Line of inquiry: How can we train ourselves to be focused and relaxed and more positive?
Grade range: K-3
Group size: This can be done with a whole class of 20-25 students. Students who are struggling with sitting still may be invited to sit with the facilitator
Materials: A small bell
Activity Objective: Help students find a quiet place to rest their minds.
Time: This activity can take between 20-40 minutes.
Skills: Critical thinking skills, communication, cooperation
Space: This can be done in a classroom with desks moved to form large central area or a gym or playground
Directions: The facilitator will ask the students to sit cross-legged in a large circle. It might be a good time to sing a little song that they all know to get them focused and ready.
- First, practice breathing, in two three, out two three, just like waltz time. Students should try breathing in through their nose and out through their mouth. (Maybe 5 repetitions) Then the facilitator will show them how to extend their breath to 5 counts in and 5 counts out. Remind students the exercise will not be complete until they hear the bell tinkle, it should be small so students must be very quiet to hear it.
- Second, students should close their eyes and just listen to the facilitator who will guide them as they breathe.
- Third, the teacher will help them visualize as they breathe by describing a beautiful serene setting, the students should be invited to add to the scene in their mind.
- Finally, the facilitator will guide the students back by counting their breaths. The facilitator will shake the bell; the students can slowly open their eyes, and before they move, ask everyone to smile.
Extensions: This activity can be part of a full week; it gets the students quiet and helps them learn how to listen. Students can then draw the place they imagined. Weekly practice can make this an important part of a classroom community.
Reflection: How do you feel after the exercise? Are you more relaxed? Did you have trouble staying focused?
Notes: Depending on the age and size of the group, this activity can go really smoothly. With a large group, it might be helpful to break into two or three smaller groups.