3 Teacher Tips Thursday: March 18th Edition

This week’s 19th edition of 3 Teacher Tips Thursday comes from TCDSB elementary teacher Merle Gonsalvez (monthly contributor).

Below are 3 simple yet effective resources broken up into 3 categories:
– Great Ideas
– Online Tools
– Teacher PD

Enjoy 3 Teacher Tips Thursday. Hope you find it resourceful.


If there is anything this pandemic has taught us it’s how to SLOW DOWN.  For over 10 years, I have found teaching meditation to be vital to my student’s mental health.  Meditation has been proven to improve focus and attention among students.  I also find that it increases student’s maturity which is something that can send a positive ripple into lessons and relationships.  I use about 4 types of meditation in my class.

Silent meditation – it will never be completely silent of course but students are asked to focus on their breath and be aware of how their mind wanders.  Every time it wanders they should refocus their attention back to their breath.

Music meditation – Choose a song with a message.  After the song, give them some silent time to meditate on it or play the song again.  An example of a song would be “Hands” by Jewel.  After the mediation, we discuss what message the song is trying to convey.

Guided Meditation – I have a book with a script that I read to my students. You can find many guided meditations for children on YouTube.  TIP: Remember to slow down your speech and use a tone that is calming.  Practice your calming voice before you try this with your students.  

Focused meditation – I do this two ways.  One way could be to give students a short sentence to focus on.  They repeat the sentence in their mind during the meditation.  No matter where their mind wanders they always come back to this sentence.  Another way is to focus on specific parts of the body, usually having students lie down. I start at their head and move down to their feet asking them to isolate and contract while releasing specific muscles.  An example of this would be raising your eyebrows and then relaxing them a few times while reminding them to focus on their breath. 


With my online class, we watch the episodes and learn about different types of meditation.  The episodes are 20 minutes long and included a guided meditation. Students can check out their website for home practice.


How often do you invest in yourself?  I allocate at least $500/year to learn new skills.  Let’s face it you are important! Mind Valley is an amazing website that teaches college-level skills for a fraction of the cost.  In fact, Vishen Lakhiani of Mindvalley has made a 1,000,000 bet with Harvard University that he will provide a better education than Harvard for under $500/year.  That’s a pretty confident bet! 

I enjoy learning from the world’s best teachers about almost any subject.  Recently, my students and I have been doing the Superbrain course with Jim Kwick.  He teaches practical lessons to retain information and basically teaches how to learn.

My students often refer to the terms he uses and I have seen an increase in test scores!  One student said, “no one has ever taught me how to study for a test but I can use the stuff he teaches to get better grades. 

Check out Mindvalley.com for more information. 


Merle Gonsalvez is an elementary teacher at the Toronto Catholic District School Board at St. Martin de Porres. This year she is teaching virtually at St. Anne Catholic Academy School of Virtual Learning.

Instagram: @merle_g16
Twitter: @MamaGLeadershp

This edition of 3 Teacher Tips Thursday is brought to you by:
@teachmetoolbox. Educators sharing best practices with fellow educators.

Instagram: @teachmetoolbox

I hope you enjoyed our 19th weekly edition of 3 Teacher Tips Thursday. Got an idea, online tool, or PD opportunity you want to share? Email stefanie.lenzo@tcdsb.org.


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