Research is increasingly demonstrating the powerful impacts of mindfulness, from improved focus to better sleep and reduced stress. Now more than ever, as students are increasingly stressed and anxious, teaching mindfulness in the classroom is invaluable. When students learn and practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation, mindful breathing, and body scans, this can help them thrive both in and outside of the classroom. This strategy supports teachers to embed mindfulness activities into the classroom culture to support students' social-emotional wellbeing.
Do some initial reading and research into mindfulness practices that can be used in the classroom.
If you do not already, consider building some regular mindfulness practices into your own life outside of the classroom, so that you can build your own expertise and experience to better support students. The resource section below includes a one-minute mindfulness activity that you can try right at your desk!
Decide how much time, and how often, to dedicate to students learning and practicing mindfulness. Even short "mindful moments" can give students the opportunity to pause and rest their minds.
Decide which mindfulness practices to introduce to students and how to prepare them for the activity.
Consider using a script or pre-made lesson, such as the lesson linked in the resource section below from Mindful Schools, to introduce the concept of mindfulness. For some students, the idea of focusing on breathing or being silent in a large group may initially make them uncomfortable, so it is important to roll out your mindfulness practices purposefully.
Engage in an initial mindfulness activity with students. See the resources section below for a wide variety of activities to try!
Before beginning, make it clear that mindfulness is a special time. Ask students to clear off desks, perhaps move to the carpet, or have all chairs face the front of the room. Ask students not to take bathroom breaks and refrain from talking and moving during the mindfulness acitivity.
Consider doing a short mindfulness activity the first time, such as a 3-minute guided body scan or 2-minute guided breathing. Then, build up to longer periods of mindfulness.
Continue practicing mindfulness in your classroom. Use the resources below to explore a variety of ways to embed mindfulness practices into students' lives.
There are a variety of great, free meditation apps and websites available.
Many of the apps provide guided meditation activities of a variety of lengths that can be easily played in the classroom for whole-class mindfulness activity. Alternatively, students can use headphones to independently complete one of the online meditation activities.
Although some apps and websites will charge for guided meditations, there are many available for free, so be sure to look around before paying for anything. See below for a few popular examples.
Class Dojo - Mindfulness
ClassDojo is a multi-faceted classroom management tool focused on reinforcing classroom expectations and communicating those expectations out with the individual student, class, and families.
Recently, ClassDojo has created a series of online activities to introduce students to mindfulness practices. Students begin by learning about the power of emotions, and then practice a variety of techniques - including mindful breathing and movement - to deal with those emotions.
In the development of this strategy, the following research was consulted: