[caption id="attachment_10598" align="alignnone" width="756"] Targeting the skills within self management and social skills, this bundle offers collaborative activities to develop these crucial skills.[/caption]
Establish A Mindfulness Routine We practice at the same time everyday. My students know that when they come in from first break (recess), the lights to the classroom are off and they will automatically find their place. Some choose to sit in their seat, some move their chairs to face a window or wall, others choose to lay down on the floor. A student is responsible for putting the “Shhh, Mindfulness in Progress” sign on the door. We have established this practice as an important part of our learning day.
There is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness. My students are learning what is right for them. They are learning to make choices for themselves and their well-being. As long as we are all being respectful of each other, most choices for how to practice are allowed. The students are then guided through a mindfulness meditation or guided visualization. It can be anywhere from 5-8 minutes. Afterwards, we have a brief reflection session. The reflection is as, if not more, important than the practice itself. Here’s why: When our students get the chance to practice putting words to their feelings and emotions, these feelings and emotions become more manageable, especially in times of stress. In the words of Dr. Dan Seigel, author of the book The Whole Brain Child, “You gotta name it, to tame it.”
When our students get the chance to practice putting words to their feelings and emotions, these feelings and emotions become more manageable, especially in times of stress.
Real Student Stories Across the years, I have had many instances where the children have been struggling with one form of another. For example: I have had a student in my class who was having difficulties managing their emotions and found it especially difficult to maintain control when angry. This often resulted in ripping up work, yelling at friends, and refusing to participate in classroom activities. This came to a pinnacle when this child was involved in a conflict with another student on the football pitch. All signs of raised emotion were visible: red in the face, fists clenched in anger and all round tension. Thanks to our classroom mindfulness practice, this student had some tools and strategies to help to calm down. Once calm, we were able to discuss what had happened. In the end, this child was able to shake hands with the other student, apologize for their behaviour and graciously accepted the apology of the other student. The icing on the ckae was when this student walked over to our classroom Feelings poster and quietly said, “I feel proud”. This child, who had struggled with these emotions, was able to:
Another example you may be able to relate to: After a short Self Compassion practice, a 9 year old student reflected that they found the practice difficult. When I asked why and to go deeper, they explained that that morning they had been in a fight with a younger sibling and thus found it challenging to show self-compassion. This student identified the feeling “guilty”. This kind of self awareness and ability to recognize their own emotions is at a level of maturity that many struggle to obtain, certainly as teenagers and even as adults. This child was able to:
Reflection? How do they share and document? Photos of reflections in journals and other ways (from my classroom resource) These resources can be found in my 14 Week Mindful Classroom Program. This is an incredible tool for any classroom, enabling teachers to effortlessly bring the practice of mindfulness to their students. I have so many wonderful stories of student’s reflections, emotional growth and perseverance, and I keep them all written down as evidence that amazing practice works. Interestingly, and maybe unsurprisingly, the children who seem to benefit most from the practice are those who are most resistant to it. I have a feeling it’s the same for adults. I would like to finish this article with one of my favourite quotes. It comes from John Kabat-Zinn, an American Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and founder of world-renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Clinic.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
For me, mindfulness is the surfboard. It’s what I hold on to when the waves come. Let’s empower our students and ourselves with tools and strategies so the next wave doesn’t knock us off our feet. If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness, and how a mindfulness practice can help you and your students, please consider joining my next Mindfulness for Teachers course.
Don't forget to watch this video with easy and practical ideas to implement into ANY classroom:Classroom-ready strategies for developing a mindfulness practice.[/caption]
Peace, Karen P.S. For more ideas and classroom ready techniques, follow Karen on Instagram @themindfulteacher.co