Time and mood
by Gordon Lamont
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To think about how our moods and attention span change through the day and how we can manage this.
Preparation and materials
- Together, the BBC School Radio assembly programme, has produced a series featuring stories, music and reflections on the theme of lifecycles, including topics relevant to this assembly. They are going live throughout January and can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03g64pp
- Prepare some toast or a bowl of porridge or cereal to carry with you at the beginning of the assembly.
- Choose some relaxing music and have the means to play it as the children leave at the end of the assembly.
- Enter the assembly space absent-mindedly carrying the toast or bowl of porridge or cereal and take a mouthful. Then look up, as if realizing your mistake and apologize for your rudeness. Say that it won’t happen again, but, ‘I just find it so hard to get up in the morning.’
- Put down your breakfast and ask the children, ‘Who else finds it difficult to get up in the morning?’ Ask for some examples of how the children wake up – do they have an alarm clock or alarm on their phone? Do they ever sleep through? Do they get called with, ‘Time to get up’ or ‘Get a move on’ and so on – perhaps more than once?
Also ask about those who find it easier to get up.
- Listen carefully to the responses then change your mood and become irritable, saying something like, ‘Yes, yes all very interesting but we must get on. Important things to do.’ Say this in an exaggerated comic fashion so that it is not too ‘real’ and possibly off-putting. Then apologize for your mood and explain that it must be because you’re hungry, having not eaten properly. Ask if anyone else notices that their moods change during the day – perhaps just before lunch or earlier if they haven’t eaten a proper breakfast.
Note that you could give a plug for the school breakfast club here if you have one.
- Broaden the discussion briefly to look at moods throughout the day, such as tiredness after lunch, feeling tense about doing homework or feeling lively at bedtime.
Stress that, when it comes to moods and levels of energy, everyone is different – we each react individually throughout the day. Explain that you’re going to give some tips for managing moods next, asking everyone to listen carefully (with the option to close their eyes if this is your usual approach).
Time for reflection
Think for a few moments about your daily moods. How energetic do you feel in the morning, around lunchtime, in the afternoon and in the evening?
Do you feel less happy and helpful at some times of the day?
Now that you’ve started thinking about how we’re all different and respond in our own ways to different times of the day, maybe that makes it easier to understand times when other people are perhaps less helpful than you’d like them to be . . .
. . . and can you start to think about how your own moods might be affected by the time of day? Perhaps when you’re feeling grumpy you can say to yourself, ‘It’s just because I’m hungry’ and, if you’re feeling anxious, it can help to say, ‘I sometimes feel worried at this time of day, but I know I’ll feel better later’?
Play chosen relaxing music.