It Just Takes 30 Seconds

"One of the most successful research-based strategies I used in my classroom was free and only took 30 seconds." Curious? Keep reading.

By Seth Folkenroth, Teacher Trainer | Jan 14, 2019
It Just Takes30 Seconds Blog

As a teacher I know that there are so many exciting new research-based strategies we want to try in our classroom, but the one thing that holds us back from implementing something new usually boils down to time or money. Fortunately, one of the most successful strategies I used in my classroom was free and only took 30 seconds!

Here's how I incorporated a 30 second breathing activity into my classroom, and how it made all the difference for me and my students:

1. "Do now" activity

Before getting started, there was a “do now” on the board for my students to get started on when first entering the classroom. During this time, I was building relationships (the first step in our social emotional health model) by checking in on each of them and giving them each a personal greeting. If a student had a bad day yesterday, I could ask if she was doing better today. If a student seemed sad, I would walk over to her desk, crouch at her level and check in to see if anything was going on.

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2. 30 second breathing exercise

After everyone finished the “do now” activity, we got into our 30 second breathing exercise.

I asked them to imagine breathing in like they were smelling a flower, and breathing out like blowing on a bowl of hot soup – carefully so as not to splash soup everywhere!

  • Breathe in for four seconds
  • Breathe out for six seconds
  • Repeat three times

That's it!

For the first couple of weeks, I asked them to jot down a few words that described how they were feeling before breathing, and then immediately after breathing. The point of writing it down was to call attention to the way our body and mind shifted when we focused on breathing.

The benefits of mindfulness and purposeful breathing in the classroom have been researched and discussed time and time again, but for my class, I can say that my students were able to sit in their desks and focus. They were able to use breathing to help calm them down before a big test or before they had to give a speech.

It just takes 30 seconds, it is free, and it will help bring a sense of calm into your classroom!  

Additional breathing activities: