Incorporating a centering or mindful activity at the beginning, middle, or end of each class is a great way to create a focused and calm learning environment. What’s even better is that you can start incorporating them at any time during the school year. Here are some simple ideas to bring to your classes:
Start by asking students to close their eyes and breathe deeply. You can start with simple inhale and exhale exercises. This is not only helpful for students but also for us as teachers. There are times in my classes when I pause and let my students know that I need to take a breathing break, and they are welcome to accompany me. This is also a way to model for our students that it’s okay to take a break when we need it, and to start cultivating the importance of listening to our bodies.
Guide students through a peaceful visualization exercise. Have them imagine a serene place, such as a beach or a forest, and describe its details, encouraging exploration through their imagination. This practice helps reduce stress and nurture creativity. You can enhance the experience by using pictures and describing them in the target language to your students. Canva for Educators (which is free) offers beautiful scenes from different places around the world that you can utilize.
Share a series of positive affirmations with students, such as “I am unique,” “I believe in myself,” or “I am enough.” Ask them to silently repeat these affirmations several times to establish a positive mindset. You can begin by printing the cards below, and then introduce an affirmation per class. Download them here!
I also recommend this book! It’s simple, beautiful, and serves as a great introduction to positive affirmations.
Free Drawing or Writing
Provide students with paper and pencils and give them time to draw or write freely. This allows them to express their thoughts and emotions and can serve as a relaxing activity during class. I find that instrumental Andean music works great with this activity.
Play gentle nature sounds, like birdsong, the flow of a stream, or the rustling of the wind. Ask students to close their eyes and focus on these sounds, setting aside distractions. You can find great ones on YouTube.
Free Meditation Apps for Educators
There are some companies that offer free subscriptions to mindfulness apps. I myself have a free subscription to the Calm app and love it! Headspace also offers free subscriptions for educators. Please note that I am not associated with any of the apps mentioned here!
Introducing centering or mindful activities cultivates focus and calm in class. They work at any class point, meeting student needs, and easily fit into the school year. Trying these ideas aids concentration, emotion management, and awareness.
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