Mindful Morning Meetings

Creative prompts to support SEL
 

Illustration 12: RE-Membering Things Before Pain and Suffering

If you look closely, the boy in this illustration has cracks on the side of his face, one arm and one leg.

He isn’t REALLY cracking, but I wanted to show how sometimes things at home or at school get so hard, it FEELS like your body is breaking up.

Yoga helps us reconnect with our bodies. We become grateful that our legs hold us up, that our arms and hands can reach, that our bodies are strong and help us breathe.

We might not totally LOVE ourselves straight away, but maybe it helps us like ourselves a bit more.

Over time, connecting with your body and feeling in awe of what your body is capable of -- it helps you RE-member a time before your body felt any cracks or any pain.

What are you grateful for that your body can do?

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.


Illustration 11: My. Mind. Is. Calm

In their busy day -- and ours! -- students may not have the time to reinforce affirming positive statements. My combining finger tapping and repetition of mantras, students stay engaged and are less likely to be distracted by things around the classroom.

Consider repeating this phrase in a call-and-response style and decrease the volume each time so that the last round is in silence.

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.


Illustration 10: All About That Base(line)

This image has been inspired by RULER, an evidence-based approach for integrating social and emotional learning into schools, developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

Have a discussion with students about what color they're on when they start the day. This can range from the highly energized red to the lethargic blue. What different environments do we come from and how does it affect us? 

During the day we may notice a shift and we ebb and flow between different colors. Meditation -- sitting still and listening to our bodies -- improves our awareness. Perhaps students can identify their face getting warm, their palms sweating or feeling their bodies slump and their eyes get heavy. Noticing these changes and help prevent us from staying on a color that we don't like or makes us do things we regret and don't mean.

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.


Illustration 9: Tree’ting Yourself To Yoga On And Off The Mat

Yoga and meditation have been part of the Seattle Seahawks training regimen since 2011

Quarterback, Russell Wilson, even schedules private meditation sessions to work on visualizing being in the moment, innovative and open. 

If we can't focus on our goals and the best version of ourselves when we're sitting down in silence -- how can we do it on the court or field when there are so many distractions? 

Practicing focus and stillness in challenging yoga poses helps us find that same calm in any situation.

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.


Illustration 8: Meditation Is What You Make It

Misty Copeland says, “Ballet class is a form of meditation for me. It’s something that I do every single morning, and it’s nice to have a space in time where your body knows that you’re working to become stronger.” She adds, “There are times before shows where I put on music and focus on my breathing just to stay calm and not get too nervous about the performance.”

There are many definitions of meditation (such as these from Yogapedia and Yoga International). Some themes are consistent: a single-pointed focus to eliminate external distractions.

So, choose your own adventure. Focus on:

  1. Sound - such as repeating a phrase of listening to waves crashing

  2. Visuals - gazing at a candle of glitter jar

  3. Breathing - simply observing the body's natural movements when sitting still and breathing

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.


Illustration 7: Putting Mindfulness Eggs In The Basket(ball)

Mindful breathing and finding your sense of calm isn’t just for the yoga mat or classroom. Mindful breathing supports athletes on the court; performers on the stage; friends in disagreement; and more.

Bringing calm and kind attention to breathing helps us:

  • Persevere through a challenge

  • Stay calm under pressure

  • Return to a peaceful state

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.


Illustration 6: Same, Same, But Compassion

Activating the vagus nerve powers the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for unconscious functions like breathing and digestion) and is linked with Oxycontin networks (which help us empathize).

What's the secret to activating the vagus nerve? Exercising compassion and understanding the universality of suffering. Read the research.

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.

In partnership with  @korean.koala .

In partnership with @korean.koala.


Illustration 5: More Moments, More Patience

From meta moments to brain breaks, our kids are getting better at recognizing when they need to step away from the big group. But what happens next? Steer kids away from the panting and pouting and encourage them to massage their brains to help soothe their feelings and improve their focus. Read more of the research on the benefits of massage.

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.

In partnership with  @korean.koala .

In partnership with @korean.koala.


Illustration 4: Focus Makes Perfect

A basketball player at the free-throw line. The final moments before beating the big boss on the final level of a video game. There a moments we are all focused on one thing.

Sometimes we have to find out own business so we can stay focused. How do we do this? Bring your attention back to your breath. It's something you can do anywhere at any time. Breathe in and feel your belly and chest inflate with air. Breathe out and feel the air release from your body slowly. Notice how your nostrils, throat and shoulders feel.

At school when other people are loud, when busy streets are a distraction -- come back to focusing just on your breath to help block everything else out. It takes practice not to react to everything that happens around you.

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.

In partnership with  @korean.koala .

In partnership with @korean.koala.


Illustration 3: The Struggle Is Feel

Whether it's out of convenience or a result of the pressure and demands I face, I notice I've historically pushed kids to "move on", "get over it" or that there'll be another opportunity "next time".

That's a disservice. For many of our students who have special needs, the concept of time is a challenge and "next time" is not tangible. Suppressing feelings now leads the feelings to shoot out like a machete gun later. For example.... I'm disappointed I lost a game? That reminds me of how my brother used to call me a "loser". I've never been smart of talented enough. That's why I'm always last to get chosen. Something is wrong with me.

Instead, encourage students to completely feel that yucky feeling in the moment -- exhaust it. Label the feeling, give it a name. Notice how it makes your body feel. Investigate with kindness why you feel that way. Recognize you are NOT that feeling. Feelings pass.

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.

In partnership with  @korean.koala .

In partnership with @korean.koala.


Illustration #2 - Play It Isn’t So

They can swipe, tap and scroll -- but they haven't been shown how to play. How do you join a group? How do you welcome someone in? What happens if I'm left alone? Organized play can help decrease conflict, increase cooperation and improve focus and participation. Check this article about learning through play by The Atlantic.

This illustration sets the ground work for healthy and friendly ways to approach play. Things we take for granted, like how to discuss rules of a game or what happens when someone is 'out' -- seem to be a lost art.

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.

In partnership with  @korean.koala .

In partnership with @korean.koala.


Illustration #1 - A Can-toon Attitude

Quiz, test, exam, exit ticket. Whatever name we give it, our students know they are being assessed and their sympathetic nervous system releases a bunch of hormones -- meaning they put up a wall and stay in their fight-or-flight mode. Until we do away with high-stakes standardized tests, let's create an environment where our students feel safe and proud to attempt, complete and achieve what they can.

Listen to a 1-minute audio guide to help introduce this illustration to your students.

In partnership with  @korean.koala .

In partnership with @korean.koala.