Have you heard of the latest doodling-like craze, Zentangle? It’s a structured procedure of relaxation by drawing patterns. I recently went to a program my local public library offered and immediately began thinking of how I could apply this to my classroom.
There are good advantages to teaching students to Zentangle:
- Increases Focus & Concentration
- Calming & Relaxing
- Fine Motor Practice
- Increases Hand-Eye Coordination
- Develops Patterning Skills
- Increases Memory
I am faced with having several students who have ADD/ADHD this year in addition to learning disabilities. I have tried many of my tried-and-true tricks for learning with them, to no avail. After doing a Zentangle myself, I knew I had to try it at school. It was a complete flop!
And it was all my fault. I didn’t take into account that my fifth graders cannot create a pattern and that they struggle with fine motor skills (they are ALL getting OT this year!!!). Now I found myself having to modify the Zentangling method to meet the needs of my students. Sigh. Story of my life.
I decided that they really needed guidance on what a pattern looks like and should feel like first, so I created some basic patterns inside a single shape for them to trace with a marker, colored pencil, or pen. The first one I gave them had straight horizontal lines (which also helped them practice going from left to right and from top to bottom). They had to be guided to start on one dark line and trace the gray line until they got to the other dark line. They had a difficult time making a continuous line and crossing the midline. But they LOVED it! And I couldn’t believe the focus and concentration. It was amazing. All talking stopped and they were so intent on what they were doing. Incredible!
I chose to play the LeapFrog Letter Factory video while they were working, to help them solidify their knowledge of letters and letter sounds. Even though they’re fifth graders, they enjoy preschool videos. In fact, when they are telling me about what they like to watch at home, it is often a preschool cartoon. That speaks volumes about their developmental levels, doesn’t it? I only show them these when they are away from their grade level peers. I have yet to find a better video that works on letter sounds than the Letter Factory. I have one for my two-year-old at home. He loves it! 🙂
I’m currently working on some Zentangles for my kiddos to do. Check back soon, because I’ll be giving away some freebies for you to try! 🙂
Here are some resources that I particularly like:
A WARNING: Once you Zentangle, it’s pretty addictive. Good luck stopping once you start! 🙂