December 12, 2016

Sweet Dreams

"I've been falling asleep in class.
I'm scared to sleep at night because I don't have sweet dreams."

Here are four ways I attempted to fix that for my sweet, sleepy little third grader:

Sweet Dreams Foldable

I print this poster for students to keep somewhere near their bed. I ask them to look at it before they go to sleep and mentally check off each step. Once they’ve checked off everything on their list and are ready for a good night’s sleep, they relax their mind and focus on the positive.

The poster has five tips that spell out SWEET:
Sounds that are pleasant
Way cozy setting
Environment for happy dreams
Eat well
Talk it through

By following these five tips, students will increase their chances of having sweet dreams all night.

After I’ve discussed the tips on the poster, I dive deeper into each tip by using the foldable activity. The foldable is quick and easy. It also is only one piece of paper with double sided printing. Making copies isn’t a pain!
It downloads in a black and white version making this foldable a fun coloring/calming activity as well. I like to take advantage of the time it takes to color the cover to get to know my student better. Coloring makes establishing that connection and then sliding into the real issues much easier for all of us.

This foldable is also neat because it has students think deeply about how to incorporate the new behaviors outlined on the poster into their everyday life. By answering questions, drawing pictures and imagining themselves sleeping peacefully, students learn how to create a positive sleep environment for themselves.

Setting the stage for sweet dreams will hopefully lead to sweet dreams.

The foldable is easy. I have students cut off the excess border, fold the page in half with the cover facing out and then cut slits on the dotted lines freeing the separate sections and creating five separate flaps.


Examples: Under the Sounds that are pleasant flap, it asks:
1)    What pleasant sounds do you think would put you to sleep?
2)  Draw yourself sleeping peacefully.
Under the Way cozy setting flap, it asks:
1)    Draw yourself cozy and ready for sweet dreams.
2)  How do you get way cozy and ready for good sleep?

Each flap has the student imagine themselves sleeping well and having sweet dreams throughout the night. A positive mindset and calming environment are half the battle.

Dream Trappers and Dream Creators
This one is great for students who come to school a little rattled from a bad dream the night before. It’s a quick fix that lets students move on from the dream and get back to focusing in class.

Students follow the printed steps to create each of the two parts to this activity. I like to have students start by creating the dream trapper. I like to get rid of the negative as quick as possible and end every lesson on a positive note. Therefore I start with the dream trapper and end with the dream creator.

After I single side print both the dream trapper and the dream creator, I set the dream creator to the side. The first paragraph of each page lets students know whether they are using the dream trapper or dream catcher. Once they identify the differences, I have the student focus solely on the dream trapper, setting the dream creator to the side.

Students start by writing down their bad dream/nightmare on the inside of the trapper and then cutting out the entire shape.

Cut out the entire shape, creating a flower like object.  

Fold the flaps inwards, trapping the dream. 

Write a note to the dreams to go away.

When ready, tear the dream trapper to pieces, destroying the dream forever. 

We then move on to the dream creator. I ask students to think about what kind of dreams they would like to have instead.

We follow the same steps we did to create the dream trapper, except this time we decorate. 

In the end, instead of tearing it up, the student takes it home and places it under their pillow to create the best dreams possible. 

Dream Catcher Activity
Ancient legend says that a dreamcatcher has the power to trap bad dreams for eternity while passing good dreams straight into your sleep cycle.

When placed above our beds while sleeping, it is thought that dreamcatchers catch our floating dreams. The good dreams, the bad dreams, the unmemorable dreams, even the scary dreams; the dreamcatcher can trap.

Students can decorate and design their very own dreamcatcher to promote good dreams and catch and trap scary dreams.

The good dreams are caught in the dreamcatcher’s web and then slide down into the feathers. From there, the dream is sent straight into our dream lineup to create similar dreams in the future.

Bad, scary or unpleasant dreams get stuck in the dreamcatcher's web never to be dreamt again. 

Hang your dreamcatcher above your bed to increase your chances of sweet dreams.

Sleep well my friend.

Write a Letter Activity
This writing activity is a therapeutic way for students to let go of their bad dreams/nightmares and the associated feelings.

Assembly is easy. All you need to do is grab some crayons, glue and scissors.

Double side print the letter and envelope template. Cut apart to free the pieces. 

Fold on dotted lines and follow the included simple assembly instructions to create the envelope.

Fold to create flaps. 
 Fold over, glue front to flaps
Finish creating envelope!

Once assembled, write the letter, place inside envelope and use glue to seal envelope shut.

For added affect, place letter in mailbox to "mail" it to the Dream Processing Center.

I am not licensed to do any type of intense dream therapy and do not have the time or skills to help students get to the deep seeded root of their bad dreams or nightmares. I can however be there the next morning to help them pick up the pieces so they are able to get back to class and be able to focus on learning. These four activities have helped me, to help my students, successfully do just that.

Download your own copy of Sweet Dreams HERE! 

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