Who’s Worthless Wanda?

I recently mapped out a plan for a self-care class. (Summary: take stock of how full our plates are by mapping it on paper plates, and create a self-care plan by filling our cups with suggestions that appeal to us as we move from self-care stations associated with the dimensions of wellness.)

Yesterday was the execution. (Is it just me or do the words self-care and execution not really go together?)

Since it’s ExperimenThursday, it’s only fitting I report back as to the results of my idea.

The class began with a 30 minute lesson on self-care as well as an orientation to the virtual and in-class stations. This was followed by a 45 minute workshop by Catherine, Cambrian’s Wellness Coordinator, about taming our inner critics. Hers is named Todd.

Mine is Worthless Wanda, as you may have noticed sobbing at the top of this post.

The idea is that by externalizing our inner critics and poking fun at them, we take our power back and as a result, the Todd’s and Wanda’s of the world become less powerful.

Catherine provided the class with mini magnetized canvases and markers to work on throughout her inner critic taming tips. (Because I have synchronous and asynchronous students, I emailed them ahead of time letting them know what to have ready for our self-care class. Anyone needing supplies, The Dollar Tree sells everything for $1.25 or less, staying the most true to the original concept.)

This was followed by a break which allowed me time to finish setting up the in-class stations which I had started on prior to class.

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Here’s the spiritual station fully equipped with mandalas and markers to allow students to experiment with finding a place of inner peace and calm. I also found a site that allows you to colour in mandalas online which was featured on the Padlet, along with an assortment of other suggestions. The stations were colour coordinated, hence the strips of purple card stock. This allowed students to write down any of the spiritual wellness ideas they enjoyed and add it to their cup (AKA their self-care plan).

Synchronous students were paired up in a virtual breakout room where they could communicate with one another with audio and video. I was on standby to provide support via the chat function as they worked through the virtual stations featured on the Padlet. Check out me being all techie:

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The seating areas at each station also allowed in-class students a space to try out virtual suggestions. I scurried from station to station, providing guidance and snapping photos for our class yearbook.

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To encourage community building between all students, I created two first aid kits for mental health for giveaways. Certain virtual stations earned students a ballot for the draw. The draw won’t occur until next week to allow asynchronous students time to fill their cups.

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One of the various ways to earn a ballot was to post a photo of your filled cup at the end. I added a cup decorating station which the students fully embraced, as demonstrated below.

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We reconvened as a group for the last 15 minutes of class, doing a quick debrief and then a Kahoot quiz review. This left me only a few minutes to scramble to pack up all the stations before the next class entered, which brings me to Lessons Learned:

– Schedule time to clean-up or incorporate cleaning up as part of student responsibilities

– Don’t have a quiz review afterwards.

– Schedule more time to debrief. In fact, map out the entire class schedule differently. Shorten the previous class topic and replace the second half with the self-care lesson and inner critic workshop. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if the students would like the self-care stations so I tried to build them into the class as just one component as opposed to the main attraction. The feedback I got was, “classes with you should be 5 hours.” I’ll take that as well received.

– Provide a sample of the completed plate and a completed cup while orienting students before the activity begins so they have a clear idea of what is about to unfold. Just because I see it clearly in my mind’s eye, doesn’t mean they do too.

For anyone itching to check out the virtual stations, have at it!

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