Performance Routine

Do nerves get the best of you before a performance?

Band, choir, drama, presentations and performances all require an incredible amount of mindfulness. It can be overwhelming! Are you, and the children you work with, ready to perform? The good news is that there are systematic breathing and movement routines that together create the optimal relaxed, alert state for performing. We recommend using this routine throughout the year, so it is familiar. Then, before a big performance, students can rely on muscle memory to prepare.

This routine is perfect before any music, band or drama class. Getting grounded, opening the rib cage for breathing and focusing with a balancing position are crucial elements for success before taking the stage.

Mountain

• Stand strong in Mountain and feel your power.

Upward Mountain

• Fill your lungs and take a deep breathe inhale to upward mountain.

Crescent (Both Sides)

• Exhale to Crescent and open the rib cage getting your body ready to perform.

Eagle (Both Sides)

• I am focused and I am balanced.

Forward Fold

• Big Exhale, I let go. Slowly roll up and I am ready to perform.

We love the added component of bringing in musical instruments, such as drums, to keep a steady beat during the routine. Some music teachers will weave in their music standards right into the mindful movement!

Singing at Kindergarten graduation? Speaking at debate finals? Dancing in a state competition? Whatever your performance platform, Move Mindfully can prepare mind, body and heart for adults and children alike! Looking for a longer sequence? Our Move Mindfully Engaging Routine also utilizes rib cage openers and balancing movements or create your own sequences with our Move Mindfully Card DeckStill feeling the jitters? Dab some of our Move Mindfully Essential Oil blend on your wrists and put on headphones to listen to an audio recording of our guided mindfulness practice, The Pause.

Have you used these strategies before a performance? Are you an arts teacher that utilizes mindfulness and movement? Leave a comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

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

From Tired to Awake

School can be tiring sometimes.

Maybe in an elementary school it looks like laying on the carpet, instead of sitting criss cross. In a high school, it may be a flat out snore in the middle of lecture. Feeling the warm afternoon sunshine come through the window, even teachers can feel their eyes start to go droopy. I suddenly wish I would have had that second cup of coffee!

The good news is, there are quick and easy body strategies that can take us from tired to awake in under five minutes. The Tried to Awake routine can be done whole group or individually as needed.

I like to offer this routine to the whole group during Morning Meeting, when bodies are still sleepy, or after lunch. The effectiveness of this routine comes from the oscillation between an energizing movement and a resting movement.

We always like to meet a body where it’s at. So, if it is tired, we will begin with a resting position, such as child’s pose.

Child's Pose in first grade

Then, after three to five breaths, we transition into an energizing movement, like down dog. Pressing hands and feet into the floor is a great way to engage all muscle groups and wake up the body. Hold down dog for three to five breaths to feel fully engaged. We recommend three to four rounds, between child’s pose and down dog, for the full effect.Downdog on a First Grade carpet

Students in middle school and high school may be more comfortable with a seated variation. You can create a similar effect using head on desk and seated backbend, pictured below. Again, remember to hold each position for three to five breaths before transitioning.

head on desk

seated back bend

Blog Bonus! Use this audio to lead your students through the Tired to Awake Routine.

What have you tried to fend off the tired gazes of your students? Leave a Comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

Snow Day Routine

When the weather limits our time outside, stir crazy energy can make children, and parents, feel restless.

Are you stuck inside due to inclement weather? How are you meeting your children’s energy? It is wise to be proactive and encourage gross motor movement throughout the day to break up screen time and sedentary activities.Indoor Energy

However, what happens once you have checked off YouTube dance videos, obstacle courses and forts from your list? What happens when parents need a break and the kids need to transition into a rest/quiet time?

Go Noodle

Our Move Mindfully® Snow Day Routine offers the perfect compliment to high intensity indoor activities. The Snow Day Routine incorporates both energizing and calming movements to bring higher energy back into balance. Topped off with a scripted relaxation, this sequence is sure to ease everyone into rest time.

Snow Day Routine

Featuring the Move Mindfully® Card Deck

Mountain

  • Find a tall, strong, snow covered Mountain.

Mountain Pose

Upward Mountain

  • Reach up high to the sky in Upward Mountain.

Upward Mountain

Forward Fold

  • Fold Forward slowly like Snowflakes gently falling to the ground.

Forward Fold

(Repeat first three movements 3x)

Down Dog

  • Press your hands and feet into the ground in Down Dog – stretch your body! Imagine making footprints and handprints in the snow.

Down Dog

Child’s

  • Move into Child’s Pose, but today we are a Polar Bear cuddled in the snow – cover your nose with your Polar Bear paws to feel the warmth of your breath in your hands.

Child's Pose

Final Relaxation

  • Stay here for a few breaths or come to your back and imagine making Snow Angels by sweeping your arms up and down by your sides until you stay so still you can imagine hearing the snowflakes fall – can you catch a snowflake on your tongue?

final relaxation

This routine was created using the Move Mindfully® Card Deck available at our store. Download and print the Snow Day Routine.

Comment below and let us know how it worked!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

After Recess Routine

When parents mirror classroom interventions at home… magic happens.

As a first grade teacher in a culturally diverse community, there are always challenges that arise with meeting a variety of needs. Over the past years, I have been able to focus on a few keystone challenges that all seem to center around self-regulation.

After my Yoga Calm® Training and our  on-site workshop at the beginning of the year, I felt confident that my toolkit was ready to support the variety of needs that would arise in my classroom.

sky oaks move mindfully workshop

Getting Started

Our school wide efforts began with simple breathing strategies. Although most of my students responded to the deep, belly breathing, it wasn’t enough. Especially after recess students would transition back to the classroom still in a space of excess energy. Either goofy or angry behaviors would get in the way of our math lesson. The first grade bodies in front of me were not ready to learn, and they were not ready to take deep breaths either. What to do?

Creating an After Recess Routine

With support from our Move Mindfully® Residency instructor and an Occupational Therapist, I created a series of movements designed for after recess that focus on full impact core work. The idea here is that big sensory input was necessary before the body can be ready to transition to deep breathing and then finally to the learning objectives. I was ready to present the routine to my students! (Child’s pose, table, down dog, plank, cobra and finally ending again in child’s pose)

Implementation

The first piece that was critical in the After Recess Routine roll out was stretch spots. I strategically assigned each student to a spot around the room, separating those that needed to be seperated, giving space to those that needed more space and keeping those near me that well… needed to be near me!

Stretch Spots

Then, I taught the routine. The real power in this routine is when students reach the “ending”, I modeled how to ask, “Is my body ready to learn?” If the answer was no, then they would start over, back to table and go through the routine again. I encouraged them that they could go for as many rounds as they needed until their body was ready to learn! At that point, they would come to the carpet where I would be starting the math lesson. This also built in a piece of self-awareness and responsibility for body readiness.

child's pose

Impact- Bringing it Home

The difference was immediate. There was increased focus, participation and an overall feeling of wellness. With conferences coming up I thought, “what if we could bring this energy into the students’ homes?” I took photographs of my students demonstrating the movements and wrote up a description of each. Then, I worked with our cultural liaisons Heidi Grant and Sahra J Abdullahi to have the content translated into Spanish and Somali. During conferences I gave this handout to parents as a way to not only share what we were doing in the classroom, but also encourage some of its use at home. I received feedback that students were already using the movements before bedtime and teaching their siblings!

You can find this movement sequence template on Teachers Pay Teachers. There is even an editable version where you can include your own students photographs!

Teachers Pay Teachers Movement TemplatesHigh Energy Sequence

Have you tried to share self regulation strategies with parents? What has worked well? Leave a comment!

Written By,

Sarah Singleton

Mom to an incredible little boy, First Grade Teacher, lover of coffee and comfy clothes.

Sarah Singleton

Chair Routine

 The Move Mindfully® Chair Routine can prepare the body to experience gratitude. 

Today we are going to think about gratitude. Gratitude means giving thanks for everything we have in our lives.  Today we will move our bodies and breathe in a way that opens up ours hearts and reminds us of all the things that make us happy.

As educators we work to weave in social emotional learning to our school day. Helping students navigate big emotions, such as gratitude, can be supported with body work and movement.

To start this routine, students stay seated in the their chairs and move the spine in all six directions (back bend, forward fold, side stretches and twists). The heart opener backbend especially can help students tap into a place of gratitude. Here is a simple Chair Routine Script for leading students in the movement.

The sequence ends with hand tracing. Use our template, with and without the hand already provided. For younger students, we have them simple trace over the hand with their finger. For older students, you could have them use a pencil to trace their hand. Then, students take 5 deep breaths using Hand Tracing Breathing.

hand tracing

Writing Activity

Students then write on each finger something that they are grateful for. Younger students can even draw pictures. Then, throughout the day or week when you come back to Hand Tracing Breathing, you can remind them of the five things that they are grateful for, encouraging them to breathe that in that visualization. Hang them up in a collection for a beautiful bulletin board display.

gratitude list

Hand Tracing Breathing is a quick and easy way to bring gratitude into your daily Move Mindfully® breaks. Our green poster from the Permission to Pause Poster Set ends with hand tracing. Simply cue gratitude breath to end this simple sequence too.

Want to build your own gratitude sequence? Try using the cards from our Move Mindfully® Card Deck or download the Movement Sequence Template from our Teachers Pay Teachers Store.
gratitude yoga routineWhat movement have you tried with gratitude? Leave a comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

Sleep Routine

“How many of you have problems with sleep?”

It is not surprising to see almost all hands slowly rise when posed this question. Sleep is such an important component to overall health and well being. Addressing these concerns should be a priority for all youth workers. Sleep is where everything happens for the heart, mind and body. Learning is integrated. Muscles are healed. Emotions are reset.

The promise of a restful night sleep is a motivating factor for students to bring this work out of the classroom and into their home. From infants to teenagers, our Sleep Routine works for everyone. It is crucial that children establish sleep hygiene habits at a young age. We have developed a series of positions from our Move Mindfully® Card Deck that are scientifically proven to get the body and mind ready for quality sleep.

Not only is this recommended for youth, but also adults! The quality of your sleep is more important than the quantity. Instead of rushing off to bed, taking 15 minutes with our Sleep Routine will pay off with high quality sleep to follow.

Here are the five easy steps to a great night sleep!

Child’s Pose

 

This is a great position to ready the body. It tunes out visual stimulation and allows focus on breath. We recommend staying here for 5-10 deep breaths. If you are using this pose with a child, the adult can place hands on back for back breathing.

 

 

 

Knees Hug In

 

 

 

Gently rocking side to side in this position to allow a decompression of the lumbar spine. It also massages the organs and soothes adrenals.

 

 

 

Legs Up the Wall

 

 

This inversion modification allows the legs to be above the heart, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. You can try this position on a chair or the bed if up the wall is not accessible.

 

 

 

 

 

Floor Twists

Keeping shoulders on the floor and twisting side to side not only readjusts the spine, but also has a detoxifying affect on the digestive system. After twists, it may feel good to do another Knees Hug In.

 

 

 

Final Relaxation

Even if you are a side or tummy sleeper, we recommend you spend the first 5-10 minutes on your back. Let all muscles release and focus on deep, restful breathing.

These positions should be taught and implemented throughout the day. Allowing 1-3 minute breaks trains the mind and body how to shut down. Also, keeping cortisol levels low throughout the day will have an impact at bedtime.

Have you tried a sleep routine with your children or yourself? How do you see yourself using these positions in your work? Leave a comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

Balancing Routine

Life is a balancing act.

In our movements we think of balance as an even distribution of weight. However, expanding the definition to “having correct proportions”, the idea of balance transfers to many different aspects of life.

Work life balance. Eating a balanced diet. A justice system of checks and balances. Balancing your finances. So, what does it mean to be balanced?

kidspiration

I posed this question to my students. We discussed the many applications of the word “balanced”. Students spoke of the importance of balance between time in nature and time with technology. Time with friends and time alone. Time feeling excited and time feeling calm. Next, they created a mind map in an App called Kidspiration.

Okay, I played along too! As an educator, I am always thinking about *gulp* standardized tests. I struggle to find the balance. The balance between convincing my students that the test is extremely important AND wanting to proclaim how truly unimportant it should be. The balance between providing test prep practice runs AND continuing with the social emotional time investment.

To help achieve balance, I turn to the Move Mindfully® Focusing Routine. The visuals are a fantastic resource during testing, where students are provided a three minute, no talking, break.

Balancing movements during testing breaks

The Balancing Routine

Here is the breakdown. The middle of focusing routine works on balancing by transitioning from tree pose to eagle pose. The challenge comes from keeping the lifted foot off of the Earth through every transition.

Begin in Tree Pose.

tree
From tree pose, lift the foot up and over into Eagle. Hug arms one under the other and squeeze in while keeping the crown of the head lifted.

For an added balance challenge, I threw in an additional balancing pose. From Eagle, bend the standing leg and extend the wrapped leg back behind to straight. Extend the arms out straight in front. Shine bright in Warrior III.

warrior III
From Warrior III, transition back to Tree.

tree

Better yet, try our Move Mindfully® Card Deck and create your own routines and balancing series!

Balance. What does it look like in your life? In your teaching? Do you think you could use this series with your students during testing? Leave a comment!

balancing in the classroom

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

Transitioning Routine

Waiting in line can be difficult.

Waiting for the bathroom? Drinking fountain? Getting into the lunchroom? (Come to think of it… there is a lot of waiting) Waiting is hard. We often ask students to stand in line, and wait- quietly. However, I don’t think that many adults could accomplish such a task… I know I couldn’t. The Move Mindfully® Transitioning Routine is the perfect movement for hallway waiting.

Transitioning Routine

One student leads the routine while the others follow. After the leader has completed the sequence, they choose another student (someone who showed effort) to be leader. Since some hallway spaces require no talking at all, the leaders can lead without talking with the visuals of the posters.

forward folds in the hallway

You can even use this routine when you are outside waiting to come in the building. It is perfect for after recess! It works best when you have access to a wall, but it can be done without one as well.

Wall outside

I like this sequence because it calms (forward folds) and activates (chair) from a stationary position. I like to hold chair for a few breaths. The students love the thigh burn.

wall inside

Some teachers will play the quiet game or statue game, but in my opinion, this option is even better because not only are students quiet and engaged, but they are also moving through self regulating movements. I even noticed a student using chair , unprompted, waiting to get into the library. The big posters are perfect for hanging in the hallway by the bathroom or drinking fountain.

Find the full script for the transitioning routine here.

Have you tried the transitioning routine? What’s worked well? Leave a comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

Centering Routine

How can we help students get ready to learn?

Are you teaching “small groups”? Rotating through reading stations, math stations, Daily 5, Daily 3, CAFE, conferring… Woosh, is your head spinning yet? I wonder how the students feel!

This trend of small, skill based, differentiated groupings, may be a good thing for academic goals, but it definitely increases the amount of transitions. The students are expected to move around the room, get materials, navigate space and remain focused on individualized academic tasks. That’s a lot to ask.

I have found ease in transition with consistent use of the Move Mindfully® Centering Routine.

centering routine

Using the Centering Routine

All students, the ones working in a small group and the others working independently or with partners, go through the routine. The entire routine is completed from a chair. It is perfect for starting groups or for seated body breaks. This routine also utilizes twists, which are great to promote digestion after lunch!

At the end of the routine I like to ring the chime to cue a slow transition out of the final rest and into the lesson.

head on desk

I have found that the most powerful position in the routine is “head on desk” version of child’s pose found in our Move Mindfully® Card Deck. I know the idea of “head down” can seem punitive, but I think this powerful pose just has had bad PR. It triggers the calming response to lower the neck and also shuts out visual stimuli.

Taking time to center and reset is an effective use of time. This intentional breath, movement, and rest allows a focused energy. I notice that after these moments, nobody gets up, moves around the room or asks to use the bathroom. You will find your students are more able to focus on the task at hand.

seated upward mountain

I know a movement based classroom is all the rage. Wiggle seats, wiggle standers and fidgets galore. Don’t get me wrong, I think that movement is extremely important. However, certain types of movement can be hyper altering and counter productive to achieving the ideal relaxed alert state. We need to offer intentional moments of stillness.

Do you use a centering routine after transitions? What have you done to promote stillness? Leave a comment!

Be Well,
Stephanie Kennelly