Well, we are getting into September and it is time to go back to school…but for many of us it doesn’t look the same. For ALL of us it doesn’t look the same. We are in a time where if you are going back into the classroom it is nerve wracking and scary and if you are staying home to teach you are distance learning with your students which can lead to several different emotions! So I want to talk about how to be mindful during distance learning. I know that a lot of teachers are mindful in their classrooms, so how can we bring that into this new chapter of teaching? Hopefully I can tell you how!
1. Mindful Breathing Exercises
Mindful breathing is great for students and for teachers alike. During these breathing exercises you simply breathe and just let it be. I know this is a tactic that I use in my classroom but can easily be brought into the home. There is a technique called balloon breathing with kids and they pretend that they are blowing up a balloon. It works to calm them down, and I know that my students enjoy it. I have created this freebie for you to grab if you want to give it to your students as well! This tactic can help when they are frustrated, overwhelmed or have feelings of sadness. They use the card as a cue to breathe in and out 5 times for calmness.
2. Mindful Movement
I am a HUGE fan of music and movement in the classroom, and I think that it makes a big difference when it comes to the students and their behavior. However I don’t always make the movement loud and fun. There are times when we need to do movements that are going to calm us down. This is where mindful movement comes in handy. The great thing about this is that I use it on the computer, so you can share your screen during a distance learning meeting and you can all do this together.
I head over to YouTube and I will often find Cosmic Kids Yoga. They have an amazing selection of movement for kids. They have some fun and silly ones but they also have some quick 10 minute yoga movements that will help relax your students. This is a great way to end your distance learning sessions! I always tried to do mindful movement after the students had encountered a tough lesson or something that was a little more challenging. This is a great way to help them get back to a calm body.
3. Mindful Journaling
When we started distance learning in March (which seems like 100 years ago am I right?) I sent home a daily gratitude journal with each child. In my classroom at the end of each day I ask “What made your heart happy today?” and they would answer. I didn’t want to stop that so I sent the journal home. They discussed 3 things that made them happy and drew a picture of one. I truly believe that no matter how old you are practicing gratitude is going to help you become a better person. So even with my TK students I strive to encourage them to find the good in the situation.
4. Affirmation Time
Another way to have a mindful classroom setting is with an affirmations. This is an a time that will help the students and the teacher and it is an easy one. Simply write down some affirmations and make time to say them during your distance learning meeting. I like to address one to a specific student as well. This really helps with lifting the child up. I will say things that are a little more generic in the beginning of the year but as I get to know the students I make sure they are more personal. I will say that I know they are a great brother or sister, they are a great helper at home and things like that. It really does bring joy to the students and it helps us build the relationships that we need!
5. Vision Board for the School Year
I also do these with my students and they LOVE them. I waited until January this past year bur this time around I am starting in September. I am going to have the students go through magazines and cut out pictures that make them happy. I am going to ask them to find pictures of things that they like so that way they have a place in their room that truly makes them happy. It doesn’t matter if these images are related to school or not. Giving the students a sense of happiness during this crazy time is something that they will really enjoy.
Don’t forget this school year that you as the teacher need to give yourself grace and provide some affirmations for you. I like to have a post it not stuck to my computer with some encouraging words reminding me that I can do this. It may sound silly but it does work! Try it out for yourself.
What are some ways that you bring mindfulness into your classroom? In person or digitally. Let me know by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
I am here to support you in your teaching journey as well so if there is anything that you need at all please reach out! We are all in this together!