The Crush and Crumble: A Stress Relief Method Using Newspaper

During the week of classroom observations at Oak Tree Kindergarten in Zhubei located in Taiwan’s Hsinchu County, I had less control over my students’ behavior than usual. All week parents were invited to visit their child’s classroom to get a glimpse of their daily life in school.
Though all foreign teachers were told this ahead of time I don’t think I had expected nor prepared to deal with changes in my students’ behaviors who were mostly energetic and hyperactive when their parent (or anyone’s parent) came.
 The reason why some children acted differently, was because their parent(s) provided a safety net for them to feel comfortable. Students’ seemed more relaxed about following standard classroom behavior.
  1. Listen
  2. Raise your hand if you want to say or ask me (or others) a question
  3. Pick up any trash you see on the floor
  4. Wash your hands with *soap* and water
  5. Smile 🙂

Unofficial classroom rule: Sit on the yellow line.

One student cried out loud during an English lesson because another student had reached over and wrote her name on a different line than the student had. Another berry did not want to sit on the yellow line legs folded. We have always practiced doing this together since the first day of school in September.
“WAHH!” cried one student.
Others crouched down and spun their small bodies around in a circle instead.
If I had it my way students’ would focus on the lesson. I wanted to help them release their jitters and refocus. On the afternoon of that Friday, we managed to do just that.
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The aftermath of the “Crush and Crumble” exercise displayed on our classroom board. Photo credit: Teacher Alula

Typically, in the small circle fashion, I pass one item to either of the students sitting next to me. The student follows and passes that item to his neighbor. This technique helps every student use some of their senses (touch, sight, and smell) and practice key vocabulary words or phrases.
With a single page pulled out from a Chinese Mandarin newspaper, I folded the long page into the smallest ball that.  Students’ were also encouraged to use muscles in both of their hands to fold the newspaper into a ball.
With every crush and crumble the newspaper began to alter in size and appearance. “Squeeze, SQUEEZEEEEE,” I said. One student, who will remain anonymous on the blog, (even though I love her and would like to give her credit for this brilliant technique) began stomping on the paper ball. She used her feet as much as her hands to crumble the paper. We enjoyed the activity.
It was a great way to release excitement and for me to regain control of the class.
P.S. We thank everyone who visited our classroom and school!
-Tr. Alula