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    News — classroom management

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    Yoga in Taiwan

    I discovered that yoga is alive and well in Taiwan.


    Last year, my husband, daughter, and I spent a year in Taiwan. My husband and I were teaching English to Taiwanese students, while my daughter learned Mandarin at a small school up in the mountains. Now, when I say that we were teaching English, I mean that we were teaching English as a completely foreign language....not a second language. In other words, everything had to be translated and learned. Chinese characters had to be translated into letters, letter sounds had to be learned, and sometimes-actually a lot of times-things were lost in translation, because some things just couldn't be translated word for word.


    Well, while I was teaching words such as lion and mouse, and sentences such as: "I can help you," I came up with this idea to teach the English words while doing yoga. Why hadn't I thought about this before? The children ages 8-12 really got into it. At first, they were a teensy bit shy, but when they realized that they could move around rather than all sit at their desks in rows, they were pumped up. They learned the word elephant, by getting into elephant pose, sucking up pretend water, and hosing down their friends with the water. When things got crazy, I had them get into mouse pose. They learned the phrase "quiet as a mouse" in a friendly, peaceful way.



    Balance in the classroom.

    Today I was brainstorming with one of my coworkers and friend about how to incorporate the balance board in the classroom. We've both been teaching for over 25 years combined and are always ready to try something new...especially in this day in age, where kids in the classroom seem like a box of 64 crayons, versus the standard box of 8 back in the day.  So, here's what we were thinking:

    A lot of kids have a difficult time focusing, without moving.  As you may have seen or heard, moving around in the classroom is disruptive, especially when the students are required to be seated.  So, with the balance board, a child can sit on the balance board, and still move around from side to side (and get a core workout while doing so).  This is different from sitting on a balance ball, as the board won't roll away.  I think cushions would also work, but have a somewhat different effect.

    So, guess what?  I tried it the next day and it was awesome.  A few of the kids were given balance boards.  When we were having a discussion, they were rocking side to side on their balance boards, but not disrupting class.  Nobody cared that they were rocking, because they were so quiet. They even participated in the discussion and lesson for a whole hour.  The focus and balance was amazing.