Education today is more complex than ever. Students are coming to school with a lot of baggage from home, and teachers are tasked with not only helping them learn the curriculum but also understanding why it matters and how it will help them in their future. In order to do this, teachers need all the tools they can get to keep their students engaged and interested. One great way to do that is with mindfulness activities in the classroom. When people think of mindfulness in education, they tend to think of it as something you sit and meditate on for 10 minutes at a time. But there are so many ways that teaching your students about mindfulness directly through your classrooms can have an amazing impact on their lives. Here are 10 creative ways you can bring mindfulness into the classroom today!
Teach your students breathing techniques for Mindfulness.
One of the simplest mindfulness techniques you can teach your students is a breathing exercise. If they are stressed out and have trouble focusing on the task at hand, having them sit and breathe deeply can help their bodies relax. This can be done any time the classroom gets too loud or chaotic. Another way to teach breathing techniques is to have your students use a breathing timer when they are doing homework. This timer can help them focus on the task at hand and know when it is time to take a break. Once they have learned how to breathe properly, these students will be better equipped to handle their emotions.
Have a simple gratitude corner.
If your students are experiencing a lot of stress at home and are bringing it to school with them, they may not have a positive outlook on the future. One way to counteract this is to create a simple gratitude corner in your classroom where your students can go and write down something they are grateful for. This can be as simple as having a cork board with post-its and a journal where your students can write down their thoughts and feelings. One study found that writing down three things that you are grateful for every week can increase your overall well-being.
EduMEE classes to help you motivate your child to love learning!
Discuss the science of mindfulness with your class.
One of the best ways to introduce mindfulness to your class is to talk about all the research and studies behind it. You can start with a class discussion about the importance of being present. Ask your students what they think it means to be present and discuss how being present affects their learning, their ability to focus, and their overall happiness in the classroom.
Create a “snack sanctuary” in your classroom.
The way that your students eat their snacks matters. If the classroom is loud and chaotic, students will choose the easiest course of action and eat their food as fast as possible. This can lead to them eating more than they would normally. Instead, create a snack sanctuary in your classroom where students can eat their snacks in a more relaxed and controlled environment. You can also create a “break ritual” that your students can do a few times a day when they need a break from the rest of the class. This can be anything from walking around the school to sitting in the “snack sanctuary” and eating their snack.
Set up an exercise room in your classroom.
If your students are constantly stressed or feeling overwhelmed, they might not know how to deal with those emotions. Instead, they might find ways to relieve the stress that are unhealthy for them and the rest of the class. If you have the space and resources, you can set up an exercise room in your classroom where students can go when they need to let out their stress and frustration. This can be anything from yoga to calming exercises to a simple stretching routine.
Install motion-sensor lighting in your classroom.
The lighting in your classroom can have a huge impact on how your students are feeling at any given time. If your school does not let you change the lighting in your classroom, you can install motion-sensor lights that will turn on when someone enters the room or is nearby. This can help your students feel relaxed in the classroom without being too dark and without wasting energy. Another option is to have a dimmer switch where your students can control the brightness of the lights themselves. This can help them feel in control of their environment.
Paint a calming scene on one of your walls.
If you are able to paint a calming scene on one of your classroom walls, it can help your students feel more relaxed and at ease in the classroom. This can be a beach scene, a forest, a calming painting, or almost anything else that your students find relaxing. You can even create a collage with calming images. This will help your students focus on their work and be able to calm themselves when things get too chaotic.
Bring plants and natural light into the room.
Plants are a great way to add natural light and greenery to your classroom and help your students feel more relaxed. If you don’t want to commit to keeping plants alive all year, you can get fake plants that produce the same chemical that real plants do: serotonin. This will help your students feel calmer, more relaxed, and more focused.
Add yoga mats or other soft surfaces to sit on during break time.
If you have dedicated break time in your classroom, you can help your students relax and focus by providing them with yoga mats or other soft surfaces to sit on. This can also encourage them to move around, stretch, and be more active during their break time.
Journaling for mindfulness in the classroom.
One of the easiest ways to bring mindfulness into the classroom is to have your students journal. You can have them journal about their day, and their feelings, or have them write a positive thing they are grateful for each day. This will help them process the events of their day and clear their minds so they can focus on their work. It can also help students who are journaling with a traumatic event in their past process that and move on from it so they don’t carry it into the future with them. These are all great ways to introduce mindfulness into your classroom and help your students feel more at ease and relaxed while they are there. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to do all of these at once. Start with one or two and see how they go.
Bottom line: Try out many different things until you find what works best for your students.
As you try new exercises and mindfulness activities with your students, you’ll get a sense of what they respond to best and what works well in your classroom. Make sure you keep trying new things and exploring ways to incorporate mindfulness into your class. Don’t let yourself get stuck doing the same things over and over again. The more you try and the more you try to make mindfulness a part of your class, the better it will be for everyone and the more likely you are to see results.