The Art of the Cooldown [Interactive]

[0:02] Hi Everyone. I’m calling this PE express podcast “The Art of the Cool Down”, and I want you to think about your classes for a moment. Do you incorporate a cool down in your lessons? Well a cool down really in essence is being able to calm the body or transition from an active state to a more passive one. Now, this could be done in conjunction with your lesson closure, and I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there that may already be doing this. With the pandemic in full swing, this is the perfect time to incorporate some sort of social-emotional learning or SEL within your program. And believe me, in my opinion, I think the kids really need it.

[1:10] So I think about my classes so far since this is all started for the school year. What are some of the signs and symptoms that kids are coping with the stresses within your P E class? And it’s really interesting because I’m seeing a huge range of behaviors. We’re seeing some of our older kids. That’s our 5th and 4th graders acting in a more subdued manner than they really had been in the past. They’re a lot more passive, a lot less likely to engage, almost a saddened-like state And then I’ve seen the opposite.

[1:45] I’ve also seen kids where they’re incredibly hyper, like some sort of active state where they always wanna go, go, go all the time. So I’m noticing that the stresses are affecting them as much as it’s affecting me and because of this, I believe this is something that teachers should take into consideration and to include a necessary cool down as part of your PE classes. In my opinion, it’s going to help your kids and your classes in the long run. Kids are not always taught or able to properly cope with life’s issues.

[2:21] So here are some suggestions that I would have for you when thinking about the cool down. Take a few moments at the end of the class to allow the kids to just chill and be present in your gym or room. One suggestion is to socially distance them enough for a mask break. You see in my school, teachers give the kids mass breaks over the course of the day since kids are required to wear masks in school. They can be very cumbersome for the younger ones.

[2:50] Lately, I have been playing this calm spot like New Agey sort of music while I’m instructing the kids to lie down and close their eyes. For the majority of the things that I’ve been deciding to do, to have the kids do some sort of a guided meditation where I’m talking to them and having them focus more on their breathing than anything else that they have to deal with over the course of the day.

[3:15] Now, at the same time, while they’re doing this, I’m also able to wipe down and disinfect various pieces of equipment that I’ve used for my classes because they really need to be disinfected again before the next class comes in. So that way I’m multitasking where the kids are calming their minds, calming their bodies, all the while, I’m cleaning and preparing things that I need to do for the next group.

[3:40] Another thing that I’ve been doing while the kids were lying down during this time is to incorporate some sort of yin yoga stretching, a very passive type of stretching while listening to my voice in the calm music. The kids are focusing really on what they need to get done for the day, and it’s kind of a reset button before I have them line-up to leave.

[4:00] I’ve had some kids give me feedback that they did feel much calmer than they felt ready to move on for the next part of their day. I’ve even had a couple of the little ones tell me that they felt like they wanted to fall asleep. I know from their responses that what I was trying to get across to them seems to be working.

[4:18] So that’s it. Really consider doing something similar that would fit your situation as you move on throughout the year because honestly everybody, we don’t know how long this is going to last for us and what it’s gonna do to our psyche moving forward. I hope you found this podcast beneficial to you. Take care and good luck.

Donn is the 2019 SHAPE America National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. He is a K-5 physical education teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in Mahopac, NY. He also currently serves on the NYS AHPERD Board of Directors.

Donn is the 2019 SHAPE America National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. He is a K-5 physical education teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in Mahopac, NY. He also currently serves on the NYS AHPERD Board of Directors.

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