Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mindfulness in the Classroom - Tried It Tuesday

I'm linking up with my BBB Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday! This year I've been studying mindfulness and mindset. As part of this I've been leading my class in a combination of breathing exercises and narrated meditations each day. 

We have a random little 6-7 minute block of time between the end of math and the beginning of lunch. Each day I found my kids coming back from math (we switch) and not using that time to the fullest. It's barely enough time to get into a read-aloud, and not enough time to do a full morning meeting or anything, so I decided to designate it as a time for mindfulness. The kids come in, we sit in a circle on the carpet (I join them on the floor), I ask them to get into their mindful bodies...find their "sitting bones" and then I invite them to close their eyes and listen to me guide them through the activity of the day.

I have used this old tried and true resource called "The Centering Book" as a source for many of the meditation activities I've done this year. The book is out of print, but can be bought on Amazon pretty cheaply. While not all of the activities are necessarily great to carry out in the classroom, the vast majority of them have been usable and very successful. As time has gone on I've even had some of my hold outs that were "too cool" join the group and play along. 

Dr. Peter rings the tibetan singing bowl for the kids to
practice their mindfulness listening.
And there's even cooler news! As part of the my studies with Mindfulness, my principal was able to get the services of a therapist who specializes in teaching mindfulness techniques to children to come and work with some kids in our school. 

Dr. Peter Montminy will be visiting four lucky classrooms for 15 minutes, twice a week, for the next several months to guide our students even further in becoming more mindful! I think I've been doing a good job of introducing mindfulness and centering activities to my kids, but there's nothing like a guest speaker to get kids engaged! And having a real life expert come in and tell your kiddos the very things you've been saying never hurts either! Now they know there's some credibility to what we've been doing beyond just what they've felt about it.

And that's the most important part. When we hosted a parent night recently to inform parents about what we're doing with mindfulness, meditation, and centering I couldn't help but overhear a dad whisper to his wife, "This is bull&%!$."  He wasn't sold on it, clearly. And even I have to admit that I sometimes wonder if it looks silly to have a 6'1", 230 pound man sitting on the floor in a circle of kids talking about mindful breathing, yoga poses, our anchor points, etc. 

But these activities have helped my kids! They can sit and center themselves now whenever they need to. They do it at home. They do it at lunch and recess. They do it before we have our read-aloud. They can do it anytime they feel stressed or need to feel grounded. And with our big state tests on the horizon, I have a feeling they'll be putting some of these skills to use soon!

If you haven't tried centering activities with your kids before, give it a shot! You never know! Like I shared about before, GoNoodle has some cool mindfulness stuff and is a great way to get started with that!


  1. I think mindfulness in the classroom is going to be the next big thing. Our guidance counselor does something called "heart shift" with the students and they love it!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  2. This is awesome that you are doing this with your kids and I'm loving the fact that you have a professional coming in to visit with the kids. They truly do respond so well to guest speakers! The fact that you get down on the floor with the kids makes this post that much better! You rock!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. I love how you have a real-life expert coming in to talk to the students! I'm going to try GoNoodle starting this week too. Thanks for linking up, BBB! :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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