Changing Space

Photograph by Edna Vite “Mandalas are utilized in all cultures as transmitters of energy,” Vite says, explaining that they can transform negative energy into positive energy. According to Vite, people use mandalas to cleanse spaces of negative energy, as well as to meditate and to energize themselves.

Last week Jose wrote:

I stayed in my classroom until 530pm making sure that, when the kids
came in the morning, they had a more comfortable setting for themselves
than what I felt I provided. I’m tired of the negative energy my
homeroom class has, so maybe if I change the environment a bit, I’d get
a little more positivity back.

I’ve been trying to do the same and when I started my response to his question, “how?” it turned into this blog post.

Here you go, Jose.

How I did it? No, more like how I am attempting to do it. It’s always a process….a long one ;)

Physical environment.
I’ve got an interesting dilemma because I’ve got 2 distinctly different groups in my class – the 12-15 year olds and the 16-19 year olds (don’t ask how that happened). At first I had the older group (6 altogether) sitting at round tables at the back of the room with the younger group (8 altogether) scattered around the front at individual desks – facing all different directions because at the beginning of the year some of my kids couldn’t deal with looking at each other, too much of a distraction.

This week I changed it up a bit and I decided to place some of the younger, more challenged students at tables with an older student or 2. So far so good. I’ve seen some mentoring already. And I’ve placed my major behaviour time bomb (remember the desk flying incident?) near the door so he can quickly leave when I signal him to go for a break or when he realizes (if we ever get to the point where he can self-assess his anger levels) that he needs one himself.

Head space?
The mentoring I mentioned above is helping. Instead of constant bickering I’m hearing more helping. Could it be that I am seeing more tolerance? I think maybe. Time will tell. That was a side effect of the physical space thing though. Something I started this week is a daily quote analysis. I work with kids who have a difficult time with text and being able to fully analyze a cohesive piece of text has been good for them. Instead of doing it every once in a while as a class, this week I tried it every single day and I gave groups of 2-3 students their own quote to look at it. I’ll keep you posted on how this goes. I’m liking it so far.

Like I said, it’s a process….

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