Over the past weeks, one of our counselors, Ms. Howe, has been walking Rm. 202 kiddos through several lessons in being mindful learners.
The first step in the process was to help my students understand what in the world “mindfulness” was. She showed them this video, about a book called Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda.
In the weeks that followed, she led the class through how the brain works (and she tied this to Star Wars!), then how each sense can help you be more mindful, present and in the moment to help your brain do its best work. We talked about how stress affects learning, and she showed us two apps that we can use to help us when we need to be calmed down.
Another thing she introduced was using coloring activities to help us calm down and we’ve begun to use them both in transition and in listening situations. The images she gave us are very detailed and required us to really focus in. A couple of times a day (like when we’re coming back from lunch or specials) we color for a few minutes to get us ready for quieter learning in our room. Many kiddos also get them out during Read Aloud now, too, and color while we enjoy a story together. The challenge is to get as many colors as we can in as many tiny spaces as possible. And when someone finishes it’s a big deal. So celebrate with us. 🙂
I am not entirely sure yet how these lessons will work for us. There are definitely parts that help us transition and I have already been able to remind them to be present, to think about what we’re doing at that moment–not about something that happened (that maybe made them upset), or something that will happen (that may be distracting them). There are many upper grade levels doing this same work, as well, and it will be interesting to see how this knowledge helps as they grow as people and as learners.
How do you use mindfulness in your life? How does it help you to be calm, present and focused? What can you teach us? Please leave a comment and tell us your story or advice!