares students for a great day of learning.  Every morning my students and I participate in a four-part morning movement warm-up.  Executing these movements helps my students achieve what I consider to be an ideal mindset for learning: calm, relaxed, focused, and confident.  During this four week period I describe these four movements, one per week.  This week I describe the third part of our warm-up, deep breathing.

After students have had the opportunity to energize themselves during the first two parts of our routine, our goal for the third and fourth parts is to help them become calm and relaxed.  Deep breathing is an important part of that effort.


Performing Deep Breathing

The basic stance for Deep Breathing calls for students to stand tall with one hand on their belly buttons and the other on their upper chests.  I also ask students to close their eyes to help them focus on themselves, not their friends.  I emphasize to my students that the whole point of this warm-up sequence is to check in with ourselves, see how we’re feeling, and do what’s necessary for us to have a terrific day.  Many kids are understandably curious about what’s going on around them and are easily distracted, so closing the eyes is a necessary step in helping them focus their attention internally, not externally.

Quite a few variations of deep breathing exist, and kids enjoy and benefit from trying them out to determine which one(s) they may want to use on their own in the future.  I describe three of these options below.

• Nose vs. Mouth Breathing: Try breathing in and out through only the nose, breathing through only the mouth, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, and breathing in through the mouth and out through the nose.

• Alternate Nose Breathing: Presenter Jeff Haebig, whom I first referenced in Teaching Tip #12, suggests inhaling and exhaling while holding one nostril closed and then switching nostrils.

• Rhythmical Breathing: Haebig also recommends inhaling and exhaling for a certain number of counts.  This option is my personal favorite because it requires a strong internal focus and helps students develop impressive control of their breathing.  I suggest starting with a small number of counts and increasing the number as the kids gain proficiency.

Like the other parts of this morning movement routine, deep breathing can be done throughout the day as the need arises.


New Teaching Tips appear every Sunday of the school year.