Activities and Teaching Resources




Resources for practicing and teaching mindfulness and meditation, kindness and compassion, generosity and gratitude, social responsibility and social-emotional skills.

Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash

    Are You New to Teaching Mindfulness?

    Many teachers find this site because they've heard about the benefits of mindfulness and are looking for 'mindfulness scripts' or activities. 

    Please don't teach your students meditation or formal mindfulness practices unless you have experience doing these practices yourself and have some training in working with the student population you plan to teach.

    You may actually want to leave this page for now and go to the Start Here page, which has advice on teaching different ages of students in different contexts. 




    Activities for Practicing and Teaching Mindfulness, Compassion, Gratitude, and Social-Emotional Skills


    I've gotten a lot of requests to use these activities in various contexts, and I've found some of this content illegally copied onto other sites.  Please link to these activities; do not copy them to your own site.  (If you'd like to use them for anything other than your own personal practice or teaching your current students, please see the Frequently-Asked Questions for information on permissions and copyright issues.) 

    Several of the following are sample/promotional activities from books on teaching mindfulness. If you really like an activity from a particular book, I encourage you to buy the book in order to see the activity in context and find more lessons that will work well with your students. (Purchasing a book also helps to support the author. I don’t have an Amazon affiliate account and don’t track or benefit from purchases made through links from this site.)



    Noncompetitive Games and Group Activities  
    This might be a good place to start if you teach kids and don't have training in teaching mindfulness.  (You might also be interested in the gratitude and five senses activities for individuals or groups, in the section below.)


      Activities for Individuals or Groups 
      The following practices and activities should be appropriate or adaptable for most contexts: adults or kids, individually or in a class.  (Within reason: I'm obviously not advocating that groups of children start driving, but the 'Red, Orange, Yellow' practice best fits in the five senses category.) 


      Five Senses 

      Gratitude

      Effective Communication/Mindful Speech/Relational Mindfulness 
      These are particularly appropriate for teens. (The 'case studies' are short examples of skillful and unskillful speech.)



      Class Discussion Topics 
      Many of these would also be appropriate for journaling or as reflective writing assignments.
      • What is Mindfulness? quotations about mindfulness meditation, informal mindfulness practice, and nonjudgmental awareness.
      • Song Playlists with Discussion Questions
      All About the Breathsongs about breath-based meditation, breathing through strong emotions, and 'the moments that take your breath away'
      Are You Happy?: songs about feeling happy, looking on the bright side, and pretending to be happy while hiding our true feelings
      Be Here Now: songs about growing up, seasons changing, remembering the past, and appreciating the present moment
      Change the World: songs about diversity, unity, love for humanity, and making a difference
      Songs about Kindness and Compassion (part 1 of 2)songs about treating each other with compassion, empathy, and kindness
      Songs about Kindness and Compassion (part 2 of 2): songs about discrimination, understanding people from different backgrounds, and taking action to help others 
      Songs about Gratitude (part 1 of 2): songs offering thanks to specific people; songs expressing appreciation for life itself
      Songs about Gratitude (part 2 of 2): more songs about appreciating our circumstances and our loved ones 
      Songs about Nature and the Environmentsongs about protecting the environment, appreciating nature, and treating all creatures with respect and compassion
      Regret and Forgivenesssongs about apologizing, reconciliation, and forgiving ourselves and others
      Songs about Self-Acceptance: songs about being true to ourselves and recognizing our own strength and vulnerability
      What is Love? (part 1 of 2): songs about friends, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren
      What is Love? (part 2 of 2): songs about healthy and unhealthy romantic relationships
      • Video Playlists with Discussion Questions
      Any of these videos would be appropriate for adults or teens. Most of them are also appropriate for younger kids, but please watch the full video before deciding what to share with your class.
      Creative Ways to Make a Difference: short videos about people with unique abilities and inclinations supporting the community in creative and unusual ways.
      Videos about Kindness, Compassion, and Service (part 1):  short videos about small acts of kindness and large acts of philanthropy. 
      Videos about Kindness, Compassion, and Service (part 2): short videos about empathy and aid for people from different backgrounds.

      Mindful Movement
      Especially if you don't have training or experience teaching yoga or other forms of mindful movement, please try these movements yourself a few times before teaching them to others. 


      Meditation and Formal Mindfulness Practice
      These are appropriate for personal practice or for use by teachers with an established personal practice and preferably some training in teaching mindfulness and meditation.



      Emotions and Thoughts    
      These are appropriate for teaching kids if you have an established personal mindfulness practice.


      Compassion, Self-Compassion, and Self-Awareness
      These are appropriate for adults or mature teens. If you plan to use them in teaching others, please respect participants' decisions about how much they choose to share with the group.






      Links to Resources on Compassion, Meditation, Social-Emotional Learning, and related topics    


      Sesame Street in Communities has resources for helping young children cope with grief and trauma.

      Benefits of Meditation from learnrelaxationtechniques.com

      Bullybust.org has film clips about different types of bullying, with discussion questions and teaching guides.   Plus videos of ‘Upstanders’—bystanders who stand up for those who are bullied.

      Classroom Lessons on Social-Emotional Learning and sensitively teaching current and controversial issues, from the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility.
        
      The Coalition to Support Grieving Students: "The site covers a range of grief-related topics to provide training resources specially designed for school professionals."                     

      Fables to Grow On, to promote social and emotional learning, as well as literacy skills    

      Five Reasons We Can't Ignore Social-Emotional Learning by Sasha Briggs at InformED

      FindaSit.com is a new site where you can search for a meditation group near you



      Here's What Will Happen to You When Your Body, Mind, and Soul When You Meditate, from BookMeditationRetreats.com
        
      Lesson Plans on civil rights, immigration, and discrimination from Teaching Tolerance    

      Love Is Respect has resources on healthy relationships vs. dating abuse.

      No Stigmas has a directory of mental health resources  and a peer support group.    
        
      Online Yoga Resources for Every Body: This is a list I put together of the best advice on teaching yoga to those of us who don't fit the profile of a "typical" yoga student.  (For example, because of a larger body or a disability.)       
        





      15 comments:

      1. Some great ideas here, I love Giant Strides, Rainbow Walk and Marble Roll. For some of my own ideas check out my recent blog post Mindfulness in the Classroom: some helpful suggestions http://www.joyfulmind.net.au/blog. And You Tube clip of my colleague Bobbi Allan and me from Mindfulness in Education http://www.mindfuleducation.com.au/ teaching at school last year. Shakti Burke at work in the classroom at Mindfulness in Education at Dunoon Public School https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry-sRjRFIW8.
        Great site, great ideas, wonderful to share. Thank you.

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      2. Thanks for sharing these links, Shakti:
        There are some great suggestions for elementary school teachers at http://www.joyfulmind.net.au/blog/mindfulness-in-the-classroom-some-helpful-suggestions

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      3. These are wonderful! Permission to use a few of these for a unit plan for high school teachers? I won't be charging anything or making money on it - I just want to spread the word.

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        1. This second post is so that comments will get sent to my email. =)

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        2. Hi Joshua, I'm delighted that you're finding the activities useful. Permissions are a little complicated because I created some of the activities and others I have permission to post here but not to publish elsewhere---Could you email me at mindfulteachers@gmail.com to discuss this?

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      4. Due to a strange html error, this page disappeared a few minutes ago, and I'm trying to figure out what's going on. I will probably need to recreate the whole thing based on an old saved version on my laptop... Thanks for your patience as I get it back online...

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        1. I have no idea why, but it seems to be working to strip out the html and have the site automatically re-html itself. (Is there a technical term for that?) In any case, thanks for your patience as I got everything back online. This is by far the most popular page on MindfulTeachers.org, so let's just say this has been a challenging test of my 'mindful breathing'. (I confess that my first response was to yell, "Oh, [drat]!" In a calm and mindful way, of course.)

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      5. I am looking for approximately eight minute long mindful movement videos to show to students in the classroom. Does anyone have suggestions of where I should look?

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        1. I'm not sure what age your students are, but here are a couple of possibilities.
          a 9-minute video with yoga for kids:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmeTZGr_R5Q
          an 8-minute video of Thich Nhat Hanh's '10 mindful movements', apparently from Thai television, but with instructions in English:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-gEO12BVNU

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      6. Great list of resources. It's going to take a while to explore all of these. Bookmarked!

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        1. Thanks for your comment. I'm so glad you found this page useful. :-)

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      7. I agree, it's essential to establish a personal meditation practice before teaching meditation to others. I would like to share two of favourite guided meditation resources - hope they help you as much with your personal practice as they do mine. http://www.againstthestream.org/category/audio-catergory/meditation/ and https://mindfulnessandpsychotherapy.com/podcast/.

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        Replies
        1. Thanks for your comment, Lottie. Those look like great resources.

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      8. I would love to hear about your favorite non-triggering music. I am a teacher as well and want something appropriate and neutral for all students. Thank you! Great post, very insightful :)

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        1. Hi Jessica, thanks for your comment. Could you give a bit more information about your students? My background is in English as a Second/Foreign Language, mostly for ages 16+, so I’m not sure whether the types of songs I’ve used personally would be appropriate for your context. If not, I’d be happy to post a request on Facebook or contact one of my colleagues who has more expertise with your student population. (If you’d prefer not to post that information publicly, you can reach me at mindfulteachers[at]gmail[dot]com.)

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