First Literacy Sponsors Teacher Retreat

Examples of watercolor grids created by retreat participants

Adult Basic Education teachers work hard to meet the often cavernous needs of students and the increasing demands of funders. The First Literacy teacher retreat was created to bring teachers together in a supportive, fun environment to introduce strategies for self-care and relaxation before the start of a new academic year. There is much to be reflected on after the retreat. Here are the highlights.

First Step: Unplug and Unwind

We started by relinquishing our cell phones and did not access any screens or technology for the entire day. That, in itself, freed us from the distraction of beeps and jingles and allowed us to pay full attention to each other. We did not use social media, email, or text.

After depositing any concerns into a water-filled “worry bowl,” we moved ahead.
Doing the hokey pokey made us laugh hard and reminded us of the value of play. Writing “Where I’m From” poems helped us build community and note commonalities among a diverse group.

Examples of watercolor grids created by retreat participants

Guided Relaxation Activities

In the afternoon, we experimented with watercolor grids, a meditative process yielding a variety of visual surprises. Participants wrote responses to each person’s work, adding to our camaraderie. We finished the day with a session of restorative yoga and deep relaxation facilitated by Yogini Janet Green-Garrison. In a state of deepened relaxation and appreciation for one another, we created a web of connection before saying goodbye for the day.

One participant reflected, “…each activity made me remember that my students are whole and creative people – not just recipients of grammar.”

Ideas For Your Classroom

Some of our activities and strategies are applicable to the classroom:

  • Integrating play
  • Writing poems
  • Setting intentions for each day

We invite you to take these reflections and think about how you can bring these ideas into your daily lives—in and out of the classroom.

For more information about opportunities to connect and learn with other teachers, sign up for our mailing list!

September 6, 2017

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