Mindful Moment Cards

“How was your weekend?”

A phrase that most of us mindlessly utter on Monday morning can be a fairly loaded question. Teachers, mostly white middle class women, come into the classroom with a cultural identity and, knowingly or unknowingly, expect conformity from our students. How does this play out in simple social exchanges?

How about a sharing time, such as morning meeting? Share your favorite TV show (assumes you own a television), share your favorite ice cream (assumes there is money to buy treats)… you get the idea. So, what’s a teacher to ask?

Mindful Moment Cards

Mindful Moment Cards by Lynea Gillen offer an opportunity for personal sharing (either verbally or written response) that are free from cultural bias.

mindful moment cards









Each morning I choose one card to read aloud during our morning meeting.

morning meeting schedule

Then, we go around the circle, pass the sharing rope and respond to the Mindful Moment Card. Try a few out with these Mindful Moment Card Samples.

Sharing in circle time

Examples of Use

One morning the prompt was, “Share your color of calm”.  A boy said, “Orange is calm because I like to cuddle in my bed and read Garfield.” Later in the week, when he was struggling, I asked him, “What strategies do you have to find calm?” He responded, “Breathe in orange.” It was a question that anyone from any cultural background could answer. It allowed us to get to know him on a deeper level AND it provided him with a tool for self regulation. Seems a whole lot better than “How was your weekend?”

teacher modeling sharing

Another morning the prompt was, “Say the name of someone who really listens to you.” The rope made its way around the circle to a boy… who froze. Saying nothing. Blank face. One minute passed. I stood up, sat behind him and placed my hand on his back. The girls on both sides of him placed their hands on his shoulders. Five minutes passed. Total silence. It was excruciating. However, it was also beautiful. Finally, I “pulled the plug” since we were already late for music. The class left the room and the boy remained. After another thirty minutes, he walked over to me and  said the name of a girl in our class. One of the girls who had touched his shoulder during his freeze. I walked him back to the group, where he shared out her name. The class applauded.

I still am not quite sure what exactly happened. Or why it happened. All I know is that we had a moment. Those five minutes in time, looking back, will come to define us as a group. These questions run deep…

Please leave comment! What questions, either from the Mindful Moments Cards, or from your own creation, have had a impact?

Be Well,
Stephanie Kennelly

19 replies
  1. Diane Johnson
    Diane Johnson says:

    As a social worker I also avoid the “what did you do” as you see and hear kids trying to one up each other, or making stuff up to fit in.
    Love your new blog!

  2. Sara Carlson
    Sara Carlson says:

    We run morning meeting at our school and I never gave much thought to the sharing prompts being difficult for some students to answer before. I will share this understanding with my coworkers and give ideas with the mindful moment cards that I already own. Thank you for this revelation!

  3. Nikki, LMFT MN
    Nikki, LMFT MN says:

    What a powerful message. I love this and plan to implement in my work with adolescents and adults in my practice. Thank you!!

  4. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I love the idea of using the Mindful Moments cards as sharing prompts. This also moves us away from one word answers, binary questions, and choosing a “favorite” of something. Great ideas!

  5. Jodi Carter
    Jodi Carter says:

    What a powerful story, Stephanie! Kudos to you for giving him the time and support he needed to identify someone who listens.

    I completely agree with making sure our sharing prompts are equitable. Everyone needs to belong. In order to belong, we need to be able to share our true selves—let’s make sure our questions and opportunities to share out are accessible to all.

  6. Judi
    Judi says:

    I’m often surprised by the questions that resonate with my first graders. For instance, questions that require them to use their imagination not only intrigue them, but encourage them to support each other in their dreams and thought processes. I use them frequently to support community building in our classroom.

  7. Erika Rootness
    Erika Rootness says:

    This is such a powerful piece! I am totally guilty of asking “what did you do this weekend.” I will never ask it again.

  8. Jenny Regan
    Jenny Regan says:

    Wow, how wonderful!! I am ALWAYS struggling to find good sharing topics so I am intrigued by these mindful Moment cards and would love to give them a try!!

  9. Tanya Rae-Schmidt
    Tanya Rae-Schmidt says:

    I have a talking stick that I think I will introduce at morning meeting to pass to each other when greeting one another. I like the idea of responding to the questions on the cards.

  10. Loretta
    Loretta says:

    Our Area Learning Center has a daily “team time” comprised of students across our grade levels. Activities related to building community are often a focus and sentence starters are always helpful to have meaningful conversations and create a strong relationship among peers and staff.

  11. Trevor
    Trevor says:

    Great reminder to take even the seemingly small moment and use it to ask a question that can prove much more insightful than “what did you do?”. I will try to practice using those types of prompts today rather than typical ones which may not provide any benefit.

  12. Stacey
    Stacey says:

    As a therapist in the school setting, “How was your weekend?” is a very difficult question for kids to answer with anything other than “okay” or “good”. I find myself asking deeper questions, avoiding this question altogether. Love the idea of having these on cards for individual therapy time and group therapy!

  13. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I love this idea and I love these cards! Such a great way to connect with students and help them connect with one another 🙂

  14. Leah Wilhite
    Leah Wilhite says:

    What a great idea. I will be graduating with my masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2 months and this is a great activity and tool I would like to add to my toolbox!!

  15. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    This is a powerful reminder! These cards are a great way to ensure that conversations help calm students not create anxiety.

  16. Jenny Wood
    Jenny Wood says:

    I love these cards and this idea! What a wonderful way to get to the hearts of students and go far beyond the superficial that they and we so, unfortunately, can get accustomed to.

  17. Liz
    Liz says:

    I absolutely love this! I have these cards but have not gotten to use them yet. What a great reminder to dig in my bag and pull out another great tool I have from Yoga Calm! Thank you!


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