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Classroom Activities that Apply Mindfulness

Janelle Cox

The mindful classroom is a place where students are living in the moment and in control of their thoughts. It’s a place where students think before they act and use their mind to communicate how they feel. The mindful classroom is compassionate, kind, and uses mindfulness to cultivate a calm and peaceful learning environment. If this is the kind of classroom that you want to have, all you have to do is apply classroom activities involving mindfulness into your daily schedule.

The human brain is a very powerful tool, and oftentimes when we get stressed out, our brain turns into the flight or fight response. Mindfulness can help reduce this stress and regulate your emotions. School can be a very stressful place for children, academically as well as socially. By applying mindfulness, we are giving students the tools to reduce their stress, improve their focus, and overall enhance their learning and behavior in the classroom. Here a few mindful classroom activities that you can do with your students to help them stay in moment.

Mindful Classroom Activities

There are a variety of mindful classroom activities that you can do throughout the day with your students. Here are a few to try.

Using Your Breath

Your breath is a very powerful tool and an easy way to bring your awareness into the present moment is to practice breathing. Students can use this simple technique throughout the school day to help them relax and stay calm. Here’s how to get started.

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  • Have students sit comfortably in a chair with their feet grounded on the floor and their hands rested on their thighs.
  • Direct students to sit tall and let their spine grow tall, but make sure that their shoulders drop down.
  • Tell students to take a moment and notice how their body feels. Have them pay attention to their breath and the way that they breathe naturally. Have them notice each inhale and exhale coming in and out of their body.
  • Encourage students to direct their attention back to their breath every time their mind wanders.
  • If students have a hard time concentrating on their breath, then they can count each inhale and exhale up the number 10 and then keep starting over. This will help them keep attention to their breathing.

Have students do this mindful breathing activity for about five minutes each day.

Using Your Body

It well known that exercise is one way to release endorphins and reduce anxiety. Simply going on a walk can help clear your mind and make you feel calmer. Here is a simple activity that helps students stay in the moment by focusing on sounds that they hear outside.

  • Take students on a walk around the school campus and have them mentally count each sound that they hear. They may hear their feet on the pavement, a bird chirping, a car going by, or even the sound of their pants swooshing against each other.
  • Be sure to note that this is a non-competitive activity. Once you get back from your walk discuss all the different sounds that students heard. They will be shocked by how many sounds that you can hear when you are only focusing on one thing.

Mindful Communication

Oftentimes when students are in school all day, they can get quite annoyed with one another. Something as little as a student tapping their pencil can set another student into a frenzy. This is where learning mindful communication comes in. Here is a simple way to teach students to communicate mindfully.

  • Tell students it’s perfectly normal to get annoyed with their peers. It’s the way that they react is what is important. Instead of thinking about how annoyed they are that their classmates is constantly tapping their pencil, they can think about what they need from that student to make them feel less annoyed.
  • Direct students to think about what they can say to the person that is tapping their pencil. For instance, they can say “Your tapping is making it very hard for me to concentrate on what I am doing, can you please stop, thank you.”
  • By mindfully communicating what you need to feel less annoyed you will be less annoyed.

By applying mindful activities into your classroom, you are giving your students the tools that will help them learn to be in the moment, and control their thoughts. After much practice you will find that the benefits of mindfulness will not only keep students calm, help them communicate effectively, but also improve their academic performance.  With all of these amazing benefits it’s no wonder why so many teachers are applying mindfulness into their daily activities.

How do you apply mindfulness into your classroom? Do you have any activities that you would like to share? Feel free to comment your ideas below, we would love to hear them!

 Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the elementary education expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or visit her website at Empoweringk6educators.

Source: Mindfulteachers.org 

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