Mindfulness is important for me and so it has become a staple in our everyday classroom routine.
20 minutes of silence (our best attempt) in a first grade classroom is extremely calming. Especially this year… my first year… in a pandemic. I always encourage the kids to really be present and ask themselves what they’re noticing in the moment. What are they feeling? What thoughts keep coming to mind?
In the beginning of the year, we used this as a time for a mask break and breathed in the crisp fall air. As it got colder, mindfulness came inside and so we improvised- lights off, essential oil diffuser going, calming piano music, with some mindful options appropriate for a first grader’s attention span.
Sometimes they choose to use Playdoh. They’ll think about the texture, the temperature, what shapes they can make and manipulate. Other times they may use kinetic sand as they watch the miraculous substance do its dance on their desks as it falls from their fingers. Some students prefer to take the time to do what I call, “just be” sitting with themselves and taking it all in. I catch them looking at the window or observing their classmates. It’s become a really cool experience for us and I’m so proud of how much they’ve grown to appreciate and love this special time.
A fan-favorite is mindful drawing. My students are crazy about art and take any chance they get to make something. Sometimes they draw their families or characters from Among Us. Other days it’s a mind map or their attempt at a mandala. One of my favorite moments is when they want to share with me what they made. Some of them even want me to keep their creations which is always especially heart warming to know they’re thinking of me.
One student in particular made me one of my favorite mindful drawings yet- she called it, “Mindful Mingus.” She drew my pesky orange cat doing mindfulness as he sits in a meditative pose. I was not only impressed with her abilities but I was also amused at how he was the topic on her mind on that particular day. I’m so grateful that this a routine that we stuck with. Maybe if I show him the drawing he will be convinced enough to try it….
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.
This is such a great post! It can be difficult to get students to sit calmly for a long period of time. So I’m glad that they enjoy doing quiet tasks – and love that one of your students took an interest in your cat doing yoga haha 🙂
I love this! I’m impressed at 20 minutes of quiet from first graders! I do mindfulness with my fourth graders, but never thought to try that long of a time. I did find a virtual mindfulness site that my class really loves. Instead of giving them 10 minutes next time we do a longer chunk, I’ll try to do more!
A mindful 20 minutes sounds wonderful. We could all benefit from that this year. I hope it works for Mingus.
How sweet! Having that time each day is a wonderful thing. 🙂
Your classroom sounds like a calm place. Your student are fortunate to have this safe space.