A Boy and a Bear and Leadership

“While we teach, we learn.” – Seneca

This philosophy can be used as the foundation to extend breathing techniques and mindfulness practices within your school.

Leaders at Assemblies

A great strategy for encouraging school wide implementation of Move Mindfully® is with student leaders. Assemblies offer the perfect opportunity to reach the entire student body. Try leading a “mindful moment” at an assembly. Simply start with having everyone follow along with Belly Breathing found in the Move Mindfully® Card Deck.

Mindful Moment at Assemblies

Feeling more adventurous? Add in some movement like our Calming Routine. It can be incredibly impactful to see an entire school community breath and move together.

Schoolwide Movement

If you are in a middle or high school setting that utilizes daily announcements, this can also serve as an opportunity to model some mindfulness practices. See an example here.

Leaders as Big Buddies

Another idea to bring this work school wide is to use “big buddies” as role models. A Boy and A Bear, a book from our store, introduces calming breaths to younger children.

A boy and a bear

Not only will you be addressing ELA standards with expression and fluency, but students will also have a self-esteem boost being in a leadership role. After reading, this book is a great tool to keep in your be. station!

Another way to get started would be with this math lesson plan from our Teachers Pay Teachers store to introduce slow, rhythmic breathing. Student leaders can be a math and mindfulness tutor!

big buddies reading

Could your students teach others the benefit of breathing? Leave a comment!

Be Well,
Stephanie Kennelly

14 replies
  1. Jeanine Long
    Jeanine Long says:

    Stephanie this is wonderful. I love the example you are setting for your students and that they in turn are setting one for younger students. You are planting beautiful, calming seeds in your students and touching their future!!

    Reply
  2. Karah Spahn
    Karah Spahn says:

    I love the idea of using Yoga Calm flows during assemblies. What a great idea– and the timing of this couldn’t be more perfect. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  3. Abby Bracke
    Abby Bracke says:

    Great suggestion to have older students go into a younger classroom to do the instruction. And a variety of large group and small group is great for building community!

    Reply
  4. Carli Andersen
    Carli Andersen says:

    I love using this book to teaching breathing. Kids respond well to it. I really think Yoga Calm should be in all schools. It is so beneficial to helping students learn emotional regulation strategies.

    Reply
  5. Jennie
    Jennie says:

    This is great! The school my children attend also use aspects of Yoga Calm. Last year I attended a Student of the Month assembly, and they started it by doing belly breaths. It was great to see, and it is motivating to see other schools doing the same thing! Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  6. sonja wildwood
    sonja wildwood says:

    This is inspiring work that you are doing, thank you for sharing! I’m going to check out the book for my own practice.

    Reply
  7. Emma Thiets
    Emma Thiets says:

    I love the way you partnered with a kindergarten class, what a great way for your students to teach others and feel empowered themselves. As a special education teacher, I have many students who struggle to regulate. I have begun implementing different breathing techniques with them and it is amazing how they can change and benefit my kiddos. I want to check out the book A boy and a bear, it might be a great addition to the sensory corner in the resource room.

    Reply
  8. Kelly Gibson
    Kelly Gibson says:

    How fun and spectacular that your class visited one of the kindergarten classes! Your students must have been so empowered by the experience! Very inspiring!

    Reply
  9. Andrea Hansen
    Andrea Hansen says:

    I love that your students are being examples for the younger students and helping them learn strategies to regulate their bodies. What I am learning (which I know is old news to you) is that focusing on breath as a regular part of a student’s day helps them when they need the strategy later. Trying to teach a strategy or remind a student about a strategy when they are in the red zone is tough. If that strategy, however, is something that they have practiced and practiced, then it is easier to help them use it when they really need it. All that is to say thanks for your continued focus and intentionality around yoga calm.

    Reply
  10. Ali Hodson
    Ali Hodson says:

    Always so important to teach breathing and mindfulness and is often times difficult throughout a busy day. Great examples of students demonstrating leadership with this. Students will model after students sometimes more than adults, so this is great in reaching everyone. So excited for this at Garlough!

    Reply
  11. Sarah A Strate
    Sarah A Strate says:

    Belly breaths are so helpful. One question – I’m looking for tips for those highly disregulated kids who think it’s funny to do fast shallow breaths when we are all working on calming breaths as a class. These are the kids who need it the most, and their behavior isn’t helping them calm down.

    Reply
    • Stephanie Kennelly
      Stephanie Kennelly says:

      Great question! We like to actually go with the fast, shallow breaths and then compare it slow breathing. Overtime, the routine and consistency will override the funny. Keep with it and sometimes, just observing regulating breaths can have a huge impact on the nervous system, even if they are not participating.

      Reply

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