Mindful Moments

I have historically seen a rise in behavioral issues and lack of motivation in my own classroom around this time of year.  My students have been dealing with the usual academic pressures, as well as unease in their lives outside of school.  Negativity and defeatism can spread like wildfire, and it is important to be proactive and consistent in keeping our students and schools positive and motivated.

I introduced something called “Mindful Moments” with my classes.  Essentially, the process goes something like this:

  1. Sit with your feet flat on the floor, and back straight.  Hands can be in your lap or on the table, clasped or unclasped, but they should be empty.  
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Think about your day so far, or how you would like your day to look.  Set a positive intention for the day, or decide on a positive goal you would like to accomplish.  Your goal could be something personal, small, large, or something that could affect our greater community.  
  4. When you are ready, open your eyes.

Mindful Moments take about 30 seconds to 1 minute out of your instructional time.  They help build upon students’ social-emotional education by having them set goals, take much-needed brain breaks, and have a time to reset their ways of thinking into more positive outlooks.  They can be done anytime; usually I do them at the start of each class, but I have also introduced the process as something to do whenever you are feeling stressed or anxious, or whenever you need a mental break.  

Mindful Moments don’t have to stop in your classroom – they work for teachers just as well!

How do you introduce mindfulness in your classroom?  How do you support your students’ social and emotional needs?

How can we utilize passing time for SEL?

Working as a middle school teacher has certainly shown me the need for social-emotional education in schools.  It’s more than just students’ yearning for acceptance and belonging at a confusing and changing time in their lives.   Add to that technology becoming even more ever-present, and we as a people begin to have a disconnect with each other.

Social and emotional learning develops empathy, positive relationships, responsibility and citizenship, and positive emotional expression.

While there are many lessons and programs that focus on SEL, we can support the SEL of our students in small, easy ways every day.

  1. Greet each student by name at the door when they enter your classroom.
  2. Smile and say “good morning” when you see students and staff in the hallway, even if you don’t know them.
  3. Monkey see, monkey do!  Always model positive interactions and relationships with adults and students in the building – kids will tend to emulate what they see from you!

How do you support SEL in your school?