As a special kickoff to the new school year, here’s a free guide to help integrate mindfulness into your classrooms for both you and your students! These exercises are for both you and your students, only take a few minutes and can be integrated into any classroom. Print out the free guide and put it somewhere in your room as a reminder!
Try these quick activities to create some mindful moments for yourself throughout your day.
At intermittent points throughout your day (like between classes), or when you feel emotions or tension starting to rise, simply take 3 breaths. This is a great way to get a little space between a stimulus and a potential reaction.
When you are standing in front of class, pay attention to how your feet feel on the ground. Really plug into being grounded and present in front of your class. Take a moment to pause and ground before getting started.
When you become aware of a stressful moment arising, bring awareness to your breath. Get curious about what is happening to your breath when you engage in these situations.
Between classes or during your *brief* lunch time, do a quick body scan checking in with any place you feel good or are holding tension. Try to notice those places that feel good and try to bring some awareness and relaxation to those places that are tense.
Throughout your day, repeat the following phrases to yourself:
May I enjoy well-being, happiness and peace.
As students walk into class, you navigate the hallways or pass a difficult colleague wish silently:
May you enjoy well-being, happiness and peace.
Want to give your students some opportunities to practice mindfulness?
Try these quick activities to give your students (and yourself) a few mindful moments.
Ask students to sit quietly and comfortably as you give them sixty seconds to reset and get ready for whatever you need them to do. This is a great (and easy) exercise to start class each day.
The Power of Listening
Ring a bell, a wind chime, or anything else that creates a long trailing sound. Ask each child to listen, and silently raise their hand when they can no longer hear the sound. After the ringing ends, ask the children to continue listening to any other sounds they can hear for the next minute. When the minute ends, go around the room asking everyone to tell you what sounds they heard.
The Seeing Game
Ask the children to spend one minute silently looking around the room. Their goal is to find things in the room that they’ve never noticed. Maybe there are some big things like a poster or a picture, or just little details like cracks in the ceiling or an interesting pattern on the door. After the minute is up ask the kids to share the most interesting new things they noticed.
Have the children sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Ask everyone to slowly breathe in through their nose, and then out through their pursed lips (as if they are blowing through a straw). Point out that the slow and steady breathing sounds like ocean waves, gently crashing on shore. Let the children continue breathing and making the ocean sound for one to two minutes.
One Minute for Good
Ask children to take a few deep breaths and invite them to put their heads down if that is more comfortable. For the next minute, ask the children to think about all of the things they are grateful for or all of the things that bring them happiness. They will literally be happiness generators as they think of all these happy thoughts. Remember that “neurons that fire together, wire together,” so this practice will give them practice focusing on the positive instead of the negative.