Head on Desk

Mindful transitions are an important component of small group instruction.

For students and staff mindful transitions are critical for the success of an intervention. As an English as a Second Language Teacher, I teach many small groups throughout the day. The process of getting the students, walking down the hallway and settling into another classroom space can sometimes be a difficult transition… for the kids and myself!

This year I have learned about Move Mindfully® and I have started implementing some of the strategies. One that works well for me is child’s pose on the desk. I use the Head on Desk card found in the Move Mindfully Card Deck for cuing suggestions.

When students come into my classroom, they know before anything else, that they should sit at their spots and take one minute in head on desk. The blue poster in the Permission to Pause package also serves as a great visual for this routine.

Stack one fist on top of the other and then rest your forehead on your top fist. Another option is to lay head on flat hands. I wait here for one minute, taking 5-10 deep breaths. Their brains and bodies need this moment of rest.

Taking this moment to get centered and arrive in the space has been influential in creating positive transitions and immediate focus. Before cuing them out, I read aloud our objective. Right away, they are engaging in the content objective and using their visualization.

Teacher Self Care

I have found that this moment is not only beneficial for the students, but for myself as well! I used to use this minute to get my papers in order and make sure I had pencils on the table. However, I recently started participating with the students and noticed a profound effect. As a teacher, we are always running from one place to another. Taking time to slow down, stop and breathe has made ME a more focused and attentive teacher.

They say, if you don’t have a minute for mindfulness, take five. I think the same is true with running small groups. The time taken to settle in and transition with purposeful breath can make a huge impact. The Move Mindfully® Teachers Pay Teachers store also has great resources to get you started with these practices.

Have you used child’s pose as a transition? How do you help your students arrive to small group? Leave a comment!

7 replies
  1. Annah Frost
    Annah Frost says:

    “if you don’t have a minute for mindfulness, take five” I love this and love hearing about how educators are using yoga calm strategies!

  2. Emily Bedford
    Emily Bedford says:

    I have implemented yoga calm this year and we do a calming “strategy of the week” to help give students tools to calm their bodies when they feel too excited, frustrated, sad, angry, etc. I could see this being a great tool of the week to implement that students can use whenever they feel themselves needing to take a few seconds to recenter themselves.

  3. Kirsten Tatge
    Kirsten Tatge says:

    We start our day like this schoolwide. We practice mindful breathing with our heads down as a start to everyday. Love this article.

  4. Etta Rassier
    Etta Rassier says:

    I teach Pre-K students. We often use child’s pose as a transition from snack/breakfast. After students clear their tray, they go to their circle spot (on the floor) and take a child’s pose while we wait for everyone to join the circle. We take a few breaths all together, and find that our bodies and brains are focused and ready to work.

  5. Cheryl F
    Cheryl F says:

    I love this idea. The transition from circle to the art table is often very chaotic for me special education preschoolers. This could be a great strategy for slowing that down and increasing focus.

  6. Marie Hudalla
    Marie Hudalla says:

    What I am trying is having the students come into small group doing a hopscotch, greet me in Mountain position and then start lesson. I use the chime to help settle their glitter.


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