Take a moment! Breathe! Relax! Breathe again. Even better, involve your students! Research is showing that when a teacher introduces just 5 minutes of simple breathing techniques, yoga or meditation, students’ attention spans increase, their focus on topic improves and some studies show improved test scores and fewer cases of bullying.
It makes sense! Students are constantly being bombarded by social media and digital devices, they are over-scheduled with extra-curricular activities and they are dealing with adult issues such as divorce and poverty. Therefore, to bring just 5 minutes of peace to a day can truly make a difference.
One of my teacher friends introduced this idea to both her 6th & 8th graders. The simple process she used was this:
- Turn off the lights and have students close their eyes.
- Have everyone relax their hands.
- As students inhale, instruct them to think about the path the air follows to the lungs and then exhale using that same path out of the lungs.
- Ask them to feel the air on their skin.
- Wait a minute or so and then ask them to notice the colors behind their eyelids.
- Wait a minute longer, and then ask them to slowly open their eyes.
- Turn on the lights, and get back to work! Not a hard procedure by any means, but it is meaningful. The side benefit is the teacher is allowed to take a breath as well!
So, as we hit this stressful time of year (I know we sometimes feel every season is stressful), take a moment to teach your students how to deal with daily stress through meaningful meditation.