These relatively short and simple exercises can give all students in the class an opportunity to calm and let go of stress. As students develop the ability to calm themselves over time, the stressors that prompt negative feedback should diminish.
The seven exercises can be laminated as a set of cards for teachers. There is no specific order in which the practices should be done. But initially you may wish to introduce them consecutively since the earlier exercises are simpler than the latter exercises. Once students are familiar with all seven exercises, you may wish to allow a student to choose which exercise to do each day. Daily practice matters! If it’s a particularly busy day, you may want to do a one-minute exercise. If it’s a high stress day for students, you may want to give them a little more time, or add an exercise before a test or presentation.
It can be challenging to get started because as students enter a classroom they are often noisy and inattentive. A bell or chime can help with the transition. Initially you may need to ring it twice as a signal to quiet down. Then ring once to mark the beginning and end of the exercise.
You may wish to begin the exercises by directing students to sit in their seats (except for Exercise 3—Mind and Motion). As the exercises become familiar, the option of sitting cross- legged on the floor or standing may be added. Read each step, pausing after each prompt to let students engage in the action. How long should you pause? The answer will change over time. As students become more comfortable with silence and deep breathing, you can gradually lengthen the exercises.
The SERP partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore Education Research Consortium, and the Duckworth Lab at the University of Pennsylvania was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305H140121. The information provided does not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.