Sharing CALM Experiences
I wanted to pass on a congratulations and thank you for providing yoga and mindfulness to your students. A true gift! Leigh Bergman, Administrative Assistant
CALM has become a place where you can pull yourself together and de-stress and just feel comfortable with yourself. CALM has shown me that even when I feel hopeless and I feel like nothing can help me CALM "turns" into my happy place. CALM is a good place to take care of myself mentally and physically. Ms. Tupy really had the creativity and determination to come up with this helpful and mindful program that we really appreciate experiencing this year. Sixth Grade Groveton Student
Wellness Wednesdays are a much-needed respite in the midst of the busy, often chaotic, work we do at Groveton. I look forward to relaxed attire and the opportunity to practice yoga before or after school. I also love that my students are very excited to go to CALM each week. This weekly exposure to the practice of mindfulness and yoga is helping me incorporate mindfulness language and practice in my classroom as well. One of my favorite experiences so far has been a session that Ms. Tupy did in my classroom last week. She came into our learning space and taught the students how to be mindful and practice some quiet, mindful, relaxing techniques. First, I was able to take a break and come back to a very calm classroom. Then, I was able to observe Ms. Tupy and learn and experience alongside my students. This was a very powerful experience for all of us and I look forward to future opportunities to learn and grow in creating a mindful classroom. Mrs. Kristin Smoot, Educator Groveton ES
CALM is a good place to relax and stay focused. When I first went to CALM, it was really weird because I didn't know what it was. But when we learned poses, it felt fun and cool to learn. You can go there to calm down or to relax yourself. CALM is a place where you learn to be calm and not to get into trouble. Sixth Grade Groveton Student
Thank you so much for inviting us into your classroom. I found the setup to be very peaceful and inviting and I immediately felt the stress of the day leaving my body. The dim lights and the soothing music were very pleasing. I can understand why the students and staff feel so comfortable in your classroom. It was interesting to watch how the students responded to your direction. They seemed to really enjoy the yoga poses and the “crisscross yoga sauce.” Even after the activities they were all able to quiet down and rest peacefully for a short period. I am amazed at all that you have accomplished in such a short amount of time. It would be wonderful if all of the schools could incorporate a program like this. Teresa Gallahan, BSN, RN School Health Specialist
Thanks for letting me pop into your class today. My supervisor was here and was excited to see the CALM classroom in action. She is very excited about all of your work! Jamie Gardner, Ed.S. Groveton ES
The implementation of CALM this year has made me more cognizant of supporting my student's needs for movement and emotional support. After attending part of a CALM session with my class, we implemented her "Crisscross Yoga Sauce" song into our classroom routines. After using it as our poem of the week, we are now using it as a song to get our bodies ready when we transition to the carpet. I have noticed my students assuming "yogi" pose while waiting for others to get settled. It is helping to make them more aware of their minds and bodies and how they are connected. Christine McLeary 1st grade teacher, Groveton ES
I have very much enjoyed going to the morning stretch every Wednesday. It is a great mid-week check for myself. Personally, it helps ground me for my day and gives me a few minutes to clear my thoughts and let go of everything before I start the, what can be, organized chaotic day in the classroom. With my students, I have been using the crisscross yoga sauce and balloon breaths. I use the crisscross yoga sauce during transitions and the balloon breaths when they are sad or upset to help them feel more at ease. I am excited to see what else comes from this program because so far, I love it for myself and my students. Carrie Carter Kindergarten Teacher, Groveton ES
On the days when I do CALM, I feel that I am more able to be patient and less reactive to stress. When I have noticed that I am feeling more stressed in the classroom, I have been telling the students that I am taking a break and I take a minute to take deep breaths. A few times as a class we have done some practices from CALM (like cat and cow), though it is not a regular routine that I have incorporated into the schedule. Every day I do allow students a few minutes of quiet time after specials and recess, allowing students to lay down on the carpet. I noticed a positive difference in engagement during lessons/activities after quiet time. Unknown
I like CALM a lot because it takes a lot of stressful stuff away like when I feel mad or embarrassed. It helps me calm down and that helps a lot. Sixth Grade Groveton Student
During the school lock down drill on September 14, several of my Kindergarten students sat in calm pose while we waited for the drill to end. One of my students also did the criss cross yoga sauce movement quietly. He is a limited English speaker and new to school, so I was happy to see he could use these skills during a situation that is strange for 5 and 6 year olds. Ayme Zlatnik, Kindergarten IA
Just wanted to let you know that Friday’s lockdown drill with 2 kinder classes was the calmest in my 16 years of teaching. There was no fear. The students felt comfortable in low light. When we used the terms calm, calmness, calm bodies they understand the expectations. We even danced in a calm way before the announcement. We are also seeing results with 4th and 3rd graders with their written work. We asked them to be mindful of what they put on the paper. To really think about it before they act. And the quality of work was amazing and they were proud of themselves. Kate Hart Music Teacher Groveton ES
I observed a 2nd grade class this afternoon. This classroom contains numerous students with a history of ADHD, disruptive behaviors, and self-control issues. It took some of them more than half the time period to settle down, but by the end of class, I noticed to my surprise that several of these “movers and shakers” had assumed poses on their back, side or stomach, and were still, quiet and calm. It was a pleasure to see! Kris Griswold, School Counselor Groveton ES
Thank you for opening up your classroom to us today. I was impressed with how well you guided your students and made them feel calm, safe and relaxed. It was amazing to see you and your classroom and I want you to know I truly appreciate your time. I also value all the advice, support and guidance you have given me, what a gift! Gina Elliot
On April 23, 2019, the George Mason University early childhood undergraduate and graduate students visited the Sueann's CALM classroom at Groveton. As we walked down the hallways, the students admired the classrooms, the displays, etc.. but it wasn't until we opened the CALM classroom door, that we were whisked away into a different setting, a different environment away from a typical school. The classroom was dark, with warm lights strategically placed around the room, the lavender scented aroma permeated the classroom, and mats were placed in a circle. The students and I immediately became quiet and still.... and well, CALM. We took off our shoes, and each chose a mat to sit or lie on. Sueann provided a background about how CALM started, she talked about the statistics related to incorporating CALM into the curriculum, and she demonstrated and allowed us to engage in CALM. Afterwards, the Mason students reflected on the busy day, the traffic, the finals exams, and how all of their stressors were forgotten about for the hour and half we spent in the CALM classroom. We also reflected on ways we could include the strategies into our curriculum, as educators, to promote social, emotional, and academic success. I truly appreciate the fact that Sueann took the time out of her schedule to share CALM with the Mason students: both prospective and current early childhood teachers. Actually visiting the CALM classroom, and experiencing it, changed my life, as well as the lives of the Mason students and the lives of the young students they will encounter. Dr. Bweikia Steen Professor Georg Mason University
We had a sound bath here at Groveton when we returned from Spring Break. The calming effect it had on the staff and students was absolutely amazing. We had the best school day ever, there were no reports of misbehavior on this particular day! I also attend the CALM classroom when possible, the environment is so peaceful and soothing and warm! Mrs. Tupy has done a remarkable job introducing all of us here at Groveton different ways to relax and be our very best for our students.The students also enjoy the calming effects of this class.Thank you, Sueann for this wonderful program. Otelia Thompson Instructional Assistant
I wanted to send you my feedback and notes in writing from my two visits to the CALM Classroom. Quotes that landed with me:
- Get into a mindful body: and you explained why we have mindful body
- Whatever arises, do it with kindness
- Sprinkle kindness throughout the school especially to those who you think need it.
- I liked the breathing ball to demonstrate 3-part breath.
- I really like your underlying lesson plan of Focus, Move, Breathe, Relax (I think that's the 4 pillars. I didn't write it down)
- Love the singing bowls to help bring the energy down for mindfulness/meditation, no matter how short.
- I like the rubber duck belly breathing
- Thought the songs used to dance through yoga poses and teacher involvement/leading was really cool.
- Awesome and intelligent to give student's a little piece of yoga mat to take home this summer as a reminder to practice mindfulness. It reminds me of a meditation cushion.
You have created something wonderful for this community and it's so wonderful to see your vision come to life. This forward way of thinking is just what this generation needs, in my opinion. To help kids understand how to be silent and in their bodies so that they are better able to find balance and connection to their own intuition. In a lot of instances silence curates creativity and intelligence. Thank you for investing your heart into something you believe in, and I'm so grateful to be along for the journey. Ashley Orzechowski Honest Soul Yoga Instructor