Ways to Alleviate Stress in a Spanish Classroom

With this week’s blogs, we have been discussing mental health and assessments. We have children in our classrooms for whom we care and support yet we have a duty to produce data driven results of student outcomes. These two ideologies sometimes seem to contradict one another. In every class that I have ever taught or observed, one result of end of the year assessments is a given…STRESS.

Practice these 5 Stress Reducing Activities in your classroom to help balance the mental wellbeing of your students with the mandatory assessments of their learning!

Breathe
Many adults have learned that taking long deep breaths before a stressful activity can help calm anxious thoughts. Our students are young and may not have learned this trick yet. Teach them! Model deep breathing with them! Take 5-6 deep breaths at the beginning of class, before exams and performances, or any other time when you feel the nerves rising.

Exercise
Exercise is great for healthy bodies and minds! Teach your students the body parts in Spanish by doing simple calisthenics each day. This activity is fun, teaches vocabulary and helps children burn away the nerves that will distract from the rest of the lesson.

Step Outside
Sometimes a change of scenery is the best cure for classroom stress. Take a short walk around the campus or even within your classroom. Getting out of chairs and desks, will help keep the blood flowing and wake up tired minds. As an extra vocabulary bonus, be sure to point out the sights you see in Spanish…¡Una ardilla!”

Laugh
Youtube has changed the dynamic of my classes. If my students have performed well all class, I reward them with funny videos for the last 2 minutes of the day. I search for silly Spanish videos (age appropriate, of course!) and we watch them on the overhead. This only works for classrooms with permission to access Youtube and the technology to transmit videos. But, laughter is universal. If technology is limited in your area, what other ways can you find to bring down the house?

Music
Even my most introverted, insecure students enjoy music during class. I play music as a destresser as much as I can. We sing silly songs, traditional songs and even some pop songs in Spanish. We learn to salsa and merengue. Sometimes we dance and sing around the room and other times tunes are playing softly in the background. They say “music soothes the savage beast”, well, they can add that it also alleviates anxiety in my classroom!

Let’s review…

Breath, exercise, outdoors, laughter and music.
The 5 key ingredients to a HIGH performing, LOW stress classroom!