Using Essential Oils in the Classroom (Guest Post #1)

I’ve heard a lot about essential oils lately. I’ve been interested in learning about their application in the classroom, so I reached out to a friend of mine who is very knowledgeable and experienced in using oils. (If you’re familiar with Young Living Essential Oils, you’ll know my friend by the name Lucy Libido. She’s written essential oils books for women and babies/kids) She connected me with a few teachers who use oils in the classroom. They have agreed to share their experiences with oils in a few guest posts. So here’s the first post about oils, written by high school teacher, Tamera. Click here to get started with your own oils kit!

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard the buzz about essential oils. What are they? How can I use them? Do they really work to support my health? For educators like me, I wanted to know how I could use oils to support my students’ learning and possibly alleviate toxic stress. This began my research into how essential oils support students who have experienced trauma. I spent a lot of time researching just a few single oils to use daily.

Morning: Lemon and Peppermint combined is a great “pick-me-up.” Many students reported that they felt more alert and they loved how good my classroom smelled. It wasn’t uncommon for my students come back to my classroom throughout the day just to sit and breathe, enjoying whatever was in the diffuser.

Afternoon: My students and I engaged in frequent guided meditation. During the 13 minute meditation, I used lavender in the diffuser and their mood and focus changed dramatically. There were weeks where sometimes I’d forget, but my students were quick to remind me, “Miyasato! Where’s our meditation?” They’d even remind me if I forgot to fill the diffuser.

Studying/Test-Taking: Another oil that I found useful in my classroom was rosemary. We diffused it when we were preparing for tests and because scent is tied to memory, I was sure to diffuse it on testing days, as well. While I didn’t collect data on whether it helped improve scores, it definitely supported my students’ focus and concentration.

Disinfecting: Finally, I was never without my bottle of Thieves Cleaner to clean desks and chalk boards. The day janitor used a popular brand of disinfectant down the halls, but we kept our door closed when she came around. Yuck! My students loved the smell of the Thieves and I felt confident letting them help me clean because I knew that it was safe for them to handle.

Administrative Support: I was grateful that I was able to integrate essential oils into my classroom routines to support my students. However, not all schools will allow teachers to use them. So I have to stress the importance of administration approval. I was lucky that my administration was already supportive and open to new ways to support our high-needs school. In fact, after observing the positive changes in my classroom, I provided our principal with information about using the right oils and how they are used to support many body functions. He was so intrigued that he hired an aromatherapist to come in and provide professional learning for our whole staff!

If you are interested in trying them, I strongly encourage you to look into existing policy to make sure that your school does not prohibit the use of essential oils. If no such policy exists, request a meeting and be armed with research! The important thing to note is the quality of the oils, because not all essential oils are created equal.

Happy oiling!

About the Guest Blogger

Tamera Miyasato is a Learning Specialist with Technology & Innovation in Education in South Dakota where her work is focused on cultural proficiency, Oceti Sakowin language and culture, and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). She was formerly a secondary ELA teacher at Pine Ridge High School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where she grew up. She currently lives in Rapid City, SD with her husband, son and two cats.

Note: Content on this blog is not intended as medical advice.

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Christmas Classroom Door Ideas

I love how creative teachers are! I’m always impressed at the clever door decorations I see. Here are some of my favorites from my web-surfing this year!

 This is how you show you’re a trendy teacher!

 

This one seems like it would be one to laminate and reuse.
I just love the Peanuts Gang! They’re pretty timeless.

 

Just plain cute!

 

New perspective of a snowman! I love it! (If you’re not a math teacher, obviously, you can change the text to fit whatever subject you’re teaching!)

 

I found these on Pinterest, and sadly, my 4 favorites didn’t have good photo credits. If these images are yours, please email me and I’l post your photo credit! Merry Christmas!

 

Giant Spider Web (Classroom Halloween Decoration)

Check out this cool Halloween decoration idea submitted by a reader! She purchased a cheap spider web (the wad of web in a bag for a few bucks) and then stretched it out  around the legs of student desks. Have your own cool idea! Send it to me at squareheadteachers at gmail dot com!

Giant web with desks

Lord Of the Rings Classroom Ideas

Some teachers like to have a theme for their classroom. If you’re into Lord of the Rings, or your class reads Lord of the Rings as literature, you may enjoy these ideas (that I found on Pinterest!)

Encourage your kids to become familiar with your school’s library website

 

 

LOTR bulletin board

 

(I could not find the source for any of these photos, so if they’re yours, please let me know!) Any other ideas for a Lord of the Rings classroom theme? Comment below! Thanks!

Giveaway Coming This Week!

I’ve been working with my friends over at the Roylco Little Fingers, Big Art blog to put together something special for you! This week, I’ll be launching my Christmas giveway with a special prize for one lucky winner! Check back this week for a chance to enter!

Little Fingers Big Art

Easy Chair Numbering

Some schools have one specific teacher teach special classes like art, music, PE, health, etc. Often the general classroom teacher does that, but not always. Anyway, if you teach a class in a room with chairs but no tables (like the music classroom pictured below), this idea might interest you.
Easy Chair Numbers photo
First, number note cards from 1-30 (or however many seats you need). Consider using different colored markers or cards so you can group students easily (all the students with purple cards are in a group, etc.). Then tape the numbers to the back of the chairs. Then you can assign each student to a seat. Having numbers on the chairs helps students be accountable for a single chair if you’re a teacher who has students move their chairs around a lot.  No this idea is not complicated or extra cutesy, but it’s helpful. Also notice that the teacher divided the class up into 3 sections using masking tape on the ground. (Always check with your principal or custodian to make sure this is ok at your school.)
Have an idea you think is pretty snazzy? Send it to me (squareheadteachers at gmail dot com) so you share it with other teachers! Thanks!

 

Where Should I Sit? (Student Spacing Trick)

Where Should I Sit Photo
There are times when students need to sit on the ground. It may sound like an easy task, but most teachers have heard “There’s not enough space here!”  or “Scoot over! You’re too close to me!” right after you give that direction. Here’s an easy solution:
 Cut out a bunch of small foam circles. Then as you’re giving directions, drop them on the ground in a spread out circle so students know where to sit. This is an idea that many PE teachers use (but they use those dinner plate sized rubber circles that are pretty pricey). This idea takes the genius of that concept and adapts it to an economical, storage-friendly solution.  Just be sure to have kids return the foam circles when you’re done with the activity (or maybe right after they sit down, so they don’t become a distraction).
Have a good idea to share? Send it to me (squareheadteachers at gmail dot com) so other teachers can benefit also! Thank ya much!

 

Write On Plastic Pocket Charts

Check out this cool idea a reader submitted. It’s simple, but genius!
If you use a pocket chart to hold vocabulary words, you can diagram them right on the pocket! Use an overhead marker or a whiteboard marker to diagram words onto the clear front pocket of the chart! This way, you can leave it up for the week while you’re focusing on a specific principle, and you don’t have to write on the word strip.
pocket charts
Have any other great ideas?  Send them to me (squareheadteachers at gmail dot com) and I’ll post them on this blog! Thanks!
pocket charts 2