Mindful Presence in Silence

Silence by Leminscates is a beautiful book that encourages mindful presence through the  simple artwork and thoughtful writing. This is a powerful read-a-loud.
You can purchase a copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JWXO1P6/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
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Play-Doh Practice

– Give each student a handful of play-doh. Ask students to use their senses as they hold the play-doh in one hand. What is the texture of the play-doh? What does the play-doh smell like? What color is their play-doh?

– Tell students to gently roll the play-doh on their desk or the table. Ask them to notice what happens to the play-doh. Then, ask students to stretch out the play-doh as far as it can go. What happens to the play-doh then? Do same activities/questions with flattening the play-doh, etc.

-Explain that the play-doh is like our thoughts and emotions. Sometimes we may feel stretched to thin, or flattened by a challenge, or just like life is gently rolling by. By taking the time to ackowledge our thoughts and feelings we have more of an ability be flexible and create something new out of our situation.

-Ask students to create something (a metaphor for older students) from their play-doh that shows how they are feeling at the moment (metaphor examples: prickly like a pointy triangle, flat like a piece of paper, bouncy like a ball, calm like an ocean wave, etc.) ​

Melting Ice Activity

Using ice cubes, students notice the sensations and feelings that come up. This is a great way to practice “paying attention” to thoughts and feelings. 

What’s the Weather Like? 

Picture

Author Eline Snel (2013) writes in Sitting Still Like a Frog
“Our mind is not unlike a sea or an ocean. Storms, rain showers, or the sun can transform the surface of any expanse of water into a seeting mass of terrifyingly high waves or into a clear, smooth sheet through which you can see the great depths below. The same is true for us. A particularly challenging mood ir intense emotions can crop up at any time. By not wishing these feelings away or wishing they were different from what they are in the moment, you learn to notice the ‘weather’ inside and to root yourself in what is really happening” (pg. 51).  

Ask students: What is the weather like inside you today? Weather often changes from morning ot afternoon; and, if a storm comes in, it will eventually pass. Are you feeling stormy, calm, peaceful, or a bit chilly? Close your eyes and notice your feelings for a moment. Then, draw a picture showing what the weather is like inside you. 

Snel, E. (2013). Sitting still like a frog: mindfulness exercises for kids (and their parents). Shambhala Publications.


Mindful Movements: Palm Tree

​Mindful Movement is a great way to help children develop what Daniel Rechtschaffen calls “physical literacy.” In The Mindful Education Workbook, Rechtschaffen says, “When taking attendance, we ask if students are present, but even when they are right there in front of us they are still often not very present. Really being present begins with the body. We learn to relax, feel the breath moving in and out, and explore the sensory map of our bodies.” Mindful movements create a foundation for children to engage in mindfulness and be “present” in the classroom. 
 
Here is an excellent video to use for mindful movement in the classroom. Try the palm tree pose with your kids! 

Still Like a Frog

Before doing this exercise, take time to learn about frogs with students. Here are a few websites with lesson plan ideas: 
Grades K-2: beta.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plans/teaching-content/all-about-frogs-lesson-plan/
Grades K-3: educators.brainpop.com/bp-jr-topic/frogs/
Grades 6-8: www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers/free-lesson-plans/frogs-fact-and-folklore.cfm

Then, introduce the “Sitting Still Like a Frog” practice by making connections to what you have learned, so far, about frogs. How do they move? When do they sit still? Why do frogs need to be very still? After making connections to previous learning, have students listen to the following (www.shambhala.com//images/illus/Sitting_Still_audio/03.%20Exercise%202%20-%20%20The%20Little%20Frog.mp3) and practice “sitting still like a frog.” 

Debrief with students by having them write, draw, or create a picture about their experience. Or, have students engage in a think-pair-share with other students. 

Inspired by: ​Snel, E. (2013). Sitting still like a frog: mindfulness exercises for kids (and their parents). Shambhala Publications.

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