How do you transition your students from their fast paced morning rush, to being calm, focused, and ready to learn? Every student comes to the classroom with a different set of needs. Some are loaded with sugar, some are sad, some of angry, some are recovering from trauma, and some are just not awake. It’s important to do an activity to get everyone on the same page mentally before attempting to teach any lessons. Try these weekly calming activities you can do in 5 to 10 minutes each day to mentally prepare students for their work.
Mondays are a great time to focus on breathing and calming down from a weekend away from school. You can find numerous breathing methods for kids online. I like to find videos on youtube that have guided breathing. I prefer The Honest Guys Youtube Channel, but there are many more. Check out some of the breathing videos for kids on Youtube. Always preview videos before showing your students.
Repeat the breathing exercises from Monday and add a Growth Mindset activity. You could just choose a Mindset quote of the day. A little google search will lead you to thousands of them. The founder of Growth Mindset, Carol Dweck has a wealth of information on her website. Research shows that students who have a Growth Mindset, outperform students who do not. You can find an endless supply of Growth Mindset lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers, some are free. Youtube also has several videos you can use. (Preview each one first.)
Repeat the breathing from Monday, review the mindset activities that you did Tuesday and add a wellness tip for students. Choose one easy, simple to follow tip that students can remember to do easily. Try to do a variety of mental and physical wellness tips. I like to rotate between social media usage, eating habits, and physical fitness. I obtain tips from our wellness curriculum at school. Common Sense Media has compiled a list of resources for finding these tips.
Review the activities from Monday through Wednesday and have students jot down something that they are thankful for this week. Research shows that students who are thankful and kind, perform better in school and have better overall wellness.
Repeat the breathing activity from Monday, review the activities from the other days and add a self-reflective moment. Have students spend a couple of minutes reflecting on their progress for the week. They can make goals for the next week to improve upon this week.
If you don’t have time to come up with your own daily activities, check out this year long workbook filled with mindfulness, growth mindset, gratitude, kindness and self-reflective activities. It is designed for students to work quietly on their own. I suggest playing spa music (with a sound machine) as a cue for students to start their workbook pages for the day. After 5-10 minutes have passed, turn off the music to cue students to stop and give their attention to you.