Our Mindful Classroom
You may have heard your child mention to you some things that we've done in our classroom this year that go beyond what we are learning about reading, writing, or math. This year, we are focusing more of our attention (pun intended!) on mindfulness, and incorporating aspects of mindfulness into each day when we come to the resource room. None of the mindful activities take much time away from the academic content of what we are learning. In fact, spending a few minutes practicing mindfulness helps us to focus better, and makes us ready to listen and learn! (Notice that I am using the pronoun "we." Mindfulness is not just for the kids, it helps me be a better teacher, and a better person too!)
As the students enter the class, each one is greeted individually. They do a check-in with how they are feeling that day, and move a stick with their name on it into a pocket that lists several possible feelings they might be experiencing. This helps them to notice their emotional state, and also for me to be aware of how they are feeling at that time.
Each day of the week we do a different mindful activity. On Monday, we sit in stillness and listen to a short mindful meditation from the "Just Breathe for Kids" app. On Tuesday, we sit quietly and mindfully color a mandala for five minutes. On Wednesday, we practice different types of breathing activities. On Thursdays, we write for five minutes in our gratitude journals about a specific prompt or about something we feel grateful for today. On Fridays, we practice yoga for about 15 minutes. Our yoga practice includes breathing, stretching, strengthening, and relaxation. The students now choose the different poses and activities they want to include each week.
Often while we are working independently in class, we will turn off the flourescent lights and play calming music to help us relax and focus. All of the activities we do here are offered to give the students tools and strategies that they can use throughout the day, and throughout their lives, to help them to focus, be calm, and relieve anxiety. I have witnessed the difference that it has made in the students throughout the year, and I hope they will remember the different things that work best for them, and use them in their daily lives.
If you have any questions, or are interested in resources that you can use at home, don't hesitiate to reach out to me. I would love to share!