How to Calmly Transition Back to the Classroom after Lunch and Recess

What is one of the trickiest times to transition back to instruction during the school day?


After Lunch or Recess.


LET'S START WITH LUNCH.

Research has shown that our bodies digest far better when they are relaxed, and when we can actually set aside enough time to simply eat (rather than cramming finding a spot to eat, having a conversation with a friend, eating lunch, and cleaning up in the span of what many students have to be 20-30 minutes). What should be a leisurely activity is often so rushed, for teachers and students both.


THEN, THERE'S RECESS.

Oftentimes, it can feel like herding cats when your students get off of the playground, and back into the classroom. Somebody left their jacket outside. Somebody else needs a drink of water. Somebody else needs to use the restroom. All the while, the energy is at an all-time high, and it takes 10 minutes (or more!) to have everyone back in learning mode.


Is there a solution for this?


YES. The answer?


REST!


In my classroom, we happen to transition from lunch right back to the classroom.


Before moving onto grabbing our math workbooks, we "Rest and Digest."


During this time, students are still and quiet. The lights are off as they grab a drink of water, make their way back to their seats, and settle in.


WHAT DO STUDENTS DO DURING REST AND DIGEST?


LISTEN TO CALMING MUSIC

I usually play soothing music or nature sounds from a YouTube video while students are making their way in, and all the while as their sitting at their seats.


We listen to the similar music/sounds during Writers Workshop, too. We call it our "brain music!"


COLOR OR DRAW

Using whatever materials students have easy access to (either in their desks, or readily accessible in the classroom), they can simply doodle.


READ A BOOK

This is literally no prep on your part! Reading while resting is an effective way for many students to calm down.


BREATHE

Teaching children to control their breathing gives them the ability to focus. It also helps instill self-control. Many deep breathing exercises can be explicitly taught. Deep "belly breathing" is a great place to start.


You can download my FREE "How To" Belly Breathing Poster HERE!


How To Steps for Deep Belly Breathing

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If Rest and Digest time is something you'd like to incorporate into your classroom, you check out these mini books in my TpT store! They will guide your students through the above strategies with explanations to make for a calm transition time.


Rest and Digest - A Tool for a Smooth Transition from Lunch to the Classroom
Rest and Digest - A Tool for a Calm Transition from Lunch to the Classroom
If transitioning from RECESS back to the classroom is what you want to focus on, you can check out the companion to Rest and Digest, Rest and Reflect!


Rest and Reflect - A Tool for a Calm Transition from Recess to the Classroom

Wishing you calming lunch & recess transition times to come!


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