We interrupt the regularly scheduled post for this public service announcement:
…OR NOT?!? Let’s talk about this, shall we? What if I told you that those rainy, indoor recess days could actually be an enjoyable experience for your kiddos and you?! If you didn’t roll your eyes yet, yay! If you did, I don’t blame you but I ask you to hear me out. I’m a gal who adores sunshine and I’ll take that any day of the week BUT I’ve learned how to make the best out of those rainy days.
Here’s a scenario that might sound familiar: your alarm goes off, you roll out of bed and stumble to your coffeemaker. You sit down with your steaming cup of coffee (in an adorable mug, of course) and start mentally running through your school day ahead. You’re going to rock it! And then, you take a peek at the weather app. EEEEEEKKKK!!! Rain. ALL DAY. Which means…INDOOR RECESS. Instant mood killer right?
^ That was exactly how my day began one Friday. EXCEPT this time I decided it was going to be different. I’ve been doing a LOT of work on mindset this year. Not just with my first graders but with myself. You see, it’s become increasingly obvious to me that all the mindset lessons in the world won’t make a difference if I am not a living example for my kiddos. My mindset and attitude in the classroom have a HUGE impact on how our days will play out.
Soooo, as I sat there that Friday morning, I had a thought. If I was staying home today, what would I be doing? I’d be curling up on the sofa with a good book and a cup of coffee (probably turkish because I’m currently obsessed). I might even be grateful for the rainy day. Those days where it pours all day can actually feel like a bit of a gift in a way. The pressure to run around and cross things of the to-do list is replaced with ahhh, it’s the perfect time to slow down and cuddle up with a great book or binge on Netflix! Why not bring this same approach to my classroom?
SETTING THE TONE
Once I adjusted my mindset, my first priority was to set that tone as soon as my kiddos arrived. When we have indoor recess, they’re in the gym with about 150 other little ones before they enter my room. Needless to say, the energy level is ^^HIGH^^ already! My room lights are usually as dim as possible for morning entry and I have lamps on instead of the glaring fluorescent lights (this is me not going on a rant about those things).
The message on the SmartBoard immediately caught their attention and we had a little discussion about what it meant. We decided to make the best of the weather and have a cozy day inside. I carved out extra reading buddy time and these little cuties made their debut in our room:
I’ve had these reading buddy monkeys and frogs forrrevvver! When I first found them in the Dollar Tree years ago, it was love at first sight. My kinders at the time felt the same way and they’ve been a hit ever since. They usually stay tucked in the closet for the first couple of months of school until I’m sure that my little ones are ready for them. This year they got tucked in the back and I completely forgot about them…until now! Perfect timing for this rainy day 🙂 They loooooved wrapping them around their necks and reading to them!
RAIN ON THE BRAIN
Since we can’t just snuggle up and read all day long, it made sense to keep a rain theme running through our lessons. We are knee-deep in our Elephant and Piggie inferring unit which I have to say is soooooo much fun!!!! I’m sure my kiddos have pretty close to perfect attendance around this time because they don’t want to miss a single adventure of Gerald & Piggie. Honestly, I can’t blame them because I never get tired of them either!
If you’re not familiar with this awesome book, Piggie is excited about going outside to play and makes all kinds of fun plans. THEN the rain comes. And it pours. And Piggie gets MAD! Really, really MAD! Eventually she realizes that she can have tons of fun in the rain too. Just as she embraces the rain, it suddenly stops. Once again, Piggie is MAD! In true Gerald & Piggie style, Gerald uses his trunk to make it ‘rain’ again so Piggie can play in it 🙂 I can’t do the book justice but if you teach kinder or first grade, your kiddos are sure to adore these two!
That story is a perfect springboard to a little opinion writing. You can grab a copy along with my RAINY DAY YAY below!
I don’t know about you, but music plays a huge role in my classroom. It can have such a calming influence on our little ones and I often have music playing while we work and eat. Music and lighting are my two favorite tools for managing the ‘vibe’ in our classroom. Needless to say, the ‘vibe’ on rainy, indoor recess days can be…well…not calm. We’ll go with that. Soooo, in changing my mindset and approach to those often dreaded days where the kiddos are cooped up, I knew music would be key in setting the tone.
This is one of my current faves! It’s 3 hours long so no worries about having to switch videos or panic about which ads will pop up at the end ;). The images are simple and beautiful yet not distracting. You can almost feel an immediate change in the room when the music starts. It’s sooo amazing how music and lighting can transform a room into a cozy and calm classroom.
The fireplace is another popular choice in my room. If the room is quiet enough, you can even hear the crackling logs. It creates a warmth and comfort on those damp days and some of my little ones insist they can feel heat 😉 Click below for my go-to fireplace video.
Spending the whole day in the room together can be challenging so we talked about being a ‘light’ for others. Being patient, kind and helpful to our friends were our goals for the day. I introduced the new lanterns that we will be using to celebrate friends who put in the extra effort to be a light for our classroom family. We started with one lantern which I placed on the desk of a little one who was sharing supplies with her group. It was then up to her to pass it along when she noticed another friend being a light.
We’ve had several rainy days since this one and I can honestly say they’re a completely different experience for me now. They’ve become an opportunity to slow down and focus on embracing the day – rain or shine! Judging from the response of my kiddos, they enjoy the change of pace too and I think it continues to be a valuable lesson in finding the silver lining in each day!
As I was getting ready to leave for the day, I spotted this in our reading corner:
How sweet that one of my kiddos even tucked Marvin in for a nap! A darling way to end what turned out to be a lovely rainy day. Yay!
With love, from my classroom to yours,