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Mindfulness in Education

An introduction to mindfulness practices for you and implementation in school.

Brian Aikens

on 21 January 2019

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Transcript of Mindfulness in Education

Mindfulness in Education

Cultivating mindful awareness practices, we learn to become aware of our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviors so we can interrupt stress cycles before they increase out of control.


What is mindfulness?
How is mindfulness linked to neuroscience?
What does the research say about mindfulness?
Mindful awareness practices for you!
What do mindful awareness practices look like in the classroom?

Mindfulness Definition
in a
particular way
; on
, in the
present moment
, and

here and now
, with
kindness and curiosity
, so that we can
choose our behavior

what is happening

inside and outside

to what is happening
Make it relevant to them: stress, anxiety, teen pressures
Teach students how to pay attention through short, fun, interactive movement practices
Use at the beginning of the day, after lunch, and before the end of the day - 5 minute practice
Focus Flashlight
What Is Mindfulness?

a religious experience
sitting with your legs crossed for hours
a problem solver
goal oriented: absence of thought
relaxation exercise
about being calm
disciplinary tool for classroom management
The History of Mindfulness
variations have been used for thousands of years in many contemplative traditions
introduced into secular application in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
has become a renowned mainstream influence in medicine, psychology, corporate environments, law, sports, work with veterans, and now education
a new and rapidly growing field...
How Does Mindfulness Help?

Benefits for You
decreased physical and psychological symptoms
more responsive to student needs (less emotionally reactive)
reduction in pain levels
decreased depression, anxiety, stress
improved sleep
increased mental and emotional health
greater energy and enthusiasm for life
improved self esteem
(Center for Mindfulness, University of
Benefits for
Mindfulness with Youth
and the Brain
We grow our brains in
particular ways by using
them in particular ways.
The Prefrontal Cortex
Decision making, planning,
organizing, integrating
intention to pay attention
emotional balance and regulation
body regulation
The Amygdala
Emotional center
The Hippocampus
Responsible for memory
Stress inhibits:
storing information
recalling information
Mindfulness and the
Common Core

The experience of turning
everything off, sitting still
and being able to sustain your
thoughts develops the cognitive
flexibility needed for the analytical
skills, critical thinking, and problem
solving that are a hallmark of the
Common Core standards.
Adults Resources
Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything - Deborah Schoeberlein David
Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness in and out of the Classroom - Meena Srinivasan
Mindful Parenting: Simple and Powerful Solutions for Raising Creative, Engaged, Happy Kids in Today's Hectic World - Kristen Race
Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom - Patricia Jennings
How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness - Jan Chozen Bays
Mindfulness In Plain English - Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

Children Resources
Zach Gets Frustrated - William Mulcahy
Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) - Eline Snel
Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda - Lauren Alderfer
Charlotte and the Quiet Place - Deborah Sosin
Mindful Moments: Trevor's Tale - Jenny Mills
More Resources...
Google Drive Folders
"When I do it, I'm not
just helping them, I'm
helping myself."
-1st grade teacher
What Mindfulness is not...
...and mindful teachers are
more likely to create
caring classrooms
My intentions utilizing mindful awareness practices with myself and my students is to bring awareness to how they think about, understand, and manage their emotions and behaviors so they can choose a positive behavior.

Why is that important?
(Jon Kabat-Zinn, 1994, pg4)
(Amy Saltzman, 2014, pg49)
(Jenny Mills,
50% of educators leave the profession within 5 years. Special education educators leave within 1 year.
Classroom Application
awareness on outer
focus to inner focus

For You
Formal Practices
Pick one or two activities to do per day and spend 5 -15 minutes reflecting on all the parts of life: your happiness, sadness, successes, challenges, pain, and bliss.
Keep a daily journal of your practice
Find a quiet place
Set time for you
Be patient
Informal Practices
Brief activities that take only a moment to do, but give you a needed check-in when things are becoming overly stressful or mundane
Choose a "routine" activity usually done on automatic pilot - brushing teeth, showering, washing the dishes, stopped at a light, waiting in line etc. - and do it with awareness this week.
Mindful Awareness
Mindful Walking
Mindful Eating
Awareness of Breath
Let's breathe - Qualities of Meditative Breathing - Karina Mirksy
Silent, Balanced, Smooth, Connected
How to
get started
Walking into school - set intentions
Leaving school - 3 grateful moments
Phone notifications - breathe before you pick up
Waking up - awareness of your body and mind
Smile stickers
Bell of Mindfulness on the computer
Be Calm Breathing
5 Super Senses
Listening - Bell/Sounds
Seeing - Rainbow Walk
Tasting - Eating
Touch - 3 Letter Word
Smell - Flower
Breathing & Awareness of our body
Be Calm Breathing
Chill Skills
Mindful Movements
Eyeball Yoga
The Wave
Let's practice
1 minute Meditation
Contact Information

Apps & Websites
Insight Timer
Smiling Mind
Mindfulness Bell
Stop, Breathe, & Think
Mindfulness Daily
The Mindfulness Training App
Classroom Toolkit
Zach Gets Frustrated book by William Mulcahy (Frustration Triangle)
3 Chill Skills
Rainbow Walk for Transitions (walk around the classroom or hallways and notice the colors of the rainbow. ROY G BIV. Walk slowly and quietly. Take an in-breath and take 3 steps, out-breath and take 3 steps.)
Bunny Breathing/3-4-5 Breathing for Calming (breathe quickly 3 time through the nose, exhale through the mouth. Repeat./Breath in for 3 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breath out for 5 seconds. Repeat.
Sitting Still Like A Frog for Movement (On all fours like a frog sitting still. Hop in place like a frog, when the students hear "Sit Like A Frog", they stop and control their movement while breathing with control like a frog. Repeat.)
Mindful Bell that rings every 30 mins for consistent reminders of relaxation and pause. I ask students to take 3 long slow breaths and notice when they are breathing in and breathing out.
Mindful Jar
Science of the Brain - education on what occurs when stressed and when calm - Fantastic Elastic Brain book
Planting Seeds - education of growing healthy seeds of happiness in our brain (Inside Out Movie is a helpful comparison)
Stage of Awareness
Attempt to watch whatever sensations, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and emotions arise during the next few minutes, observing them, but not getting carried away by them
We have 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day
Our mind plays a significant role in our life
3R's - Reflection, Relationships, & Resilience
Hand Brain Model
Palm is your nervous system
Thumb represents the amygdala
Finger nails represent your prefrontal cortex
#1 predictor of happiness is strong positive relationships
Practicing mindfulness can decrease stress and enhance well-being. This in turn will improve the learning environment in the classroom and students will become more effective learners. Most, if not all, children can benefit from learning to focus their attention, to become less reactive, and to be more compassionate with themselves and others.
(Brian W. Aikens
MRI scans have shown that after an 8-week mindfulness course there is a reduction in the size of the amygdala which is associated with the initiation of the body's stress response. While the amygdala shrinks the prefrontal cortex becomes thicker. The prefrontal cortex is reponsible for executive functioning or higher-order functioning such as awareness, concentration and decision making.
Teen Resources
How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness - Jan Chozen Bays
Mindfulness In Plain English - Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
Wide Awake: A Buddhist Guide for Teens - Diana Winston
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life - Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness for Teen Anxiety - Christopher Willard
A Still Quiet Place for Teens - Amy Saltzman
The Mindful Teen -Dzung X. Vo

Social Media
@Insight_Minds • @4allmindfulness
@thichnhathanh • @MindfulOnline
@TheMindfulTeen • @DzungXVo
@mindfuleveryday • @youthmindful
@StressedTeens • @GreaterGoodSC
@ThomStecher • @gbiegel
@TaraBrach • @JackKornfield
Use this exercise to quickly ground yourself in the present when you only have a moment. The goal is to notice something that you are currently experiencing through each of your senses.

What are 5 things you can see? Look around you and notice 5 things you have not noticed before. Maybe a pattern on a wall, light reflecting from a surface, or a knick-knack in the corner of a room.
What are 4 things you can feel? Maybe you can feel the pressure of your feet on the floor, your shirt resting on your shoulders, or the temperature on your skin. Pick up an object and notice its texture.
What are 3 things you can hear? Notice all the background sounds you had been filtering out, such as an air conditioning, birds chirping, or cars on a distant street.
What are 2 things you can smell? Maybe you can smell flowers, coffee, or freshly cut grass. It does not have to be a nice smell either: maybe there’s an overflowing trash can or sewer.
What is 1 thing you can taste? Pop a piece of gum in your mouth, sip a drink, eat a snack if you have one, or simply notice how your mouth tastes. “Taste” the air to see how it feels on your tongue.

The numbers for each sense are only a guideline. Feel free to do more or less of each. Also, try
this exercise while doing an activity like washing dishes, listening to music, or going for a walk.
Students who meditate before an exam perform better than those who do not
improved focus and concentration
increased self awareness & self esteem
skillful responses to difficult situations
decreased stress, anxiety, and depression (ability to calm down when upset)
increased empathy (for self and others)
improved sleep
greater energy and enthusiasm for life
(Deborah Schoeberlein, 2009, pg. 9 &
Center for Mindfulness, University of
Increase Social Emotional Wellness with the 10/5/2 Rule
Within 10 feet from someone, acknowledge them with a smile, head nod, eye contact
Within 5 feet of someone, make a verbal connection - say hello, howdy, good morning, how are you, what's up
Within 2 feet of someone, make physical contact - high five, fist bump, hug, hand shake
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