Being a teenager can be such a difficult time. As a person that observes teenagers both in my personal and professional life, I have seen them struggle with out of control emotions, changing bodies that can cause physical pain or discomfort, negative self-talk, and a general inability to focus on what is important. Why not give them the tool to help them deal with these changes: mindfulness.
It is amazing how something as simple as taking a few moments each day to focus on your breath can have such a profound impact on the learning environment in your classroom. Why aren't we all teaching mindfulness?
Has your school adopted a schedule that includes an advisory period? What do you do with this time?
This school year we implemented a schedule change that added a fifteen minute advisory period to the beginning of our school day. I was allowed to come up with a plan for how I would use this time. I say "allowed" because I know that in many schools, teachers are often given directives of what to do and are "allowed" to give very little input. I am fortunate that I don't work in that kind of school. I had complete freedom to create a curriculum for my advisory class and was excited about this amazing opportunity. Now what do I do with this time? I started out by making lists of things I thought would be good and things I did not think the time should or could be used for.
Make Time for Mindfulness and Reap the Benefits
Getting "Buy In" From Teens
When I first began a mindfulness practice in my class, there were (and still are) some students that just didn't "buy in" to it. They would giggle, goof around while my eyes were closed, fidget and make noises that distracted others who were sincerely trying to focus on the sit. After teaching some of the following lessons, I have buy-in from almost %100 of my class. I am still working on that last student; it seems like the students that are most resistant to practicing mindfulness are the ones that need it the most. I am also still working on my teens (at home) as well.
March Madness isn't just for basketball. I don't know what it is about March; the impending doom of standardized testing, the clock running out on a school year with so much left to teach, or too much time without sunshine after a long winter. The problem with all of these thoughts is that they are past thoughts and future thoughts.
Rethinking the Time Out Chair:
I am a lifelong learner and have had the privilege of also being called a teacher for eighteen years.
Like this blog? Are you a middle school English teacher? Check out my 20% time project. Genius Hour isn't just for students; my passion project is called "The Book Somm." It's a separate blog dedicated entirely to my love of literature. I read books and build a menu of paired texts and lessons around the YA novels that I love.