Student Strategies for Calming
There's no going around it, over it, or under it - so we gotta go through it. There's a lot going on in the world right now.
And as much as we feel it, we know that our students feel it even more - as they learn to understand and process feelings and events they haven't felt or experienced before.
There are lots of strategies students (and adults) of all ages can employ to take "brain breaks" to refocus and practice mindfulness to fully experience their present moments. Here are a few of them:
A study by the University of the West of England in the U.K. determined that, compared to reading, coloring reduced anxiety and improved mindfulness. Coloring as an activity engages not only the mind but the fingers as a kinesthetic activity that requires focus and is enhanced by color, which is also said to have mood-influencing effects.
Download our free STEM coloring poster for a relaxing activity with your students, that just may be able to encourage a future career in the process!
We're sick of hearing it - but this is an unprecedented time in our human history - and like other times in history, it is remembered by those who write it down. Encourage your students to keep a journal of what's going on in their days, no matter how mundane. Writing can help release feelings, without having to say them out loud - giving students an outlet of expression, and providing a thoughtful, productive activity providing memories for years into the future.
Check out our recent blog post, Creating a Student Journal: What are you Reading, Feeling, and Learning? for ideas on helping students spark ideas for their journal.
Take a "Trip"
At a time of social distancing, the internet can be a wonderful outlet for exploration. You can visit far away places without leaving the safety and comfort of home. From volcanic mountains to art museums to amusement parks, there are so many places you can experience to have a little escape from the day-to-day.
Check out our blog post on Teacher Resources for Virtual Exploration and Discovery for some fun ideas on the places you could go!
Not only is physical activity good for your mental and physical health, but being outside in nature has been shown to produce positive effects on overall wellbeing - so combine the two! Have students go outside to play to escape the stressful reminders that the indoors sometimes contain, and run and jump around in the fresh air to get some calm - even if just for a little while.
Stretching helps everyone - not just students - find their center, find their calm, and practice mindfulness of living in the moment. From focusing on breathing to improving physical wellbeing, use this free Mindful Stretching Poster to display and demonstrate for students some meaningful stretches for a calm and healthy activity!
And check out our free Mindfulness Toolkit, created in partnership with Dr. Melissa Hughes on additional breathing and mindfulness strategies you can employ with your students!
Whatever your strategy is to help your students find their calm, making them feel safe is the top priority. What strategies do you employ in your classroom? Share with us in the comments below!