Exercises for mindfulness training

“The sound of a bell”

You might use regular school bell to practice the exercise. But, it’s better to use your own small bell, the real one which you can use not only at the beginning of the lesson or at its end, but in the between.

You agree with students, that when you raise the bell (not ringing) they become quiet and you play a short game. Describe them that when you ring the bell the sound lasts for certain period. The game is to catch the end of that sound. Students are asked to close their eyes and concentrate on the sound of your bell, waiting till its end. Tell them to raise their hands when they think the sound stops. You will observe that hands will be raised in a very different time. You can do it again, to demonstrate how long the sound is. The quieter the class is, the more sound is available to hear.

This game may last only 1 or 2 minutes, but it is recommended to replay it twice or even three times during the lesson. It is useful especially when students are in a hot discussion, there is too much noise in the class, they come to the lesson tired.

Make some variations, involving each day at least one student, to be the ringing person. You may allow them to use their smartphones to play some simple sound that other would have to listen to.

“Attention of a frog”

 “A frog is a remarkable creature. It is capable of enormous leaps, but it can also sit very, very still. Although it is aware of everything that happens in and around it, the frog tends not to react right away. The frog sits still and breathes, preserving its energy instead of getting carried away by all the ideas that keep popping into its head. The frog sits still, very still, while it breathes. Its frog tummy rises a bit and falls again. It rises and falls.

“Anything a frog can do, you can do too. All you need is mindful attention. Attention to the breath. Attention and peace and quiet.”

This game may last only 1 or 2 minutes, but it is recommended to replay it twice or even three times during the lesson. It is useful especially when students are in a hot discussion, there is too much noise in the class, they come to the lesson tired.

Make some variations, involving each day at least one student, to be the ringing person. You may allow them to use their smartphones to play some simple sound that other would have to listen to.

“Two raisins”

Ask students to close their eyes and hold up their hands so that you could give them something and call it – two small things that every human is familiar with. Put two raisins in the hands of each student. Students are not allowed to watch. But even if they look and recognize, it will not spoil the exercise. By the way, you can transform the rules and ask them to look, but at the same time to pretend that they are from Mars and do not know what the raisins are. It’s a space for your creativity and decision upon the age and social environment at class.

As soon as they feel something in their hands, ask them, what do they smell. Ask them to put it near their ears and hear the sound when they squeeze it. Ask them to name the sound and compare it to any other thing. Then ask them to put it in their mouth, between their teeth, and to really taste it with their tongue and then bite it. Ask them to describe the feeling (either with their closed or open eyes). When you finish, devote some time for group reflection to let each student share his thoughts and feelings. Please moderate reflection session to the direction of the outcomes you are searching for.

Ask them what about other thoughts than about the raisins student have had in their mind during the exercise. Pay their attention to how mind works and how exercise may stop thinking. Compare it to common computer processor, which may need to chill when they play too much video games. Ask them, how they succeeded to chill now their brains during this game of raisin? Ask them, how are they going to use that in their daily life.