Think about it. Have you ever wondered:
- What was I coming into this room to get?
- What streets did I take to get here?
- What did he just say?
These are scenarios that most of us can relate to. They are all examples of situations where our mind was, well for a lack of a better word, somewhere else. It was not in the present moment. Our mind was full, but not "Mindful."
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being present in the moment and paying attention to the here and now. It sounds like a wonderful concept, but for most of us it's easier said than done, right?
What are Some Obstacles that get in the Way of Us Being Mindful?
- Stress and Anxiety
However, we are still responsible for these students' education. So what can we do? Introduce the concept of "Mindfulness" to your students. How can that help?
Teaching Mindfulness Techniques Can Have Benefits Such as:
- Decreasing Stress and Anxiety
- Improving Health
- Getting Better Sleep
- Becoming More Focus and Awareness
- Developing Better Problem Solving Skills
- Improving Impulse Control
- Nurturing More Compassion and Kindness
Some Mindfulness Techniques to Offer Your Class as a Whole:
- Meditation (You may use videos such provided by Go Zen! or GoNoodle)
- Listen to Soft Calming Music
- Journaling (Ex. Gratitude Journal, List Things You See or Hear...)
- Gazing out the Window or at a Picture
- Create a Drawing
(This picture was found on Pinterest with no landing page, but serves as ideas for quick draws.)
Some Other Mindfulness Techniques Students can use Individually:
- Go for a Mindful Walk
- Play with Play-Doh or a Stress Ball
Squeeze the Play-Doh or stress ball in your hand slowly until you are squeezing it tightly. Hold it tightly for three seconds and then slowly begin to release your grip. Watch as the shape of the object changes. Focus on your muscles tightening and releasing.
- Pick up a Sensory Water Bottle and Observe It
Grab a sensory water bottle (should container water and glitter) and shake it softly. Place it on a table and watch the glitter slowly make its way down to the bottom of the bottle.
- Grab a Minute Timer and Watch the Sand Descend
Grab a sand timer, flip it, and watch the sand descend into the bottom half.
These various techniques should be introduced to students in an introductory lesson. There are various follow-up activities the class can participate in to help students best understand what their options are if, and when, they feel unfocused or distressed.
Various Mindfulness Reference Activities Students can Do After Brainstorming Techniques:
- Draw a Mindful Picture with Techniques Shown
- Make a List in a Journal
- Make a Flip Book
- Write Top Five Options on an Index Card to Place in a Binder
- Complete a Class Anchor Chart
Which ever follow-up activity you select, it should result in a resource that students can refer back to when they need some time to refocus themselves into the present moment.
Books You Can Use in the Classroom to Support Mindfulness:
Hopefully, this post has given you some new ideas you can implement with your students, or yourself (hey, we ALL need some time to refocus every now and then), in order to get them to be more focused in the "here and now," which in turn will result in better information retention from your students.
If you would like a resource that students could use to record notes or activity ideas, you may download the FREE resource below by clicking on the image.
To get more information on Mindfulness, follow my Pinterest board below. I will continue to post great articles, books, and videos I find related to this topic.
Do you see "Mindfulness" benefitting the students in your classroom? Do you plan to integrate some of these techniques this coming school year? If so, I'd love to read your plans for implementation below.