Mindfulness

GRADES K-2

Learning Goal

Students will understand what mindfulness is through practice and a story.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lessons, students will be able to:

  • Describe mindfulness
  • Practice new mindfulness techniques
  • Understand the Empowering Education and social and emotional learning time block (as appropriate to your school setting)

Learning Summary

This first lesson introduces mindfulness and lays a foundation for the rest of the school year for your classroom’s mindfulness and social and emotional learning (SEL) time.

After a short discussion of what mindfulness is, the lesson moves to a story with a Munchy and Jumpy story in which the twin rabbits go through their birthday without ever fully enjoying the party. Their Uncle Lamont then tells them of a secret magic trick they can do to repeat a day being more mindful the second time around. Students will meet these characters again in future/lessons. Following the story, students try a mindfulness practice and discuss how mindfulness makes them feel. Students end by drawing a picture of themselves doing mindfulness. As with all of our lessons, we encourage you to modify it to meet the needs of your and students. You’ll see various options listed below to help you do that.

computer icon    Online Teaching Tips for Mindfulness

If you’re used to in-person teaching, switching to online can be tough at first. Be forgiving and start with what you know you can do and then add on one technique every few days or week.

For mindfulness, either done live online or recorded, consider putting up a simple and calming picture when you invite (not tell!) students to close their eyes. If they know you’re still on the screen, they’ll be tempted to look and make sure they’re not missing out.

Puppets! Try using them yourself to model interactions either between you and another person or between two people, with you commenting. You can also ask students to bring stuffed animals and act out what you’re working on in a given lesson. No stuffed animals at home? Students can draw animals to use.

Especially with K-2 students, get them moving! Online learning can involve a lot of sitting. Along with building in movement activities to your live or recorded lessons (stretch breaks, 5-minute workouts, etc.), use physical movements to get participation. For example: “put your arms up if you think that apologies are easy, cross your arms in front of you if you think they are hard to do.” You can also send students out on quick scavenger hunts in their homes: “go and bring back something that helps them calm down,” or “everyone go and get a hat to put on for this next activity.” 

Finally, you will find that reading aloud the Munchy and Jumpy stories is a great activity for remote learning. There are 28 weeks of stories ready for you to use in our program! Develop voices for the different characters and overact. Your kids will love it.

We recommend having student cameras off at various and frequent points in the lesson to allow them to focus on you. At a minimum, have students be unable to see their own camera view. It’s a lot to track other people on camera and your own video. We find it tiring to see ourselves during meetings. (In Zoom, use the “hide self-view” function and show students how to do it themselves. For other platforms that don’t have this capability, have everyone, including you, tape a piece of paper over their self-view. ) Similarly, during the mindful practice, keep student cameras off if possible. 

If students will be on camera, build in dedicated time at the start and/or end of lessons for students to be silly on camera.

For the journaling section, have students work on their drawings at home silently and then have them show their pictures to the camera. If you have the time, have students get on the microphone one-by-one to explain the parts of their drawing. Otherwise, simply have all the students show their drawings.

After you ask a question, even if you’re going to answer it yourself, leave space for students to think. Silently and slowly count to at least 7 and, if you know how, go off camera and just show the question.

If recording the read aloud, record yourself while sharing your screen to show the illustrations as well, or print them out and show them to the camera. 

If parents are able to upload pictures of journal drawings, consider sending a short feedback video message to each student to encourage participation going forward. Later, you can give feedback intermittently.

CASEL Competencies

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

Self-management: The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.