A mindful teacher offers his/her students time daily to breathe and connect to sensations and feelings. It truly only takes five minutes to do so.
One of my teaching partners, Paul Johnson, offers his students five-minute mindfulness breaks throughout the day. They have full autonomy over when, where, and how they take these breaks. The only time that the students cannot access their five-minute mindfulness break is during those crucial times when whole class instructions are being delivered. Other than those times, the students are totally free to choose when they want to take their mindfulness breaks.
Here is a list of just some of the choices available to them:
All that Mr. Johnson requires is that the students use the sign up sheet beside the door to record their name, the time they took their mindfulness break, and how they feel going out and how they feel coming back in. There are stopwatches available for the students to use to keep track of time. Once they grab these stopwatches, they are free to go.
Upon their return, they record the time and assess how they are feeling or how emotions may have changed. At any point in the day, they can take advantage of these breaks whenever they feel the need. They are encouraged to use these mindfulness breaks both wisely and responsibly for there is no real limit on how many times they can use them.
As I have taught on the grade 4 team all year, I can say with full certainty that I have seen these mindfulness breaks have a very positive impact on the students. Here are just a few responses from the students themselves regarding the mindfulness break option.
"It is a great opportunity to feel more awake and refreshed."
If you try this out with your students let me know how it goes. I assure you that it they will love the freedom to choose when and how they need to take their breaks.
Strive to connect, release control, and be present.
Neila Steele & Andy Vasily