I CAN FOCUS ON ONE THING AT A TIME...YES!… I CAN FOCUS ON ONE THING AT A TIME! SUPERKID POWER!” The children drummed and sang to this tune with great exuberance. It was a reinforcement activity after practicing the act of focusing on one thing at a time WITH DISTRACTIONS. Why practice with distractions?
It's as simple as knowing that research indicates there is an average, and sometimes minimum, of 25% in classroom time spent dealing with distractions. Children who do not know HOW to focus will be more easily distracted and depart from the topic in the classroom. Practicing Focusing Skills in a fun, unforgettable, irresistible way is the golden key for children. And that's exactly what I facilitated with numerous PreK and K classes successfully, helping them to FOCUS while potential distractions occurred around them. 3D Learning at its best works the best!
In class, Dingo, the Baby Dinosaur was being bothered by a little flying fairy who wanted him to play. She wanted all of his attention. At first he was distracted and would look her way when she beckoned to him to play with her. He could not hold his attention because distractions always pulled him in their direction. Calming oneself lends itself to a better and longer ability to focus. I invited all the PreK children to help Dingo take a slow, deep belly button breath to calm himself which is necessary to focus attention on one thing at a time. We then sang the Calming song. After they helped Dingo calm himself, the little fairy once again tried to distract him. But now Dingo knew how to focus on something by being calm and did not allow the fairy to get his attention.
Next each child focused on Dingo individually as I tried to distract each child
with a shaker above their heads, one at a time. After taking a slow deep belly button breath, each child was successful in holding attention on just Dingo. I declared all of them to be SUPErKIDS with focusing skills. And then I provided the best kind of reward......a toy to be used that provided a review of deep calming breathing while focusing on one thing. Reinforcing the theme in a variety of ways kept the children engaged.
The children were thrilled to each receive a take-home toy to build their calm deep breathing and focusing skills.....blow pipes with floating balls. (See picture) As they practiced their focus remained steady in order to see how much they could advance the amount of time the ball could stay up in the air and how many times they could keep the ball falling back into the basket.
What brain research says about paying attention: “An effective attentional system must be able to (1) quickly identify and focus on the most important item in a complex environment; (2) sustain attention on its focus while monitoring related information and ignoring other stimuli; (3) access memories that aren't currently active, but that could be relevant to the current focus; and (4) shift attention quickly when important new information arrives.” We were able to accomplish all four points with this session on Focus skills being fun, switching from activity
to activity for reinforcement while recalling ways to calm ourselves learned from past sessions.
Emotion obviously dominates reason in many attentional decisions. Some psychologists indicate attention levels vary according to motivation, mood, perceived relevance of the material and other factors. My Being Calm coloring book brings awareness to paying attention to how one feels and what the results are when being calm versus not being calm, serving to reinforce the idea of using focus skills to achieve desired results.
The children did artwork to show the difference between allowing others to distract them and staying calmly focused. I also gave each child a sticker button for a control switch they placed on their heart areas to push and remind themselves to take control and stay focused.
Learning to Focus on One Thing at a Time was never so much fun!
www.superkidpower.org with Grandma Boom
BEEING CALM, Janai Mestrovich aka Grandma Boom, Amazon