I love the new addition to my classroom, the stretch and challenge wall. It give pupils choices, motivates them and pushes them out of their comfort zone. Its only been in my classroom for about 5 weeks now and it clearly has benefits but it may never be as beneficial as the calm wall or the reduce stress wall as it is sometimes called.
I have had a “calm wall” in my classroom going on three years now. I decided to bring it in when I noticed that pupils were getting a bit worked up and frazzled particularity during practical assessments.
There is nothing immediately striking about this wall and it doesn’t have a heading on it or any fancy graphics.It is simply a number of positive statements such as the following:
” I’ll give it a try” “I can ” ” I have done my best” ” I’ll have another try”
“I’ m enjoying learning new things” ” I’ll have another go”
“I’ll only fail if i stop trying” ” I can learn anything if I set my mind to it”
So if I notice a pupil looking a little stressed or anxious I encourage them to go over and read some of the statements on the wall. It works on the idea of positive statements, overruling negative thoughts with positive one, believing in ones ability and resilience.
It helps in many ways. I introduce the calm wall to most of my pupils (when I remember). Some of them often rush up in a dramatic style read a statement and announce to the class that they have been to “de “stress. While others often sneak a look as they walk past to grab a t-towel. I am quite aware that it is not an immediate problem “fixer” but it can be used as a method of distraction and it sometimes needs to be used discreetly or in moderation or with awareness of who you have sent to it before.I recall sending one pupil who was clearly stressed and he replied ” I have been to the calm wall two times already today and I am still stressed” and then he proceeded to spontaneously burst into laughter and felt calmer. In some cases, pupil may need a little personal pep talk to help them along their way.
I find its a simple idea but an effective one even if its just to reassure pupils that we all need a little encouragement and some positive self statements.
I reckon I use it much more than the pupils, just before I need to count to ten. Give it a try.!