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Why New Multisensory Meditations Promise Student Success

Over the last 20 plus years as a learning specialist and educational therapist, changing demands have inspired new directions in my continuing education and practice at large. During this period of time, I have witnessed increasing academic expectations, competitive classrooms, and both real and virtual bullying. In addition, with handheld devices at their fingertips and growing class sizes, competing diversions are constantly challenging learners at all times of the day and in all locations. For many, this can offer a distraction from the present lesson or assignment. It can also create a state of overwhelm that triggers the amygdala into a “fight, flight, or freeze response.” Unfortunately, both of these situations can actualize a state of mind that makes learning next to impossible. As a result, more and more teachers, professionals, and parents are seeking solutions.
Elementary meditations
Why do Learners Need Both Cognitive and Emotional Skills?
Research in neuroscience reveals that the prefrontal cortex, which manages higher-level cognition, also plays an important role in processing and regulating emotions. Therefore, “learning involves both a cognitive and emotive schema….” This evidence has, “forced us to rethink the relationship between reason and emotion. Not only does academic learning depend on social and emotional skills, but it is virtually impossible to disentangle the two" (Barseghian, 2016).

What Can We Do to Help?
Luckily, there are a number of methods that can help students, and new research suggests that exposing children, at an early age, to strategies can help optimize academic, social, and emotional potential (Goguen-Hughes, 2015; Jennings, 2016). What's more, teachers and parents can benefit too.  There are a number of common solutions, that are supported by research, that utilize mindfulness, meditation, metacognition, breathing exercises, hemisphere integration activities, and brain breaks.

What's the Best Approach?
I have been working with a dream team of experts and we have combined these theories and practices in a multisensory format to help elementary and middle school students learn mindful breath meditations and self-regulation approaches that calms the amygdala, activates both hemispheres of the brain, and gets the mind and body in optimal shape for learning.

Students Brain Break MeditationsWhat are the Resources in this Publication?
This publication offers a comprehensive selection of multisensory resources to help students and their instructors learn and practice daily, mindful meditations. CLICK HERE or on the image below to learn more.

  1. Multisensory Brain Break Meditations Manual (18 pages)
    • Background research that supports this publication. 
    • Step by step instructions.
  2. Tactile Meditation Handouts (5 pages) enable learners to see, feel, and experience an organized representation of a 4-2-4-2 breath. Please note that you can always use a 4-1-4-1 breath, if it is uncomfortable for students to hold their breath for two seconds. See this publication for more information. 
  3. Tactile Meditation Scripts (10 pages) offer scripts that can be read to students when they are working with the Tactile Meditations Handouts. 
  4. Kinesthetic Meditation Scripts (11 pages) offer scripts that can be read aloud to students. These can be used once they have watched, followed, and learned the kinesthetic videos.
  5. Visualization Meditations Scripts (12 pages) allow teachers to read aloud meditations to their students. 
  6. Color my Best Breath Experience (4 pages) is a fun lesson and coloring activity to help students be mindful of their breath. It also encourages students to draw and visualize their best breath. Suggested discussion questions are also presented. 
  7. Additional Breath Handouts (7 pages) the 4-2-4-2 and the 4-1-4-1 is just one of many breathing options when doing these meditations. Students can also experiment with a number of other breaths that are presented as printable handouts. 
    • multisensory mediations
    • The Sloth Breath: The Sloth Breath creates a cooling and calming effect on the body. 
    • The Hummingbird Breath: The Hummingbird Breath is a quick way to heat the body and promote quick energy. 
    • The Puppy Breath: The Puppy Breath brings oxygen to the brain and helps students wake up and feel alert. 
    • The Bumblebee Breath: The Bumblebee Breath can be used to calm the mind and inspire creativity. 
    • The Rock and Roll Wave Breath: The Rock and Roll Wave Breath is calming but also energizing. 
  • 6 Audio Meditations: As students learn to manage their breath and meditate, they can be introduced to the audio meditations.
  1. Butterfly Belly Breath Meditation: This short meditation (3:31) helps students practice the belly breath, so they can learn how to use it to maintain their attention. 
  2. Busy Bumblebee Finds His Breath and His Way Home: This short meditation (2:50) helps students learn the belly breath and understand how using this breath can help them to regulate their emotions and find their attention. 
  3. Bubble Breath - Being Your Best Self: This short meditation (4:45) allows students to visualize a past experience at school that was difficult and helps them to learn from it and let it go.
  4. Slow Down Sloth and Hummingbird Body Scan: This short meditation (3:48) allows students to visualize and experience a relaxing body scan with the help of two sloths and a hummingbird. 
  5. Manage your Energy Control Station – Increasing your Energy Level: This short meditation (3:29) helps students learn how to increase their energy level with the use of visualizations and breath. 
  6. Manage your Energy Control Station – Decreasing your Energy Level: This short meditation (3:40) helps students learn how to decrease their energy level with the use of visualizations and breath. 
  • 3 Drum Beat & Nature Sounds for use with Meditation Scripts: Background sounds can aid in the meditation process when you wish to use the scripts or just want to complete the visual and tactile activities with some sounds. (The beat can help students count out the 4-2-4-2 or the 4-1-4-1 breath). 
  1. Bird Sounds and Drum Beat (5:17)
  2. Ocean Sounds and Drum Beat (4:18) 
  3. Rainforest Sounds and Drum Beat (4:23) 
  1. Tactile Meditation Directions: This video offers a demonstration of the four tactile resources.
  2. Kinesthetic Bumble Bee Breath Meditation (2:14) This video offers a demonstration of this meditation.
  3. Kinesthetic Butterfly Breath Meditation (2:40) This video presents a demonstration of this meditation.  
  4. Kinesthetic Slow Down Sloth Breath Meditation (1:58) This video shows a demonstration of this meditation.  
  5. Kinesthetic Puppy Pause Breath Meditation (2:08)This video offers a demonstration of this meditation.  
What about Helping Older Students?
I also offer Mindfulness Activity Cards that were created based on the current research on mindfulness, emotional intelligence and social emotional learning.  These publications can be used in classrooms or therapeutic sessions to help students develop emotional intelligence, resilience, working memory and community. In addition, they can be used to teach authentic dialogue and develop self esteem. They are ideal for individual sessions, round table discussions, and circle groups.

Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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