Quieting Down for Jesus Time

In March we can get very noisy. We have not been able to go outside much (although yesterday was beautiful!) and, because we’re 3/4 of the way through the school year, the students know each other very well. That means we talk, laugh and holler a lot!

Getting the children to pipe down is difficult, especially following Center Time … which is when we have Jesus Time (religion class). I usually have the students sit cross-legged and hands out. We take deep breath and calm ourselves down. We then say something to Jesus inside our heart (not out loud).

This activity – from my new Loyola Press religion series – had been working wonderfully until the last couple of weeks. I didn’t have a new silence strategy to try, so I was a bit – errrr – frustrated. 🙂

Till a new idea came to me during my Lenten reading in the monastery chapel on Saturday. Kathleen Norris’ “Amazing Grace” (it’s a wonderful book!) offers a great idea in her chapter on Silence. Wow! I love it. Here’s how she silences her students before writing exercises:

First, Kathleen instructs the students on the exercise. Then, she raises her hand. The students can make all the noise they wish, as long as her hand is up. When her hand goes down, though, the students must stop. Of course she practices it with them a few times!

Then Kathleen explains they must sit still, breathing silently. (She must know what all preschool teachers know: When you tell children to breathe it can be a very noisy activity!)

After several practice sessions, Kathleen achieves total success. I tried this activity out yesterday and it worked. It helped the students get out the last bit of noise and to really quiet down for our Jesus Time. Thanks, Kathleen!!

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