Tuesday, March 31, 2020

At-Home Yoga and Movement Videos for Kids

Yoga with Adriene
(15 minutes)

With so many schools closed right now, I'm postponing the content I'd originally intended for this week and focusing on at-home resources for parents and teachers. 

This video playlist could be useful for:
  • parents looking to get some exercise with their kids while under 'stay at home' or 'shelter in place' restrictions; and/or
  • teachers who'd like to assign movement to their students while they're not in their regular PE classes, yoga sessions, recess, etc.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Four Mindfulness Games for One or More Children

photo courtesy Sara J. Weis

by Sara J. Weis, adapted from her book Go Go Yoga for Kids, Vol 3: Yoga Games & Activities for Children

To an adult, a child’s life may often seem relatively carefree. We tend to forget that being a child means consistently encountering different circumstances and experiences. Their emotions are big and often hard to tackle. Taking a moment to breathe, stretch, and move mindfully helps them become more focused, calm, alert, and ready to learn.

Go Go Yoga for Kids: Yoga Games & Activities for Children has more than 150 fun yoga games, activities, poses and challenges for small or large groups of kids aged 2-14.

The following four activities for one or more children don’t require a lot of space or any special equipment. They can be used in the classroom or with your own kid(s) at home.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

4 Tips for Coping with Anxiety and Cabin Fever

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

by Catharine Hannay 

With the increasing spread of coronavirus around the world, I decided to postpone the post I'd originally planned for today. Instead, I'd like to focus on strategies for coping with the anxiety and cabin fever so many of us are feeling: It's an understandable reaction as our communities face increasing numbers of victims and are implementing increasingly strict safety precautions.

Many people find breath-based practices helpful in coping with anxiety, and that's certainly a very good option.

But to be perfectly honest, that's not what I've been doing personally.

Instead, I have the following four coping strategies during the corona crisis (and at other times when I've been stuck at home worrying for various reasons). I hope they'll be helpful to you, as well.

1. Limit Checking the News 

Find out as much as you truly need to know. Then stop checking for the day. Don't get caught up in a stressful cycle of checking, checking, checking when there isn't any new or helpful information. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Video Playlist: Mindful (vs. Clueless) Communication

by Catharine Hannay

Here's the latest in the popular series of video playlists for teachers. This time the focus is on mindful speech and communication issues in the modern world.

I've tried to include something for everyone, so there's a wide range of videos--from Sesame Street to lectures and short films for adults or mature teens. 
After each section, I've included a few suggested questions for discussion or reflective writing. 

As always, use your own best judgment about what's appropriate for your particular context. 

Tips on Mindful Speaking and Listening

Mindful Speaking

Joelle (a licensed therapist) gives some
quick tips for mindful speech.
(3 minutes)

Active Listening 

Student Katie Owens explains
why it's important to Be. Here. Now.
(3 minutes)

Elmo Knows How to Listen

Elmo (who's dressed like a chicken for some reason) 
sings about whole body listening.
(1 minute)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Growing Stronger Even in a Crisis Situation: Mindful Practices to Use Throughout the Day

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

By Ira Rabois

We are, all of us, in a situation few of us, maybe none of us, have ever faced before. It is frightening, because of that newness and because it poses a threat to our health, the health of people we know and care about, and the school
s and society that we know and care about.

But how we respond to it is extremely important. We can’t control the situation. But we can control how we respond. 

If we take control, plan our days and our time and our actions, then we can feel more powerful. We can do something. We grow stronger. 

And as teachers, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility not only to stay healthy, develop our own practice and maintain as clear a mind as we can, but help our students and their families do the same.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Emotions, Thoughts, Self-Compassion, and Self-Awareness

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels 

by Catharine Hannay

One of my main goals is to help teachers quickly and easily find the resources you need, for personal practice and for teaching adults or kids. This includes the hundreds of posts here at MindfulTeachers.org, as well as high-quality links from other sources. 

This time the focus is on noticing and accepting (without necessarily acting on) on our thoughts and feelings.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Tips, Practices, and Activities for Mindful Communication

Photo by Jopwell from Pexels

by Catharine Hannay

One of my main goals here at Mindful Teachers is helping educators quickly and easily find the resources you need. Here's a collection of useful tips, practices, and activities to help adults and kids express themselves honestly and kindly in a complex, interconnected world.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Three Dangerous Misunderstandings About Mindfulness (guest post)

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

by Catharine Hannay

I have a new guest post at the Center for Adolescent Studies blog:

The above photo shows the type of stereotypical image that’s often used to illustrate ‘mindfulness’ or ‘meditation.’ To be fair, it can be challenging to find an image that accurately represents an abstract idea, like a state of awareness. But it’s important to do our best not to spread inaccurate depictions of mindfulness. 
Three typical misunderstandings are particularly damaging: 

  • Dangerous Misunderstanding #1: “Mindfulness comes from Buddhism.”
  • Dangerous Misunderstanding #2: “Mindfulness will make you happier.”
  • Dangerous Misunderstanding #3: “Just take a deep breath.”

It may seem extreme to use the word ‘dangerous.’ There is a grain of truth in each of these statements, but they’re oversimplifications that can lead to confusion, and in some cases, real harm. 
The first misunderstanding causes tensions between secular teachers and people of faith, which has led to a number of lawsuits about mindfulness in public schools. 
The second misunderstanding can lead to disappointment and frustration, and may cause youth to give up on mindfulness before they can benefit from it. 
And the third misunderstanding can increase the suffering of youth who are recovering from grief or trauma.

You can read the full post at  https://centerforadolescentstudies.com/three-dangerous-misunderstandings-about-mindfulness/

Friday, February 28, 2020

Mindfulness Tips from a First-Grade Teacher and Children's Author

Kathy Marvel is a first grade teacher in Arvada, Colorado who teaches mindfulness to adults and kids. She is co-author, with Dr. Kristen Race, of And She Said Breathe, the story of a six-year-old girl who uses different types of breathing to face challenges throughout her day. Kathy offers a popular workshop on Children’s Mindfulness, which includes the breathing strategies in And She Said Breathe and a make-and-take ‘sparkle jar.’ thesunshinespotlight.com

In this Q+A, Kathy discusses how she teaches mindfulness and self-care to the kids in her class, and how she makes time to practice what she preaches.

You’ve been an elementary school teacher for twenty-five years. What’s changed, and what’s stayed the same, since you first began teaching?

The thing that never changes is the kids and their excitement for learning! Those cute little faces looking at you ready to learn, ready to discover, and ready to soak up all that you have to give them. 

The thing that has changed is the ability to focus for longer than 15 seconds. With the technology boom in recent years, I’ve noticed the ability to focus among our young children has diminished. We’ve got kids and adults alike addicted to technology at epidemic levels.