For students and teachers, there always seems to be a lot going on. Class, school work, friends, sports, family…it’s easy to let time whoosh by without taking a beat. But that’s exactly what we should do—take a moment to check in with ourselves. We should create space for mindfulness, the practice of being aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
In the Classroom
When thinking about integrating mindfulness into the school day, we were inspired by this Edutopia article. Not only does it outline the importance of giving students the skills to live in the present moment, it also has four actionable ways to build the practice.
#1 – Teach students how to breathe deeply to calm the body and mind. You can use this breathing practice activity from Along for inspiration.
#2 – Improve focus by zeroing in on the senses, including listening to calming sounds or concentrating on what something feels like on the fingertips.
#3 – Develop the imagination by having students close their eyes while you guide them through a pretend journey. (This is a great way to introduce new topics.)
#4 – Help students get in tune with their bodies and their natural inclination to move by adding yoga poses throughout the day.
You don’t need to introduce all these things at once. Instead, you can take your time and see what resonates and what doesn’t. The important thing is to begin layering in these tools for your students.
Want more ideas for building mindfulness? Check out the Along Content Library for additional classroom activities.
Outside the Classroom
Developing mindfulness can also happen during your Along check-ins. Our research-informed questions are designed to encourage self-reflection—a key component for developing mindfulness. By reflecting on the times that a student has felt less in control of their emotions or feelings, it becomes easier to see the value of mindfulness. It also becomes easier to see when would be the most helpful time to take a breath and clear their thoughts. It’s a direct path: the ability to self-reflect leads to the ability to be mindful.
A good example is with stress management. After reviewing an answer to a reflection question, a teacher might come to understand that a student has a difficult time recognizing stress levels until they’re already very high and they feel overwhelmed. A teacher can then recommend a mindfulness technique to help that student recognize stress signals earlier. Mindfulness is all about learning to manage emotions and feelings before they take over.
Just like learning to open up, students will arrive at a mindfulness practice on their time and in their own way. Give them the space to try new techniques and to learn what works best for a brain break. With Along, you can provide encouragement, ideas and your own discoveries along the way.
Visit the Along Content Library to find a reflection question that starts the journey.