Changing Channels

“My students don’t want to sit still.”

Often times when youth have experienced trauma, stillness activities can be scary and uncomfortable. I have often struggled with finding a strategy for relaxation that allows all students to actively participate. However, after my training with 1000 Petals, I have incorporated 5 Finger Breathing and Hand Tracing into Yoga Calm®’s Changing Channels Activity, and found great success!

At our training, we learned about scripted brain breaks. This relaxation allows students to find a place to go in their mind that makes them feel calm, happy, at ease. They are instructed to use all 5 senses as they imagine that perfect place. Students in our computer basics class took this to the next level! Here is a run down of what they did from our awesome Technology Guru, Mr. Paulsen.

Mindfulness in Technology Class

I introduced this project to my 6th graders to address the high energy. I needed a way to transform that energy into learning energy.

We began by tracing our hands using  Hand Tracing Breathing. We wanted to slow down, and focus. Everytime the student drew up, they breathed in and every time they traced down, they breathed out.

Our next step was to take a picture of our hand drawn hand and insert the image to Google Drawings. We looked at each finger as representing a sense. The task was to insert a phrase and image describing that sense. During this time, students were focused on how they can represent each sense in an image and short phrase.

Trauma Responsive  Relaxations

It can be helpful during scripted relaxations to have the students work out their script ahead of time, so when they go into the relaxation they aren’t feeling stressed  about finding the perfect spot. Having it scripted ahead of time can prevent negative thoughts. This is also a great launch pad for creative writing and imagination.

Yoga Calm®’s Changing Channels

This activity lends itself perfectly to the Yoga Calm® Activity, Changing Channels. The Changing Channel’s activity has students stay on a channel, or scene, for 30 seconds or so before changing the visualization. Students can share out their hand projects while the rest of the class visualizes right along. I recommend going through three students, allow 30 seconds to a minute for each. What a great way to weave in social emotional learning!

Have you tried Hand Tracing Breathing or Changing Channels? Have you incorporated technology into your rest and relaxation? Leave a comment!

Written By,

Travis Paulsen: Jordan Middle School Business and Technology Teacher

Chelsey Meyer: Jordan Middle School Counselor

Grounding Routine

Children need to move.

Active Classrooms, The Latest Trend

Heath.gov recommends that children move 60 minutes per day. Not only does this recommendation hope to address childhood obesity by increasing caloric output, but there are also implications for learning. Children who move 60 minutes per day report better sleep, stable moods, more time on task and higher grades.

Classroom teachers have been looking to flexible seating, specifically active seating, to provide additional movement for students. However, some teachers report frustrations when the wobble stool turns into a hazard instead of Instagram perfection.

Getting Grounded

Here is the truth. Bodies that are not grounded (securely in tune with the Earth and the gravitational force) won’t magically become grounded when sitting on a wobble stool. The good news is, we have created a Move Mindfully® Grounding Routine to ground bodies before using active seating tools. More movement and breath work can be found in our Move Mindfully® Card Deck.

Move Mindfully Grounding Routine

Move Mindfully Grounding Routine

With modeling and practice, students can go through the routine as many times as needed, checking in and assessing if they are ready. Try printing of the routine and posting near flex seating options. If you see children falling, or not using the tools correctly, simply let them know, “It looks like your body is not grounded yet. Try the routine again.”

Active Seating

Once the bodies are grounded, then it’s time to explore the active seating options! Our friends at Moving Minds have many innovative active seating products. Here are our Top 5 recommendations and tips for integrating mindful movement. We suggest having students explore a few of these positions before there is an expectation for stillness and listening during instruction.

Surf Floor Desk

The unique design combines a seat with a desktop in one seamless shape so students can use it anywhere!

Boat

Boat

Back Stretch

Back Stretch

TiltED Active Seat

This active this seat changes all of that by allowing students to rock back and forth or rotate 90° in either direction to tilt side to side. Balancing the seat on the domed portion of its bottom edge lets students work their core muscles in new ways without disrupting class.

Twist

Twist

Seated Tree

Seated Tree

Shyft Wobble Board

Shyft provides slight instability and activity for all ages while sitting or standing!

Upward Mountain

Upward Mountain

Tree

Tree

KORE Wobble Chairs

The chair’s constant “wobble” engages muscles and provides an opportunity to release excess energy, enhancing focus and productivity.

Boat

Boat

CushionEd

A bumpy, grippy bottom side prevents it from slipping in any situation, and a subtle texture on top provides a plush, sensory experience in chairs or on the floor.

Tree

Tree

Other Options

Don’t have the budget to build a flexible seating active classroom? Simply head to your local dollar store and pick up a Step Stool. This tool is great for sitting slightly elevated off of the carpet and also provides extra input during balancing positions, like Tree or Eagle.

Tree With Eyes Closed

Tree with Eyes Closed

Eagle

Eagle

Do you use flexible seating? What has worked for you? Leave a comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

Using Mindful Language

Mindful Language and Movement go hand in hand.

Teaching mindfulness and movement to kids in a public school can be very challenging. I’ve had some crazy moments where I don’t feel very calm OR mindful. Just last week I had a student flip a desk and throw a yoga mat out the window.   

How did I respond?  I took a deep breath and got grounded. The Pause allowed me to create space between the event and my reaction. First, I made sure the rest of the class was safe by using my radar. Then, I gave the student clear and calm directions.

I used mindfulness and clear language to keep the class moving and redirected the student in a way the let everyone know I wasn’t going to tolerate unsafe behavior. However, I was also able let the student know I still cared for him and that I was there to help with his big feelings.

How was I able to do that? Keeping in the present moment allows me to be aware of my surroundings and adapt as needed to the circumstances. I keep my senses aware of what is going on, and I use my words to bring power and purpose to every moment. Here are some tips to get you started.

How to Create a Mindful Classroom

Moving mindfully and speaking mindfully go hand in hand. Clear and mindful words increase awareness of the mind/body connection. Kids learn through example and will often model their behavior after adults around them. Mindful language, paired with movement and breath, can be an excellent way to empower them to be more mindful in their own actions and everyday lives.

How to use Mindful Language

The Responsive Classroom technique “Reinforce, Remind, Redirect” is the heart of mindful language. Here are some examples:

Reinforcing: Reinforce the positive behaviors that are already happening. This encourages other kids to remember what they could also be doing to get it right.

  • “I notice you used a breathing strategy to calm your body. This gets your brain ready to learn new things.”
  • “Using a balance position is a great way to keep focused attention!”

Reminding:  Remind the behavior that you expect, and give a quick reason why it’s important. This is often done to the whole group, but can also be directed to individuals, usually privately.

  • “Remember, when we keep our voices off during our movement break so everyone can hear the directions and learn something new from the leader.”
  • “We use kind words to each other to build up our team. Think about what you can say to help someone who might need some encouragement.”

Redirecting: Give a redirection to reset, then try again with the behavior that is expected. Remind why the current behavior is not acceptable. This is usually used when unsafe or completely off-task behavior affects the student or group.

  • “Take three breaths. Then, when you are ready to stay safe come back to your carpet spot.”
  • “Put the book on the floor. Waving it around could hurt someone.”

Notice the Results

All of this should be done with attention to the words you use so that you are being direct and clear. Use a neutral tone that encourages kids to think about the consequences of the behavior for themselves. Once kids know the expectations and what they will get from following them, they feel more safe and confident. Safe, confident kids can explore and learn more.

At this point, they can become their OWN teachers. They will be empowered by the simple and direct language that encourages them to follow the expectations, gives them chances to remember why they are important, and leaves them space learn and grow.

In using this type of thinking about really bringing positive attention to good behavior, you will find yourself talking less. Once you know how to state only what is necessary, be clear and concise, you will have more time to breathe and play!

What mindful language techniques do you use with your students? Leave a comment!

Written by, Maia Horsager

Maia is a 5th year Movement teacher at Hiawatha Leadership Academy in Minneapolis, MN. She has been teaching yoga, mindfulness, and movement full time to kids for over 6 years.