Practice Acts of Kindness Series: Classmates

Practice Acts of Kindness Series: Classmates

For this practice, you will need:

  • A piece of paper
  • A writing tool

Teachers: to prepare for the lesson, you might match students up to a student they normally don’t talk to for Practicing Acts of Kindness.

Practicing Acts of Kindness means that we are mindfully taking the time to be kind to another person. This week’s Practicing Acts of Kindness focus is on classmates. A lot of the time we have friends in class we like to hang out with and talk to, but the classmates we focus on in this practice are the ones you don’t know as well or might not ever talk to.

It can definitely be scary to talk or do something for someone you don’t know very well. We are all in this together! Take a moment to be mindful of what thoughts or feelings come up for you when you think of the practice. Once you notice some thoughts or feelings, go ahead and write them down or draw them (teacher can cue depending on developmental appropriateness).

[Optional] Teachers: you might ask students to submit feelings anonymously and have them close their eyes to vote on whether they agree by raising their hands. This practice can help diffuse some anxiety.

To Practice Acts of Kindness today, we will write a note of kindness to the classmate who we are matched with, or draw a kind picture for them. The note or drawing should say something nice about your classmate. It can be big or small, as long as it comes from your heartletters-772504_960_720 and is kind!

Take 5 minutes to write your short note of kindness or make a kind drawing. Be sure to write the name of your classmate somewhere on it. When you finish, wait for your teacher to give you instructions.

Teachers: after 5 minutes, direct students to exchange notes with their matched classmate.

After you exchange your note of kindness, take another mindful moment to notice how you feel after Practicing Acts of Kindness. Today you also got to receive Acts of Kindness! Write down how you feel, and share with your teacher and classmates if it feels okay to you!

Teacher’s Tip: If this practice resonates with you and your students, you can make Practicing Acts of Kindness a regular classroom activity. It is a great way to bring the classroom together and give students the opportunity to communicate with classmates outside of their friend group.

Student’s Tip: You can practice acts of kindness with your classmates as much as you’d like! Notes and drawings outside of class time are a great way to practice. You can also tell your classmates kind things and save paper! The sky is the limit with ways to Practice Acts of Kindness. It can be as simple as giving someone a nice big smile!

Practice Acts of Kindness Series: Introduction

Practice Acts of Kindness Series: Introduction

 

This next series is meant to inspire us to Practice Acts of Kindness. This series teaches us ways to Practice Acts of Kindness with a new person each week, so that we can become experts in being kind. Each practice is meant to be very simple, and can be practiced by anyone!

Over the next few weeks, we will Practice Acts of Kindness with:

  1. Classmates
  2. Teachers
  3. Parents & Family
  4. Yourself!

When we Practice Acts of Kindness, we create something called a Ripple Effect. This means that when we are kind, others might be inspired to be kind too! We all have the power to share kindness, and the most important step is through practice!

Kindness is something that you can practice every day in every way, just like Mindfulness! Just like we are learning to be Mindful, we are also learning to be Kind. When we practice a lot, it becomes a natural part of who we are.

Through this series you will learn simple ways to be kind, and have opportunities to practice it! We look forward to making ripples of kindness with you!

Teachers: Random Acts of Kindness supplies free K-12 lesson plans if you are looking to take your teaching of kindness even further!

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Create your own Mindful Mandala

Create your own Mindful Mandala

For this practice, you’ll need:

  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • A piece of paper for each student
  • examples of Mandalas (can pull up an image on a projector or draw an simple example on the whiteboard)

In today’s practice, you will Create you own Mindful Mandala. It is a combination of the Mindful Coloring practices of Mindful FreeExpression Coloring and Mindful Mandala Coloring that we learned in our last two Mindfulness activities.

As we learned before, a Mindful Mandala is a pattern that is often in the shape of a circle. Sometimes Mindful Mandalas look like big bright suns, or flowers with lots of petals. Sometimes they look like a circle with a pattern inside of it. You get to choose what your Mindful Mandala looks like, because it is a reflection of your own creativity!

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If you feel stuck, here are some steps to begin:

  1. Drawing a small, medium, or large sized circle in the middle of your paper.
  2. Pick a pattern to draw all around the outside of the circle. This can be flower petals, rays of the sun, shapes, or any kind of drawing you feel is right. You can choose to only draw the pattern once, or you can keep repeating the pattern so it makes more layers for your Mindful Mandala.
  3. Pick a pattern to draw inside of the circle. You can draw it around the inside of the circle, or you can fill the whole inside part of the circle with that pattern. You can also choose to draw something that reminds you to be Mindful inside the circle, whatever that may be.
  4. Now it is time to color! Pick your colors and make your Mindful Mandala a unique expression of you! Whatever you make is perfect.
  5. The last step is to gaze at your beautiful Mindful Mandala. Spend a minute or so noticing the colors and shapes and patterns of your Mindful Mandala. This is a Mindful Mandala meditation that you can practice anytime you’d like.

Great work everyone. You have now learned how to Create your own Mindful Mandala! You can make Mindful Mandalas on your own at home or during free time (if your teacher says its okay) and you can play around with different patterns and colors every single time if you’d like. Remember, whatever you create is a perfect expression on your creativity!

Teacher’s Tip: Mindful Mandalas can be tied in to lessons at school. If you are working with a theme and would like to bring these in for a future lesson, you can have your students make a Mindful Mandala with patterns related to your lesson in the classroom.

Student’s Tip: You can Create your own Mindful Mandala whenever you have free time. Another great practice is to try your Mindful Mandala meditation either with a new Mindful Mandala, or maybe with one you have already created.

 

 

Mindful Mandala Coloring

For this practice, you’ll need:

Last week we practiced Mindful Free Expression Coloring. Mindful Mandala Coloring takes some of the tools you learned in Mindful Free Expression Coloring and uses them in a little bit of a different way. You might remember that as you colored last time, you were asked to let go of worries about how your coloring looked, and even to let go of any goals for what your coloring might end up looking like. Mindful Mandala Coloring uses those same guidelines, but this time in the shape of a Mindful Mandala.

A Mindful Mandala is a pattern that you can color or draw to train your mind to be more still and focused. It is also a great way to express whatever is going on inside your mind or feelings through the colors and shapes of the Mindful Mandala.

Mindful Mandala Coloring is a very simple practice. All you have to do is pick out a few colors (or your teacher will give them to you) and give all of your attention to coloring the Mindful Mandala in front of you. If you notice your mind wandering to something else, just bring your attention back to the Mindful Mandala that you are Mandala_monte_verita-1coloring.

While you color: notice how it feels to color; notice how your colored pencil or crayon moves along the paper; notice how the Mindful Mandala changes with your coloring and attention.

Teacher: allow 5-10 minutes to color the Mindful Mandala. Let students know when they have 2 minutes left.

At the end of the practice, ask students to write a sentence about their experience with Mindful Mandala Coloring. After students are done writing, ask a handful to share with the class. If students aren’t at a writing level, then they can just share out loud.

Teacher’s tip: it is optional to play some quiet and relaxing music in the background.

Student’s tip: you can practice Mindful Mandala Coloring any time you’d like. All you need is a paper, pencil and a Mindful Mandala Coloring page. If you don’t have access to a printer at home, ask your teacher if you can print one at the library. Otherwise hang tight until next week, when we will learn about Creating your own Mindful Mandalas.

 

 

Mindful Free Expression Coloring

Mindful Free Expression Coloring

For this practice, you’ll need:

  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • A piece of paper for each student

Mindful Free Expression Coloring is a way for you to express yourself without judgment, and without having to plan what to color. All you have to do in this practice is move the colored pencil or crayon in whichever way seems right to you in the moment, without worrying about creating any kind of shape or design. Mindful Free Expression Coloring is a practice to release whatever is going on in your mind or feelings through the movement of your hand and the pencil or crayon on paper. Let it flow as naturally as possible- whatever you create is perfect!watercolor-795163_960_720

The practice will last for 5 minutes, and we will listen to music as we color. Try to let your colored pencil and crayon move across the paper in a natural, flowing way, without any pattern or shape in mind (Teacher demonstrate on board or paper). Begin.

[Teacher play relaxing music]

At 1.5-2 minutes in, remind students to let their hands move without any plan. To give their brain a break and create whatever naturally comes out in their Mindful Free Expression Coloring practice. Remember, whatever you create is the perfect Expression of you in this moment!

At the end of the 5 minutes, lower the volume of the music or turn it off and ask a handful of students to reflect on the experience with the class. If students are shy, they can write a reflection sentence on the back of their paper to share with you.

Teacher’s tip: If students love this practice, you can definitely spend longer than 5 minutes.

Student’s tip: If you love this practice, you can definitely practice at home too. Mindful Free Expression Coloring is a great way to unwind if you have a lot going on in your head or feelings.

Mindful Coloring Series

Mindful Coloring Series

We are about to embark on a colorful series called Mindful Coloring. Mindful Coloring helps us get into a space of Mindfulness so that we can notice what is going on in our minds, bodies and emotions as we color. Mindful coloring is a great way to bring your attention back in, and also to express yourself through the colors and art you create. There is no judgment in Mindful Coloring: whatever you produce is a perfect expression of you!

The Mindful Coloring Series includes:15958612933_25e9c6f45b_o (2)

  1. Mindful Free Expression Coloring
  2. Mindful Mandala Coloring
  3. Create your own Mindful Mandala

The supplies you will need for these practices are:

  • Paper
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • Access to a printer (part II will need to be printed out- it is one page for each student)
  • Calming music (optional)

Expect to set aside 10 minutes for each practice. If you have time, 15 minutes is even better for the last two. Stay tuned for Mindful Coloring: Part I next week!

Different Nostril Breath

Different Nostril Breath

Teachers: Make sure you and your students are familiar with Full Mindful Breath (earlier in this series). It is important to practice this at least once before teaching so you can demonstrate for your students.

Begin reading here:

This week’s practice is Different Nostril Breath. It is a practice to make you feel calm, and also mindful of your body. Different Nostril Breath is also meant to challenge your brain a little bit to see if it is paying attention.

If you don’t know what your nostrils are, they are the places where you breathe into your nose. You have two nostrils: one on the right ( teacher: touch the right one to demonstrate) and one on the left (touch the right one to demonstrate). Now you try. Point to your right nostril. Good! Now point to your left nostril. Awesome! Different Nostril Breath uses both nostrils, so it is important to know right from left.

Different Nostril Breath doesn’t just have to do with your nose: the next step is to learn how our hands go in this practice. Hold up your right hand. Good. Now curl your pointing finger and the middle finger down (Teacher: hold up your hand to show them). I’m going to show you Different Nostril Breath one time before we practice together.

Keep your hand like this and cover your right nostril with your thumb. Take a Full Mindful Breath in to your left nostril. Then cover your left nostril with your ring and pinky fingers and breathe out of your right nostril. Now take a Full Mindful Breath into your right nostril. Then cover that nostril with your thumb and breathe out of your left one!

Now let’s try it together! If your nose is stuffy, just close your eyes and imagine following along with us. You can even hold your hand the same way, just don’t press down on your nostrils. Remember to keep your pointer and middle fingers down. Now cover your right nostril with your thumb. Take a Full Mindful Breath in to your left nostril. Then cover your left nostril with your ring and pinky fingers and breathe out of your right nostril. Now take a Full Mindful Breath into your right nostril. Then cover that nostril with your thumb and breathe out of your left one!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPractice that three more times. Thumb on right nostril, in-breath on the left. Pinky and ring on left nostril, out-breath on the right. In-breath on the right. Thumb covers right nostril and out-breath on the left. Imagine that you are breathing in and out slowly and softly, as if there is a feather under your nose and you are trying to keep it from blowing away!

Try one more time on your own. Remember to breathe softly and slowly. End on the left side (where you begin).

Great job! How did that feel? Was it hard for anyone?

Teacher: take some time for feedback and reflection from students on how that felt in their bodies.

Teacher’s Tip: This is a great practice to calm students down and get their brains into focus mode.

Student’s Tip: Practice Different Nostril Breath anytime you want to feel a little more calm in your mind and body. If you have a stuffy nose, remember to close your eyes and just imagine covering up your nostrils on each side.

Equal Breath

Equal Breath

Today’s practice is on Equal Breath. This practice helps us notice how long our in-breaths and out-breaths are, and then Mindfully change them so that they are the same length. There is no right or wrong way to do this practice, so just try your best. If you find that it doesn’t feel good in your body, practice Belly Breathing or Full Mindful Breath instead.

Equal Breath means we are breathing in for as much time as we are breathing out. So if our in-breath takes us to the count of three, our out-breath will take three counts too. The easiest way to understand the practice is to try it yourself, so let’s practice Equal Breath together.

Begin by finding a comfy seat and closing your eyes. Wiggle around a little to make sure you are really comfy, and then let your hands rest on your legs or knees. Relax your fingers here. Get really tall through the top of your head, and roll your shoulders down your back. If you’d like, you can imagine glitter from your Mindful Glitter Globe traveling from head to toe to help your body relax.

Once the imaginary glitter reaches your toes, begin to notice your breath. See if your breaths are long or short. Also see if your breaths go all the way into your belly, or if they only go into your chest. If you can, let your in breath fill up your belly, and let your out breath empty your belly (Belly Breathing). Then begin to move your in-breath through your belly, all the way into your chest for Full Mindful Breath. Let the out-breath move down from your chest, through your belly and out of your nose.

Once you find your Full Mindful Breath, see if you can count the time it takes for you to breathe in. It’s okay if you don’t get it exactly! Just notice about how much time it takes. Then see if you can count the time it takes for you to breathe out. A lot of the time one is longer than the other. In this practice we will see if we can make them even, and just notice how it feels.

Take your next breath in for 3…2…1 and hold for just a second. Then take your next breath out for 3…2…1 and hold out for just a second. Try that two more times on your own and notice how that feels as you breathe normally after [pause 15 seconds].

Now we’re going to make our in breath and out breath just a little longer. If this doesn’t feel good in your body, just stick with 3 counts. Take your next in breath for 5…4…3…2…1 and hold for just a second. Then take your next out breath for 5…4…3…2…1 and hold out for just a second. Try this 3 more times on your own, either for a 3 count or a 5 count like we just did. When you finish, breathe normally and notice how you feel and how that felt for you to practice [teacher: pause for 1-1.5 min].

When you are done, slowly open your eyes and come back into the room.

What did you notice in that practice [teachers take some reflections from students]?

Student’s Tip: You can practice Equal Breath anytime you want to notice how you are breathing. Equal Breath can help you slow down your breathing to take longer breaths in and longer breaths out. If you do practice Equal Breath on your own, try practicing Belly Breathing and Full Mindful Breath right before so that you can make your breath bigger before slowing it down.

Teacher’s Tip: It can be helpful for students to be familiar with Belly Breathing and Full Mindful Breath before this practice (if they aren’t already). This practice also refers to our Mindful Glitter Globe series, so that may be a good practice to do beforehand as well, or you can just take out the sentences about the Glitter Globe.

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Full Mindful Breath

Full Mindful Breath is the first practice in our Mindful Breathing Practice Series. We will use the skills we’ve learned from Belly Breathing and Glitter Globe Body Scan to try out a deeper breathing practice.

Begin by finding a comfy seat or standing position, depending on where you are and the space you have available. Make your spine even taller by reaching up through the crown of your head. Allow your eyes to gently close if that is comfortable, and bring one hand to your belly, one hand to your heart.

Begin to notice your breath. Is it big or small? Long or short? See if you can begin to change your breath into Belly Breathing. Fill up your belly on the in-breath, and let it become empty on the out-breath. Do this for three more rounds.

On the fourth round, begin to fill up your belly on the in-breath, and then see if you can fill your body up with breath even more, so that the in-breath fills up your heart space too! You might notice the hand on your heart lift up a little at the top of your in-breath. On the out breath, empty from your heart space, all the way down to your belly, and out of your nose! You might notice that when you got to the top of your breath, your belly pulled in a little bit. That is okay! Every body is different, so it is okay if your belly didn’t pull in a little bit.

Let’s practice one more time together. On the in breath, imagine that the air you take in is like a wave. It moves down your nose, into your belly to fill it up, then keeps going all the way up to your heart space. Your heart space is like the sea shore. Once it gets there, just like a wave, you can hold your breath for just a second, then let it roll out of your body, starting at your chest, moving through your belly and out of your nose.

Now try this five more times on your own! Notice how your hands may lift and lower when you take your in-breath, and out-breath.

When you finish the fifth time, close your eyes and notice how you feel.

[teacher bring them back after everyone has been finished for 30 seconds- 1 minute depending on how still they are]

How did that feel? What did you notice?

Teachers Tip: It might be helpful to show students a clip of an ocean wave before or after practicing to help them visualize the practice. Also remind students that if the breath is uncomfortable, they can stop at any time (ex. if a student has really bad allergies, is sick, or has asthma).

Students Tip: You can practice this breathing any time you’d like. It can help you hit the pause button if there’s a lot going on, and come back to a place of calm.

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Mindful Breathing Practice Series

Mindful Breathing Practice Series

Over the next few weeks we will introduce Mindful Breathing Practices as a three-part series.

  1. Full Mindful Breath
  2. Equal Breath
  3. Different Nostril Breath

We have already practiced some different kinds of breath and body awareness, and the Mindful Breathing Practice Series will build off of the ones we’ve learned before.

Practices that will be helpful to review for the coming weeks are:

  • Belly Breathing
  • Glitter Globe Body Scan

These practices will be referred to in the Mindful Breathing Practice Series, so it will be very helpful for teachers and students to be familiar and comfortable with them before moving on.

The most important thing to pay attention to with your students is how they are feeling. If a practice doesn’t feel good in their body, they are always welcome to stay at an earlier practice.

Stay tuned for the series!

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