Thursday, April 8, 2010

Brain Vacation.

Daily, after recess or P.E., which both generally come mid-class, it is time for a much needed R&R. I turn out the lights, have my bursting buds rest their heads on their desks, while listening to soft music playing, and sipping on a bit of water to rehydrate their little bodies. It's both the perfect and worst time to do so. They are all wound up from their most recent exercise, and the last thing they want to do is "rest." However, it is for this very reason why it becomes entirely important for them to settle down.

Our rest time isn't always considered a likable activity. They want to be viewed as "big" and in their minds big kids certainly don't nap. I try to find ways to make it enjoyable, or at least bearable, so they aren't reminded of their younger siblings during an afternoon nap. Reminding them that even Miss Molly takes naps sometimes helps, but sharing that daily gets old quick. When doing some reading I discovered some teachers who call this rest time a "Brain Vacation." Seeing this, I was immediately inspired and eager to try it out.

"OK everybody, it's time for Brain Vacation! You're brains get to rest, and don't have to do any amount of thinking if you don't want them to!" I said in excitement.

It was a lighter way of saying "put your heads down," so they all greeted the new phrase with pleasure. After one enjoyable minute of quiet, one busy thinker just had to break the silence with a pressing question.
"Miss Molly? Are our brains leaving our heads?" he asked inquisitively.

I may have said it before, but Kindergartners have this unique way of taking everything they hear literally. Their minds wrap around the precise details of each word you say, and lack the necessary skills to interpret it differently. Knowing this, I try to filter everything I say through the suspected literal translations I figure will occur. However, there are times like these in which particular phrases slip by that need further explaining. In these cases, including our brain vacation moment, I am happy to oblige and make every effort to explain as carefully as I can so the phrase may be continued to be used.

Now it's your turn to think about it -- Brain Vacation. Odd word combination, right? Naturally, when he heard this phrase, he imagined his brain literally jumping out of his head and running away to catch some vacation time. I wanted to ask him how his brain would leave his head in the first place, where would he go, or how would he even get there. Would he climb out the mouth? Would he go to the beach? Would he grow legs and hop on a bus to get there? I decided that after my initial explanation, further questions were better left alone, as it was interrupting valuable quiet time. Afterall, we all know that brains are exceedingly smart, but somehow I don't think even the most powerful of brains would be capable of completing such an extraordinary task.