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Different activities for students (and teachers) to create a mindful classroom

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Everyone in the classroom benefits when there is an opportunity during the day to reflect and prepare for learning.
I had the opportunity to see many mindfulness practices in action in schools and talk to some mindfulness masters. I have identified eight activities that are relatively easy to implement in classrooms and schools. With a little practice, these can be part of any educator’s teaching toolbox.
Opportunities for love
1. Silence 60: Have all students sit quietly for 60 seconds to get ready for learning. You can add a focus to a particular sound in the room, an image you provide (for example, a dot on a piece of paper, an abstract image you put on the screen), or their breath. Junior high school students start at 15 seconds and gradually increase. Start elementary school in 20-30 seconds.
2. Powerful listening: Ring a bell, use a wind chime, or use another object to make a long, drawn-out sound. Ask the students to raise their hands when they can no longer hear the sound. After everyone agrees that the sound has stopped, set a timer for one minute and have students sit quietly, then when the time is up, ask them what they heard during that minute.

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3. The One-minute Benefit: Have students take a minute to reflect on something that went well or for which they are grateful. This can be done by writing, sharing in pairs, or small or large group discussions. Larger groups work best in the elementary stages.
4. Morning Class Dialogue: Start the day with a quote that inspires a short conversation to help middle and high school students begin to interact with their classmates in a supportive way. Examples of dialog prompts can be found here.
In the present
5. Three breaths: Ask students to take three deep breaths at regular intervals, such as before a shift change or when they feel intense anxiety or tension. Teachers should guide students in using this breathing technique and create visual cues and cue signals for students. It can also be a valuable practice for employees, as Mindful teacher Danielle Nuhfer, who compiled an amazing set of techniques in her book The Path of The Mindful Teacher, shared with me:
“The great thing about Three Breaths is that if the teacher is willing to share with the student what he/she is doing, they can do it. I have been known to stop, put my hand on my chest/heart, tell my classmates I need a moment, and take three deep breaths. This is a great way to show our own emotional regulation. Students themselves may remember this when they witness their teachers working in stressful situations in a way that indicates awareness and presence. Sometimes this example is even more powerful than giving students a lesson on emotional regulation.”
6. Body scans: Educators benefit from learning to pay attention to their bodies. Make sure you feel your feet are centered when you’re taking classes or meeting with students or colleagues. Notice when and where you feel tense, or if your breathing is shallow or labored, and use three breaths (or more!) To help you feel some relief. Don’t hesitate to let students or colleagues know that you are taking some time to refresh yourself by breathing.
7. Say your mantra: Think of a phrase that helps you focus and maintain perspective. Repeat this phrase often when you are having a hard time or when things are going well. Keep it where you can see it, because when emotions run high, we may lose sight of the values we hold more dear. Some examples: