Combating Zoom Fatigue: Challenges with Online Learning
Lately, I’ve been hearing from teachers and parents about their struggles with increased stress, uncertainty, and the challenges of virtual learning.
I love sharing self-healing and wellness resources, so when I heard about the work of music teacher Helen Chan I wanted to spread the word. Helen has been helping teachers and their students in creative ways through the power of music.
In this post, you’ll discover:
- a free resource for teachers to use with their students, and parents with their kids
- 10+ ideas for music appreciation & integration activities
- a powerful way to increase emotional intelligence
- a calming tool for stress relief (even if you aren’t a teacher or parent)
- a way to raise the positive vibration and frequency of your physical space
- an easy way to meditate, especially if you find meditation difficult
- how this resource connects to trees and helping our beautiful planet
Music Teacher Helen Chan
Helen is a teacher in Toronto, Canada with 15+ years of experience teaching at six different schools. Her teaching specialty is music, and also includes conducting numerous choir performances. As a member of a teachers’ forum on Facebook, she started thinking about ways she could help her fellow teachers. Reading about their increased difficulties, frustrations, and challenges, she wanted to offer a way to support their well-being and mental health, as well as help them by developing a pedagogy for them to use with their students.
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and she was asked to create a unit for virtual teachers in the Toronto District School Board. Helen has offered to donate her time to work with any teachers who are interested.
Here’s my interview with Helen:
A Powerful Healing Song: Love, Peace, Harmony
In January 2020, Helen began using a beautiful healing song, “Love, Peace, Harmony;” first with her choir, and later with the rest of her school. In the fall she started teaching virtually, but this didn’t stop her from using the song in her teaching.
She wanted to share this resource and started with the teachers that she personally knew and had developed friendships with over her many years of teaching. Word quickly spread as teachers are always looking for creative ideas to use in their classrooms, especially now with the pandemic and the increase in virtual learning and Zoom fatigue. Through the Facebook teachers’ forum, she started working with different teachers ranging from Kindergarten through Grade 8. She’s hoping to work with high school teachers as well.
Teaching virtually allowed her to jump into as many classes as she could to teach “Love, Peace, Harmony.” Geography didn’t matter as long as the teachers had internet access and were willing to host a guest performer to sing the song. The performances and teaching process has gone smoothly.
Virtual Music Appreciation Presentation
Helen’s 15-minute Love, Peace, Harmony Music Presentation includes:
An Introduction to the Song: She explains that this is a healing song and tool to send love and to help students center themselves. She also shares how this song has helped with her own stress.
A Daily Tool: She shares an example of how her students listen to the song daily to help them feel peaceful and calm. At 11:11am every day her students make a wish sending lots of love, peace, and harmony, to themselves, their friends, their family, to everyone and everything around the world.
Singing Together: The class sings the “Love, Peace, Harmony” song for 10 minutes.
She sings this calming song in four different ways:
- With her warm-up voice
- In English
- In Chinese (Mandarin)
- In Hindi
Helen offers further suggestions to strengthen the pedagogy. (Note: these vary depending on grade level.)
Music Appreciation Activity: After students listen to the song they answer 3 questions:
–What instruments do you hear?
–When you close your eyes what images do you see?
–How do you feel?
Q&A: The last 5 minutes of the presentation allows students to ask questions and offer their feedback and experience of the song.
Translations: After her presentation, students can also ask their teacher for the translation of the song in the language they speak at home, and Helen will provide the lyrics for them. To date, the song has been translated into 51 languages. Having students connect to the song in their native language helps them have a deeper connection to the song. (If there isn’t a translation, she is willing to work with students to create one.)
Daily Stress Relief: Students can use this simple tool for stress relief. Helen asks them to imagine how they might feel listening to it every day, or listening to it at home, and how everyone in their household might feel as a result.
Making a Wish: Helen asks the students to make a wish using her YouTube channel and explains that miracles can happen if they believe.
51 Languages: To date, the song has been translated into 51 languages: Love Peace Harmony translations. Here’s the song in English:
I love my heart and soul
I love all humanity
Join hearts and souls together
Love, peace and harmony
Love, peace and harmony
Integration: Love, Peace, Harmony Project
In many ways, the pressure on teachers to fulfill curriculum requirements has been amplified. As a teacher, Helen recognizes the importance of integration to save time on planning, and in this way, this presentation can become a Love, Peace, Harmony Project, fulfilling many requirements at once, such as music, art, writing, math, etc.
Depending on the grade level, integration and music appreciation exercises could include:
- A written response about how students felt when listening and singing the song
- A drama, acting out what students saw or imagined when listening to the song
- An art exercise, using color and images to express the song
- A dance, expressing through movement how the song makes them feel
- Find dance moves from TikTok or YouTube that demonstrate Love, Peace and Harmony
- Examine facial expressions and gestures from fellow students that demonstrate Love, Peace and Harmony
- A recording, where students record themselves singing the song and send it to their teacher to be marked for their music mark
- A survey, completing it each day after listening to the song and doing an analysis of the survey for a data management unit for Math
- Reflect on a time when the student experienced love, peace and harmony
- Write a biography of another person who has demonstrated love, peace and harmony in society
Helen created an anonymous assessment, or survey, for the kids to use. Again, she’s able to easily integrate this music presentation with other curriculum requirements.
Students are asked to rate how peaceful, how loving, how harmonious they feel after listening to the song. She also includes a space for additional comments, and is able to get more detailed feedback than what she often hears during class after students listen to the song (often in class students simply say they feel good). With this extra space and time, students share feedback such as:
“This is such an amazing, calming song. Thank you so much.”
“I had a stomach ache and now it’s gone.”
Even the older kids in grades 7 & 8 remarked on how calm and peaceful they felt after listening to this song.
After a month or two Helen has data to analyze this unit in her teaching.
Through the Love Peace Harmony Project, students are able to learn how to be more in touch with their emotions, how they’re feeling, and how they can quickly change how they feel. This is a powerful skill set and tool they can use to help them in all aspects of their lives.
Teacher feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Not only is it difficult to sing together and express ourselves through music during the pandemic, there’s the added difficulty of including music in the online curriculum.
Many teachers have said it’s such a beautiful song and they plan to play it more.
One teacher recently contacted Helen asking for the Love, Peace, Harmony website so she could make wishes with her students and explore the song more with them.
Another teacher on Helen’s grade 4 team has no musical background. After Helen’s music presentation, the teacher used the song as a music mark, asking the students to record themselves singing the song on Flipgrid and send it to her.
This teacher had been putting a lot of pressure on herself to fulfill the curriculum requirements. Since listening to the song and starting to meditate, she finds she’s able to go with the flow more and says she feels much more relaxed. She’s expressed her gratitude to have worked with Helen and found this self-care tool. This teacher has integrated the song into her daily schedule and her class listens to the song every day–it’s become part of their Well-Being Time. They feel more calm and at peace.
Beyond the Classroom
I’ve been recommending the Love, Peace, Harmony song to clients for several years as a form of sound healing or a healing mantra. Before the pandemic, one client, a first-year teacher, shared how much she loved playing it in her classroom:
I love the Love, Peace, Harmony song! Some of my coworkers have come into my class and said ” it feels good in here”. It feels very homey. My classroom has become “the place to be.” Teachers and staff stop by my room to get advice, tips, or just to hang out and get extra support. People think I “have it together” and always ask what I’m doing so they can do it in their classroom with their students.
One of my students who has autism said she ” feels comfortable here” while I was being observed! It made my day. My students don’t want to go home sometimes at the end of the day. Thank you! –Jahnesha Tinsley H.S. teacher Bronx, NY
Additional Resources for Teachers, Parents, Kids, (& Everyone Else)
- Download the song for free and/or download the free app for your phone.
- Love Peace Harmony PDF in 51 Languages
- Love Peace Harmony Foundation’s YouTube Channel (hear the song in 51 languages and more)
- Helen’s YouTube channel where you can hear her singing the song.
- This Love Peace Harmony Room was created by a meditation teacher Helen works with. You can make a wish, meditate, or sing along. See how you feel after listening and/or meditating for 3-5 minutes. (I love having it on in the background when I’m working on the computer.)
- Love Peace Harmony Foundation’s Plant a Million trees project.
Spread Love, Peace, Harmony to Teachers & Parents You Know
The Love, Peace, Harmony song can be used in many ways: for physical, concrete issues like a stomach ache, for mental/emotional well-being like the teacher’s stress, described above, and for meditation as a healing mantra or a way to foster a greater sense of community.
Do you know a teacher who might be interested? Share this. Helen is donating her time to support as many teachers and students as possible. You can reach out to her at hchan2[at]gmail.com or reach out to me and I can connect you.
Help spread more love, more peace, and more harmony.