Online Learning Tips

It’s the first day of online school… 

Now what? If you are like the thousands of teachers across the world trying to translate curriculum and instruction into an online format, and you are feeling overwhelmed, know that you are not alone. Weaving in simple breathing, movement and rest strategies can help both adults and youth manage the big emotions that come with this transition.

Since school is currently online until at least May 4th, we are allowing educators to share Move Mindfully® practices in their online learning sessions. This means, you may use your Move Mindfully Card Decks and Permission to Pause Posters in your own videos for your own students. This is a special allowance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you use our content, include the following statement. “More information and resources for Move Mindfully® products and practices can be found at”

“More information and resources for Move Mindfully® products and practices can be found at”

None of the live online learning sessions or recordings showing Move Mindfully products can be used outside of your virtual classroom without permission.

Begin with a Breath

Starting each session with breath work can be a nice way to connect. If you are streaming live with your students, take a few breaths together to unify the group and create focus. In a recorded video, encourage the students to breathe as they watch the recording. When providing slides with written content, remind students to take some slow breaths before beginning. Here are three simple breathing techniques you could use to start your online learning day.

  • Hand Tracing
    • Holding up one hand like a stop sign, use your pointer finger to slowly trace up your thumb as you breathe in, and slowly trace down your thumb as you breathe out. Continue to trace up and down each finger with your breath, until you have completed 5 breaths.
  • Fingertip Breathing (Belly Breathing)
    • Pretend as if you are holding a ball. Press your fingertips together. Breathing in, feel your belly expand and pull your fingers apart. Breathing out, feel your belly draw in as you push your  fingertips together.
  • Pinwheel Breathing
    • Take a breath in and then slowly blow out to make the pinwheel spin. Use controlled breathing to move the pinwheel slowly. You can pretend you are blowing out a candle with your pointer finger if you don’t have a pinwheel.

Embed  Movement

Within academic content, offer suggested movements during online instruction. Moving the body will create readiness for learning by soothing the nervous system and activating the prefrontal cortex. We recommend choosing a few  simple movements and repeating them throughout the week. In addition, if you are streaming live, you can use movement in the middle of the lesson as a brain break to get the body up and moving. Here are three movements that you can try.

  • Tree
    • Press your foot into the floor. Standing on one leg, prop your other foot up or place it below or above your knee. Rest your hands at your hips or reach them up like branches. Focus your eyes on one spot. (Stand in Mountain and repeat on the other side).

  • Plank
    • Lying on your stomach, push your hands and feet into the floor to lift your body up. Keep your body straight (you can also bring knees to the ground). Follow Plank with Child’s (kneeling, upper body folded over knees with head supported by stacked hands) or lying on your belly.

  • Down Dog
    • Press your hands and feet into the floor making an upside down V. Follow Down Dog with a Forward Fold or Child’s.

End with a Rest

In the current reality of COVID-19, many of us are trying to navigate how to feel safe when everything is so different. Allocating a few minutes at the end of your lesson for rest can help students integrate the learning, soothe the nervous system and reestablish a sense of routine and safety. As you take breaks to rest throughout the day, you will have better sleep patterns at night. You can simply play soft music and prompt slow breathing while students rest and reset for whatever comes next. Here are three different ways students can choose to rest.

  • Head on Desk
    • Sit up tall with your feet on the floor. Breathe in and reach up high. Breathe out and fold forward. Rest your head on stacked hands to get your mind ready.
  • Legs up the Wall (or Chair)
    • Lie on your back with your legs on a chair or resting against the wall.
  • Prone Breathing
    • Lie on your stomach. Feel your belly press into the floor when you breathe in, and pull away from the floor when you breathe out. Notice your back rise when you breathe in and fall when you breath out.

Want to see these practices in action? Join us daily for short breathing, movement and rest demos on Facebook Live at 4 Central. Also, if you want to learn more, check Move Mindfully® Online Services to design routines for online learning. Move Mindfully combines movement and mindfulness practices to allow youth to self-regulate and attune to their physical, social/emotional and cognitive needs.

Share your photos with our online community using #PauseMoveLearn

How have you used Breathing, Movement and Rest in your online instruction? Leave a comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly and the Move Mindfully Team

2 replies
  1. Brendan Shelton
    Brendan Shelton says:

    It’s a really interesting idea to do some hand tracing and breathing to settle down and get ready for school. My brother is trying to find some good advice to help his kids this semester. They will be doing online school for the first time and he is worried about how it will go for them.


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