20 Tips for a C.A.L.M. Classroom Using Mindfulness & Social-Emotional Learning


In the midst of back to school (or whatever that means to you) I just wanted to offer you a little sneak peek into last week’s workshop on mindfulness and social-emotional learning for teachers.: Creating a C.A.L.M. Classroom for You and Your students.   

If you are in need of a simple framework that you can try to help build relationships, move content learning forward, find a little space to breathe, create a consistent routine for you and your students AND provide them with tools for practicing mindfulness all while building in social-emotional learning to your already full schedule then look no further than this post!  

I have you covered.


Just so that I can make sure I give a shout out to where this stemmed from.  The C.A.L.M. classroom framework was inspired by CASEL’s SEL Signature Playbook, UPenn’s B.D.A. framework (found in the book The Plainer Truths of Teaching and Learning) and Teaching Well’s work with bringing mindful moments to the classroom.  Check this out of one of the most comprehensive resources.

What is the C.A.L.M. Classroom?

It’s a classroom organized into four distinct sections encouraging opportunities for teachers to integrate mindfulness and social-emotional learning touch points and check ins throughout your class AND/OR your school day:

C-Caring Openings

A-Actions Throughout

L-Last Thoughts

M-In the Moment

{C}aring Openings

What are caring openings?

  • Provide time at the start of each class period for a brief check-in, settle-in, or community building activity
  • The daily routine or ritual provides you and your students with clear expectations and a chance to pause before beginning

5 ways to provide caring openings

  • Weather “check”
  • Do now/warm ups/bell ringers
  • Silent sixty
  • Start with a song 
  • Share a photo or image
  • Listening practice

{A}ctions Throughout

What do actions throughout look like?

  • Interactive and reflective practices throughout that serve as check-ins for students (and teachers).
  • Can be anchored to content OR implemented at certain transition times.
  • Deliberately using a variety will help reach most students on most days.

5 ways to provide actions throughout

  • Think, Ink, Pair, Share 
  • Partner discussions & large group share 
  • Individual think time (deliberate wait time)
  • Brain breaks
  • Mindful transitions

{L}ast Thoughts

What are last thoughts?

  • Close each class or school day in an intentional way.
  • Highlights individual or shared understanding.
  • Can be next steps or future goals.
  • Can create connections or ask questi

5 ways to create reflective last thoughts

Use last thought sentence stems…(or pictures to draw)

  • Something I learned today… 
  • I am curious about… 
  • I am looking forward to tomorrow because… 
  • Something I’ll do next… 
  • Something I still question… 

In the {M}oment

What does in the moment mean?

Mindfulness practices that can be done quickly and discreetly… 

  • When we feel a certain emotional response (during class or day).
  • When we notice our students need a reset.
  • During pre-planned times in our schedule.

5 ways to be in the moment

Take 3 breaths

Find time to ground and center

Become aware of your breath

Do a body scan

Extend caring practice to yourself and other

I know this was a lot, but I KNOW it’s not new.   I wanted to get it to you all to at once so that you can choose how to create this C.A.L.M. framework in your own classroom, whether in person, hybrid or virtual.

If you missed Teaching Well’s Workshop Creating a C.A.L.M. Classroom for You and Your Students, register here for the replay.


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