If you're looking for a super easy and FUN way to get started with mindfulness practices in your classroom, try a Relaxation Vacation! I recently attended a training on yoga & mindfulness in the classroom and learned a lot about guided visualizations. Guided visualizations are a mindfulness strategy that can be used for a variety of purposes, from coping with anger or frustration to overcoming fears. One way that guided visualizations can be used is to deliberately clear the mind of stressful thoughts and transport one's self to a calm, happy place.
I don't know about you, but my classroom after lunch/recess used to be my own personal hell. My students would enter the classroom hyped up and filled with energy after a hectic half hour in the loud, overwhelming lunch room, running up to me to tell me about the drama that exploded on the playground. But soon after my yoga & mindfulness training, I decided to turn this chaos into calm with one easy strategy. Now, students come into the classroom after lunch knowing exactly what to expect. The lights are off and they see a calming video up on the board, and they settle into their chairs, ready to relax. I then open up one of my Relaxation Vacation scripts (on my phone or printed on paper) and we are instantly transported to another place, relaxing our bodies and minds. I have to admit, part of me loves this because of the amazing sense of calm it brings about for me in the middle of a hectic work day!
It took me a little while to get comfortable reading these scripts with confidence, but after practicing a few times (and listening to a LOT of calm.com guided meditations) I felt totally comfortable putting on my 'calm voice' and leading my students through this practice. It can be as short or as long as you want--you may only have time for a quick 3 minute read-through (I know our daily schedules are PACKED), but if you have more time you can build in more silent breathing between sentences to extend the practice.
After our first Relaxation Vacation, I asked my students how they felt. It is so important to get students to reflect on the effects that mindfulness practices have on their physical and mental state so that they can start to utilize these strategies on their own. I then asked my class to brainstorm a list of places they'd like to travel to on our Relaxation Vacations--they came up with some fantastic ideas (the best: "New Jersey!"). Getting them involved is a great way to get your students to 'buy in' to the idea of mindfulness, which can feel strange at first.
You can download one free Relaxation Vacation below, and please check out my pack of 5 for sale on my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Each script comes with an accompanying video to play, which can be especially helpful when you are starting out and students are new to this practice and need some support visualizing.
If you try this in your classroom please share how it goes! I would love to hear about your experience!