Who doesn’t get the jitters about the beginning of school? Not just students, but parents, teachers, administrators, and support staff too!
I read back-to-school favorite, Wemberly Worried, by Kevin Henkes, with two Special Ed classes, and we read about all of Wemberly’s concerns. Then we talked about things we might worry about; I went first to break the ice. I confessed to worrying about whether I would remember teacher and student names (my first year at the school), and if students would like the books I read aloud. I didn’t know if any students would want to share their own worries, but I was surprised at how candid they were, once we got started.
Worry stones are typically a smooth, hard, polished gemstone with an indentation for rubbing the thumb across, used to relieve anxiety. They were used in ancient Greece, Tibet, Ireland, and in Native American Tribes. (What do you suppose they worried about? I’d love to know!) Read more about the history of worry stones here.
I divided the clay into small segments in advance, and students selected three colors to make their unique worry stones. Students carved their initials on the bottom using an opened paper clip. I brought my little toaster oven from home (perhaps your staff lounge has one already), baked them for 20 minutes, and delivered them to the classrooms later. When we made them at the hour-long public library story time, children made the worry stones first, and I baked them while I read a few back-to-school books, so they were able to take them home with them right away.
Tip: You may want to have a few extras made, so students who are absent are able to have one, even though they weren’t able to make their own.