Sunday, November 17, 2019


I started practicing mindfulness with my students last spring.  I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on it from both students and peers.  My precalc kids from last year who lopped with me into calc this year asked (told) me to continue this tradition in calculus as well. I thought I would post my script here in case it's something you want to try with your kids.  I currently teach pre-AP and AP students but I have a colleague who does this with her on-level students as well, so I'm convinced it works for all learners.

I first set the tone of what mindfulness is and why it's so important, what focusing on the present can do for our brains.  I highly recommend showing both these short video clips (or something similar) to your students before you start this work:
I like to play quiet music or nature sounds in the background and turn off the lights.  I let my kids stay in their seats or get on the ground, but that's of course entirely your call.  Some background videos I've liked are the following:
Alright!  Here's my script.  It's not all my own words.  When I was looking for a mindfulness script, I couldn't find quite what I wanted, so I edited others' scripts and pieced them with  my own.  This at least gives you a starting point if you're like I was six months ago and just wanted something to go off.  I will post two other scripts at the end that I've used with minor modifications.

Start by settling into a comfortable position and allow your eyes to close or keep them open with a softened gaze. Begin by taking several long slow deep breaths breathing in fully and exhaling fully. Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose or mouth. Allow your breath to find its own natural rhythm. Bring your full attention to noticing each in-breath as it enters your nostrils, travels down to your lungs and causes your belly to expand. And notice each out-breath as your belly contracts and air moves up through the lungs back up through the nostrils or mouth. Invite your full attention to flow with your breath. 

Take a deep breath in for 1, 2, 3, 4; now exhale out for 5, 6, 7, 8.  Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4; exhale 5, 6, 7, 8. Keep inhaling...and exhaling. Try to focus on your breath or the sound of my voice if you feel your mind start to wander.  Inhale...exhale. If you’re comfortable, place a hand on your heart and feel your chest rise as you inhale...and contract as you exhale. Inhale...exhale. Inhale...exhale.  Now take the deepest breathe in you’ve taken...and the longest breath out.

As you continue to breathe in and out, try to keep focusing on your breath.  

Inhale love; exhale resentment.
Inhale courage; exhale fear.
Inhale strength; exhale weakness.
Inhale joy; exhale comparison.
Inhale kindness; exhale resentment.
Inhale confidence; exhale doubt.
Inhale intentions; exhale expectations.
Inhale hope; exhale fear.
Inhale inclusion; exhale judgement.
Inhale forgiveness; exhale blame.
Inhale passion; exhale indifference.
Inhale grace; exhale the need for perfection.

And as you take a deep breath, bring in more oxygen to the body. And as you exhale, have a sense of relaxing more deeply.
You can notice your feet on the floor.
You can notice your legs against the chair, pressure, pulsing, heaviness, lightness.
Notice your back against the chair.
Bring your attention into your stomach area. If your stomach is tense or tight, let it soften. Take a breath.
Notice your hands. Are your hands tense or tight. See if you can allow them to soften.
Notice your arms. Feel any sensation in your arms. Let your shoulders be soft.
Notice your neck and throat. Let them be soft. Relax.
Soften your jaw. Let your face and facial muscles be soft.
Then notice your whole body present. 

Take a couple minutes to focus on your breath, remembering that just being in the moment--not worried about the past or stressed about the future--helps your neural resources to grow.
After about 30 seconds: If you find your mind wandering, just notice that wandering, without judgment.  Then, bring your mind back to your breath.
Another 1-1.5 minutes of breathing.

May today be a day where you know you are loved and valued.
May you accept that love and give love.
May you know you are safe, cherished, and wanted.
May today be a day where you experience grace: both to give and to take.
May today be a day where you are connected with yourself and those around you: aware of one another’s needs and willing to both give and receive help.
May today be a day of joy and thanksgiving.

Take one more deep breath, and begin to bring your awareness back to the room.  Wiggle your toes and fingers. Gently open your eyes. Lights are coming back on.

Other scripts you may want to consider/modify for your classroom:
I would really love to hear from you if mindfulness is something you use in your classroom. I'm a newbie, but I'm learning! Also, Calm is an amazing app if you want to start practicing mindfulness personally...PLUS educators can get a subscription for free!