compassion, Health / Wellness, Mental health, Mindfulness, Mindset, self care, Stress / Anxiety

Teens Have It Rough: Help Your Teenager Navigate Tough Waters With This All-In-One Gratitude Journal!

Teenagers Sure do Have it Rough…

For them, life is a balancing act.

  • Balancing stress from all the social pressures…
  • Struggling with confidence and self-acceptance…
  • Questioning their place in this world…

They have to deal with all this (and more) with an under-developed brain.

Their brains are STILL a work in progress…

I look at that list (even with my developed adult brain) and know I’d be struggling balancing all of that too…

So What Can We Do?

How can we help them navigate through this tricky spot in life?

I asked myself these very same questions at the beginning of this school year…

Because this School Year, I Found Myself Neck-Deep in the Middle of Grade 9 Classroom Waters…

This classroom was filled with some complex kids with complex needs…

I wanted to help them…

The way I wish someone helped me back then…

They desperately needed certain skills…

Skills that would help them THRIVE, instead of just SURVIVE…

This is why, after much thought and a lot of field research (testing the waters of my Grade 9 classroom), I came up with a way to help my students build an essential skillset!

A skillset that would help them, not only, navigate the rough waters of Junior High, but also prepare them for life (and develop their brains along the way)!

Introducing…
The Kids Yoga Stories Gratitude Journal for Teens!!

Okay, but what makes this Gratitude Journal so special?

How is a gratitude journal supposed to help our struggling Teens…?

Well, THIS journal is MORE than just any old Gratitude Journal…

In fact, it helps Teens develop qualities and skills like:

  • Emotional Regulation and Stress Management
  • Confidence and Self-Esteem
  • Empathy and Compassion for Themselves and Others
  • Positive Self-Talk and and Self-Acceptance
  • Forgiveness and Perspective Shifting
  • And of course, Expressing Gratitude and Feelings of Appreciation

How Does One Journal Do All of This?

It provides regulation strategies, like Breath of the Month and Mindful Colouring, to manage stress and anxiety – tools that Teens can use for life!

(I don’t care who you are, you can’t tell me Teens are “too cool for school” to colour… My field research says otherwise! :P)

The Weekly Positive Affirmations promote positive self-talk, self-acceptance, boosts confidence and reminds Teens to show themselves compassion. We are all just human, after all.

The Gratitude Questions and Challenges are thought provoking and help shift perspective in Teens. They begin to understand their place in the world and have appreciation for whats going on around them.

This Interactive Journal provides a creative outlet for Teens to get thoughts and worries out of their heads. Getting things out on paper gives Teens the chance to reflect on experiences and even learn from them.

Plus, we already know that when our Mental Health improves, so does our overall health! This translates to other parts of our lives.

And Teens will benefit for years to come!

But Why?

Why Did I Decide To Create A Journal For Teens Unlike Any Other?

Well, I’d like to ask you this…

Do YOU remember what it was like being a Teenager?

I sure do…

And when I met my Grade 9 students on that very first day, I saw myself in all of them.

All of my insecurities…

All of my worries…

All of my struggles trying to fit into the world…

I Barely Got By My Teen Years

I wasn’t about to let that happen to these kids.

So…

I asked myself,

“How would I have helped MYSELF back in my Teen years?”

“What supports did I desperately need?”

DIY: Gratitude Notebooks

A few students and I put together personal notebooks filled with gratitude, breathing and calming strategies, affirmations, and other random thoughts!

The note books were amazing, but they just weren’t quite enough

They weren’t as organized as I would have liked.

They weren’t as appealing to the Teenager who is concerned about appearance.

So….

I took all of these lessons I learned from my Gratitude Notebooks,

All of the lessons from my Teenage students,

And all of the lessons from reflecting on my Teen years,

And turned them into the beautiful…

Kids Yoga Stories Gratitude Journal for Teens!

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are…”

The Kids Yoga Stories Gratitude Journal for Teens helps teens develop the courage to be who they really are.

So they can be who they are really meant to be…

With Love & Gratitude,

Miss T.


If You are Interested in Helping Your Teen Navigate Tough Waters…

Check out the Kids Yoga Stories Gratitude Journal for Teens!

Twelve weeks of Gratitude Journal Prompts, Reflection Questions, Breathing Exercises, Positive Affirmations, and more!

This Journal Also Includes:

  • A NEW Gratitude Question EVERY DAY
  • Weekly Mandala Colouring Pages (That Double as Positive Affirmations)
  • Inspirational Quotes for Each Day of Prompts

Here Are What Some Teens Had To Say About The
Kids Yoga Stories Gratitude Journal:

“I would buy 8 copies of this journal if I could…”

-Grade 9 Student

“Can you let me know when this journal comes out so I can get my parents to buy it?”

-Grade 7 Student
Health / Wellness, Kids, Mental health, Technology

A Must-Read For Parents: 3 Jaw-Dropping Lessons on Brain Development From a 7 Year Old!

The most powerful TED talk I’ve watched, was given by a 7 year old…

Molly Wright makes her way across the TED stage and begins…

“What if I told you a game of peekaboo could change the world…?”

Molly Wright

Molly is not your typical 7 year old.

She is a prime example of what happens when a child’s brain development is nurtured through the early years.

Not only is she a prime example, she’s also an advocate for healthy childhood development.

I learned more from this 7 year old in 7 minutes, than I did reading over 100 books (written by adults) about children and their brains.

When kids are exposed to things like…

  • Connecting
  • Talking
  • Playing
  • A Healthy Home
  • A Sense of Community

… it contributes positively to their development.

Connecting with our family and community builds and strengthens relationships, encourages trust, promotes positive mental health, and teaches life skills.

I’m sure we can wait until kids are older to start teaching them these skills though, right?

WRONG!

So… When should we be connecting, playing and talking to our kids?

#1. First 5 Years!

Molly reminds us that these years of a child’s life are the most CRUCIAL years in their development.

Brains grow faster in the first 5 years than they do the rest of our lives. By the time kids are 7 years old, their brains have grown to 90% the size of an adults’ brain.

Do not underestimate those first 5 years…

So… What should we be doing those first 5 years?

#2. Serve and Return!

This is Molly’s scientific way of saying… CONNECT! TALK! PLAY!

Children’s mirror neurons are on alert! They learn through connecting and interacting with the adults they trust. Making eye contact and playing games with your child (yes, like peekaboo), are important for their development and for their learning!

So… How often should we be playing games like peekaboo?

#3. Early and Often!

Molly reinforces that we need to be playing these games and connecting with our child as often as we can, and as early as we can!!

Even a 1 year old is aware of the broken connection when our attention is diverted.

Diverted to technology… To our devices…

What would happen if we were distracted by our devices all the time?

When children are not receiving the positive interactions they need for healthy brain development, childhood becomes stressful – even traumatic.

It is harder for children to feel safe, to trust, and to regulate without connection…

Kids NEED positive relationships.

They need connection, to be spoken to, and played with.

They need a healthy and safe home.

To feel a part of a community.

And YOU have the opportunity to give them that.

So, thanks, Molly Wright (the smartest 7 year old I know), for reminding us that a game of peekaboo has the capacity to change the world…


Everyone!

Go do yourselves a favour and watch Molly speak right here!


Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

With love,

Miss T.


Education, Health / Wellness, Kids, Mental health, Mindfulness

What’s so Great about Mindfulness, Anyways?

Miss T, here!

You might be thinking… 

“What’s so great about Mindfulness, anyways?”

Well… I can’t give you one simple answer. Because the practice of mindfulness is simple and complex all at once – we’ll save the complex stuff for another post!

Mindfulness is our natural state of being…

…before the world was filled with
constant distractions and everyday stressors. 

When we focus on the present moment and are mindful in everything we do, it’s like we are connecting back to our roots. Our natural state of being.

Back in the times of our ancestors, our ‘fight/flight/freeze’ mode of our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) was only activated when we were in serious danger. Dangers like being hunted or killed by larger animals.

And even then, when our ‘fight/flight/freeze’ (called our sympathetic nervous system) was triggered, we were still PRESENT. Presently focusing on removing ourselves from danger.Once the danger was removed, we were easily able to switch modes back into our parasympathetic nervous system, where our bodies and minds could ‘rest and relax.’

Nowadays, these stress triggers are everywhere. We stress all day long. About our kids, students or families. About our jobs or the pay we get. We stress over not making it to work on time while sitting in rush hour traffic. Or about how we will do on an exam. 

And now with COVID we have additional stressors! We stress about sickness and the health of our friends and family. We stress about when the next shut down might happen. Or if we’ll end up losing our jobs. Or worse.. Our lives or the lives of someone we love. 

Sometimes, we’ll even stress about all the bad things that could possibly happen and things that haven’t even come true yet (and most likely, won’t ever come true).

In this day and age, stressors are EVERYWHERE.

But there are 2 crucial differences about these stressors than what we’ve experienced in the past:

#1

Our sympathetic nervous system is basically running on overdrive!
When we are regularly stressed, our body is living in this constant state of fight, flight or freeze. There is no time for our parasympathetic system to kick in (our rest & relax mode) and so our body is unable to conserve the energy it needs to function properly. Our body systems are working hard to get us out of this perceived danger, which never really seems to go away… This can have serious detrimental effects for us in the long term.

#2

The majority of these new stress triggers aren’t even happening in the present moment!
They are things that are going on in our heads!! Like I said earlier, we give too much attention to the things that have not yet happened, and may not even happen. Yes, some of the things we think about are important to consider in terms of planning our lives, however, when we are non-stop thinking about our stress, it completely takes us out of the present moment. We are stuck living within our heads. Not mindful at all. And not our natural state of being.

Now, the wonderful thing about understanding all of this is that it makes us aware. Aware of the problem, so we can also be aware of the solution. 

And in returning back to our natural state of being- Living and breathing mindfulness, we can reverse some of the long term effects that stress and anxiety can have on our minds and our bodies. We can extend our lives and improve our health!

Of course, it’s never too late to practice mindfulness!

But, I am an avid promoter of the
“get ‘em started young” philosophy!

Why, you might ask?

Well, for one, kids are SPONGES! They are the best kind of learners because they hold onto new information quite easily. Especially if that information is engaging! And even more so, if they see the adults in their lives MODEL it well!

And second, even though it’s never too late for anyone to practice mindfulness and improve their health, when we teach mindfulness to kids, we are better able to set them up for a successful path in life. We can teach them strategies BEFORE stressful events happen and they will better know how to deal with them when the time comes.

Ever heard of the mastery rule of 10,000 hours?

Well, Michael Gladwell speaks about it in his book “Outliers.” He states that it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve a level of mastery in a particular skill.

In the case of mindfulness, bringing awareness and teaching this skill to kids at a younger age, allows them to achieve this level of mastery even before they become adults. 

This is why I am so ‘gung-ho’ about practicing mindfulness to kids. By practicing mindfulness throughout their younger years, living in the present moment becomes a natural part of their subconscious. They develop mastery level to this skill before their teen and adult years – some of the most stressful years of their lives.

Being a master at mindfulness before they get into those stressful years, will allow them to utilize strategies for dealing with stress in the future.

We are setting them up for success in a terribly stressful world.

Imagine a world where we can all get out of our own heads and into the present moment?

A world where we don’t have to be constantly living in fight, flight or freeze.

I believe THAT world begins with our kids.

Stay tuned for more posts on how mindfulness works and how it improves, not only our thoughts, but our overall health!

With love,

Miss T.


Education, Health / Wellness, Kids, Mental health, Mindfulness

My Story: Why I’ve Chosen to Walk this Path

Miss T, here !

You might be wondering WHY I chose to do what I do. Why I chose the path of educator, and now, am choosing the path of a writer..

Well, part of the story might be a bit of a fluke, or maybe the universe meant for it to work out exactly the way it did. Depends on your perspective, of course, but I feel like things happen for a reason.

And so, this story is MY story nonetheless. 

When I was 18, I hadn’t a clue what I wanted to do with my life. I had no ideas, no direction. 

There was a lot of pressure from teachers, family, and friends for me to pick a career path, get into university, and do the ‘typical’ highschool-university-career timeline. I felt like one moment, I was just a kid, and the next moment, people were shoving me off a cliff unprepared to fly into the world of adulthood..

This left me in a real funk… 

Maybe you’ve already read this in my previous posts, but I am not someone who likes to feel defeated or stay defeated. I think this part of me comes from my competitiveness that I got from playing team sports as a kid.

And so… I read books, watched documentaries, and dedicated tons of time to learn more about depression and anxiety, how it affects our biology, AND what we can do to overcome it. 

I love learning! Learning is what saved me.

It was because of this knowledge, and more importantly, the practical implication of this knowledge, that I was able to get out of this serious funk and find some direction in my life. 

“Knowledge is power. You hear it all the time, but knowledge is not power.
It’s only potential power.
It only becomes power when we apply it and use it.”

Jim Kwik

Yes, I am aware that I’m not perfect – I still have my moments where anxiety takes over, and still have a lot of learning and self development to do, BUT awareness helped me persevere. It helped me get better.

Long story short, I managed to get out of my funk and move on with my life. 

I applied as an Educational Assistant for Edmonton Public Schools- not because it was my “calling” by any means. In fact, if I’m being honest, the real reason why I applied was because my Mom was an EA, and well, I was a tad jealous of all her vacation time throughout the years… 

(…I know, my motive was not ideal, but like I said, I believe everything happens for a reason!)

Shortly after applying, I got the job! 

I felt blessed to be able to shape little minds and have a positive impact on little lives. But, it did open up my eyes to more sadness in the world. Kiddos whose families didn’t have enough money for lunches, kiddos being shuffled in and out of foster care, kiddos whose families weren’t supportive or not completely able to care for them in the ways they deserved. There were many kids who saw more sadness in their short lives than I ever did in my 23 years of life.

It put a lot of things into perspective for me..

In creating Mindfulness Club, I hoped my previous struggles and my lessons learned could be used for good.. to help these kids. So they didn’t have to do it all alone, like I did. So they didn’t have to feel alone, like I did.

I saw the practice of Mindfulness work wonders in my years at Sherwood Elementary, hosting my little club and through living and breathing mindfulness each moment!

But then, 2020 rolled in…

And life changed… Drastically…

For many people, the year 2020 turned worlds upside down. 

For me, 2020 was a pivotal moment.

Yes, I felt the stressful effects (and still do). Like the seclusion from friends and family.. And all the time spent in my head ruminating over the question if this world was ever going to return to ‘normal’ again (I can’t even remember what normal is anymore)..

But more than ANYTHING, from this darkness, I was able to see the light.

“Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.”

Stephenie Meyer

Yes, there was suffering in the world, maybe more suffering now than the world had seen in a while, but there was also an opportunity, MY OPPORTUNITY, for growth, change and inspiration.

I spent the previous few years helping a small number of students in a very small part of the world stay mindful and care for their well-being. 2020 allowed me to think BIGGER. To help more people on a WAY BIGGER scale!

I felt like I had a lot to say and plenty of experiences to share that could help people struggling in the world. And so, I started by helping the teachers at my school.

I created a presentation about building resiliency in our students and in ourselves- through the practice of mindfulness to cultivate some coherence in our bodies and minds. I gave the presentation at a staff meeting at the beginning of October 2020. 

First off, I feel like I need to mention that I’ve always had a HUGE fear of public speaking! When I was in Elementary school myself, I used to ask my mom to call in sick for me whenever I had to speak in front of the class (Shh, don’t tell my teachers!).

Never did I ever imagine that I would be WILLINGLY standing in front of a group of 20+ people giving a presentation.

But I did. And it changed me!

My presentation was a hit! Staff members were inspired to take care of themselves more. They understood the link between our thoughts and our overall health. My principal raved about my presentation and sent it to a few of his colleagues. 

And well, one thing led to another… and soon, I was speaking my truth to other groups within Edmonton Public Schools… and then to other educators in Western Canada… and finally, to educators around the globe!!

Because of the shift in the world and the abundance of online opportunities after 2020, I was able to get my message out there, my experiences and lessons out to a larger population!

All I ever wanted to do was help the kiddos at my school cope. But 2020 opened my eyes to the fact that I was capable of helping so many others. Especially in such a time of need, a time of struggle. 

Speaking and writing has allowed me to do just that. 

I want to continue to speak my truth… To use my writing and speaking to share my experiences with those who could benefit. For those who maybe can relate. For those who just need a little bit of help and guidance.

I’m here to remind you that it’s okay to need help, and okay to ask for it.

We are ALL just human after all…

With love,

Miss T.


Education, Health / Wellness, Kids, Mental health, Mindfulness, Yoga

How to Effortlessly Schedule Mindfulness into YOUR Day

Miss T, here!

In my last post, I explained, plain and simply, what mindfulness is.

Essentially, it is a state of being consciously aware of something… really anything! Anything that draws our focus to one particular thing in the present moment. 

This could mean bringing focus to our breath or our surroundings. Using our 5 senses to analyze the things around us. Grounding us here, in the now. 

Once we become better at practicing mindfulness, our subconscious will allow us to automatically become more present throughout our day. Until then, it’s important for us on a daily basis to deliberately schedule mindful moments in.

To train our subconscious mind.

These moments could be big or small, although I recommend beginning anything by starting small. Making it more manageable to do will improve your success and follow through rate. Plus, once you are confident in your first baby step, you can take a few bigger steps until you eventually reach your ultimate goal.

Kaizen is a Japanese word that means
“Change for the better” or “Continuous Improvement.”

It is a term that involves the continual process of manageable and incremental steps in order to see improvement. 

We can use the kaizen philosophy to better ourselves (and the kiddos in our lives) at being mindful. By taking small, intentional steps to reach our fullest potential. We can adjust our steps as needed. This guarantees success!

Now, there are SO many ways and opportunities to schedule mindfulness into our days!

If you want to learn more about ‘Kaizen’, I highly recommend you check out this book!

Whether you are practicing mindfulness for yourself, or for your kiddos, or perhaps, you have an entire classroom of kids, it is EASY (and hopefully I’ve convinced you it’s possible) to find time for mindfulness. 

Tips on HOW to Schedule Mindfulness into your Day:

  1. Schedule specific times on a calendar. When you write things down, you are more likely to make it happen! It doesn’t matter if it means only deep breathing looking out the window for 30 seconds-1 minute each day. It’s still the start of something. The key is to make it INTENTIONAL. Set specific times each day to make time for YOU!

  2. Try having a morning and evening practice. Once again, even if you can only dedicate a minute in the morning and a minute in the evening, that’s okay! Starting the day with mindfulness can set you up for success and ending it off with mindfulness helps you relax for a more peaceful evening or sleep.

  3. Take deep breaths before beginning tasks. An easy way to sneak mindfulness in the day, whether in your personal life or in the classroom, is to begin each transition (of whatever it is you’re doing), with a deep belly breath or 2. Getting in your car to run an errand, before starting work, transitioning from one task to another (in a classroom setting, switching subjects), coming home from work or school are all great times to sneak in a few deep breaths. Deep breaths are powerful because they calm our brains and allow us to reconnect with our body and breath.

  4. Positive affirmations and intentions: Take a quick moment in your morning to set an intention or speak out some positive affirmations for your day ahead. Could be as quick as taking a minute to say things like “I intend to be filled with gratitude today,” “I am happy and healthy,” “I will persevere today!” Really feel the power behind your statement as you make it. This could begin as a quick moment in the morning, and grow to the point where you are stating affirmations randomly throughout your day, maybe even setting intentions at night for how you’d like to feel the next morning! 

  5. Express your gratitude daily! I really do believe that gratitude is the most powerful form of self-medication! You get the most “bang for your buck” with adding in the practice of gratitude. Expressing gratitude on a consistent basis really does make us happier and healthier humans. I could go on and on about the power of gratitude, but there will be more time for that in another post… 😛 

Here are some other quick & easy mindfulness practice ideas:

  • Going for a walk in nature
  • Thinking of 3 things to be grateful for each morning or night
  • Taking a minute to do a quick body scan and listen to your body
  • Mindful eating
  • Practice active listening
  • Pausing for a few deep breaths
  • Focus on your 5 senses at any point in your day
  • Mindful mandala colouring
  • Read a book in a quiet spot
  • Journalling
  • Stretching OR Yoga

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”

Vincent Van Gogh
Education, Health / Wellness, Kids, Mental health, Mindfulness

But… What is Mindfulness?

Welcome!

Miss T, here!

If you’ve been following my journey, you can probably already tell that I have a passion for promoting health & wellness through MINDFULNESS!

But… WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

Chances are, if you stumbled on this blog, you have some sort of idea what mindfulness entails. But I’m going to simplify it for you! Because there are many interpretations of what mindfulness is and isn’t.

If we look up the definition of Mindfulness it notes:

“Mindfulness is the state of being consciously aware of something”

And quite literally, anything! It is focusing on one particular thing, whether that’s our breath or a part of our surroundings. Focusing on that one thing brings us into the present moment.

Yes, we can schedule certain mindfulness practices into our day, but we can also live each moment with a mindfulness mind set. Completing our daily tasks and going through daily events, mindfully!

We can eat mindfully by eliminating distractions. That means no watching TV or scrolling through our phones while we are trying to eat. Focusing solely on our food and enjoying it with all 5 of our senses. 

We can go for a walk or a drive mindfully! By tuning out any conversations and focusing on the sights and sounds around you! Even the smells, if you are outside in nature.

We can even have mindful conversations. Putting our phones away, turning off music, and focusing solely on our heartfelt conversation. Active listening is a wonderful way to have a mindful conversation.

We can even do our work with mindfulness in mind. By breaking down our day and focusing on one aspect of the day at a time. Being fully present in whatever your task is. 

Are you a Multi-Tasker? 

Multitasking is not a mindful activity. Our minds are constantly flipping between tasks and we are most definitely unable to focus our attention on one item! Not to mention, multi-tasking is not productive (unless you are of course the 1% exception to this rule or a computer), often taking a lot longer to complete all of your to-do’s and getting them done without paying attention to the details.

Multi-tasking tends to lead us to our MONKEY MIND.

“Monkey mind” is a buddhist term that refers to being unsettled, distracted, restless, even confused. It is the OPPOSITE of true mindfulness.

Our goal is to calm and settle our monkey mind in order to live truly mindful lives. 

So yes, mindfulness can be practiced at any time throughout your day. You can practice it anywhere, and with just about any activity (unless you’re combining activities, of course)! 

The key is AWARENESS! Being aware of your thoughts and your monkey mind. Being able to pause and say:

“Okay, I’m thinking about the past or future right now, when I should really be focused on the present.”

Awareness can be challenging, but it can also be TRAINED. You can get better at becoming more self-aware. All it takes is a little bit of practice and some deliberate scheduling of mindfulness into your day.

I highly recommend training your awareness by purposefully adding mindful moments into your day, whether that is with mindful breathing, mindful eating, practicing gratitude, yoga, etc. The important thing is to find what works best for you.

By intently adding it into your day, you are settling your monkey mind, and training your brain to think in the present moment, all the time!

Read my follow up post for more ideas on HOW to schedule mindfulness into your day!

One of my FAVOURITE ways of being mindful is by going on hikes in the mountains! Living in Alberta, Canada, I am grateful to have access to the Rocky Mountains, where I regularity “escape” to.

With love & gratitude,
Miss T.


Education, Health / Wellness, Kids, Mental health, Mindfulness, Technology, Yoga

Oh, the Possibilities of Teaching Mindfulness Online…

Hello Mindful Minds! 

Miss T, here!

Well, I think we can all agree that the last few years have been anything but easy…

We are living in a world full of fear and uncertainty. Stress and anxiety is on the rise- and was well on the rise before the world even had a glimpse of COVID-19. 

Many of us, myself included, are feeling isolated and alone, struggling to cope with the reality of the world… 

If we are struggling… Our kiddos are struggling… How will our kiddos learn to persevere and thrive in this changing and stressful world?   

I asked myself this very question when I first began my Mindfulness Club at my little Elementary School (if you haven’t read my last post, make sure you do before reading ahead!). Mindfulness was the answer then, and is most definitely the answer now!

In fact, in this COVID-struck world, I believe the practice of Mindfulness is even more important and more detrimental to our kids (and our own) well-being and resilience than ever before!

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other
is to listen with our ears and our hearts .”

Fred Rogers

In March 2020, one week before our scheduled Spring Break, our schools in Edmonton, Canada shut down completely. We thought we would see our students bright and early Monday morning, turns out, we would not see them face-to-face for the rest of the school year…

I took a deep breath and reminded myself of the ‘controllables.’ No, I could not control what was happening in the world, but I COULD control and was very capable of finding a way to bring mindfulness to my students.

As schools and teachers frantically made plans to teach online, I thought about how to best serve my school community with the power of Mindfulness..

I decided to create a website for my students to access our mindfulness practices in the comfort of their own homes!

Using the platform, Google Sites… Mindfulness Club ONLINE was born!

Google Sites was easy and simple to use for a ‘non-techy’ person like myself. I am by no means an expert when it comes to web design. I prefer simplicity. Google Sites was the easy answer for me!

I designed it with a similar structure to our Mindfulness Recess Club- keeping our Mindful Monday, Wind-down Wednesday & Flexy Friday themes alive! Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I would post new breathing activities, yoga videos, games and stories (while getting creative and having familiar faces within our school record a read-aloud of a mindfulness book) for kiddos and their families at home.

I added a couple of extra features and resources on this site, including a virtual Gratitude Wall where students could submit notes of gratitude to an online Google Form. At the end of each week, I would add the submitted notes to a page on my google site, named “That Gratitude Attitude!”

This was created after our real-life ‘Gratitude Wall’ bulletin that hung in the hallways at Sherwood Elementary. 

Pre-COVID, students could submit notes of gratitude themselves, though a little drop-off box at the front office.
Welcome to Mindfulness Club ONLINE! Where our ‘Online Gratitude Wall’ came to life! Kids could submit their notes of gratitude through Google Forums.
Our Gratitude Wall Evolved over the years. This is the final version in 2020/2021 upon returning to ‘in-class’ teaching.

Most of the activities I posted were found for free on youtube (Cosmic Kids Yoga, GoNoodle Guided Relaxations), and breathing activities from a book I already owned (Breathe like a Bear- highly recommended for quick breathing activities for young children). 

But… I felt I needed something more… and tailored to these online needs. And that’s where Kids Yoga Stories came into play! 

I am a huge fan of Giselle and her work at kidsyogastories.com! I had previously purchased some of her classroom resources, but she had most recently come out with the ‘Keep Calm’ and ‘Get Connected’ packs and I knew I had to jump on those! These packs came with a ton of digital resources that I was easily able to implement onto my Google Site.

As crazy as this year was (and the years have continued to be), it ended up being a lot of fun and an exciting new venture for me: learning to build this site and share my passion in the online world. And surprisingly… easier than I anticipated!

If you are looking for ways to implement mindfulness online, or find new ways to bring these practices to the kiddos in your life, I would love to connect with you and share any insights or answer any questions. 

You can send me an email:



5 PRACTICAL Tips for Educators who are Shifting to Online:

  1. Find an easy “website” platform to use: 
    Choose a platform that is user friendly. Easy for your students to access, and easy for you to use. You don’t need anything too fancy. The point is getting out info to your students, you don’t want to waste a whole lot of time making it look pretty. I used Google Sites. My students and I are already familiar with google applications (easy to access) AND it is designed simply with no excess distracting features.
  2. Be open to using multimedia to address all learning styles:
    Think about the needs of your students. In the classroom, we differentiate to address different learning styles. Bring that practice with you in your shift online. Record videos or sound clips, add pictures and text. Make it easy and fun for all types of learners. A Lot of my students in Mindfulness Club were younger and weren’t great readers, so for every text I wrote, I also added an audio clip of myself reading the text. 
  3. Record YOURSELF and/or known trusted adults:
    Yes, you could search up videos of ‘professionals’ on youtube who already have videos posted to demonstrate a concept, but students love it more when they see you or someone they know on video! When choosing read-alouds for my Mindfulness Club Online, I recorded myself reading and asked other teachers and office staff in the school to read and record videos of themselves. The kids loved it!
  4. Make it interactive for your students:
    Find a way to make it interactive for your kiddos. A page of some sorts where they can respond or ask questions on their own. Google Forms can easily be inserted on any page to be used for daily check-in’s, questions of the day, etc. I’m sure there are some other awesome programs out there (maybe even Jamboards) that you could link up to your site, but my personal experience is working with Google Forms on my Google Site.
  5. No stress! Just have fun with it:
    This is where you get to see this as an opportunity to learn, make mistakes, and have fun while playing around with your site (Gosh, now I really do sound like Ms. Frizzle). You get to design it to let your personality shine through. If you have fun with Bitmoji, this is the perfect time to plaster your Bitmoji-self all over your website!! Ever heard of Bitmoji classrooms? I bet you have! Well, you can link your interactive Bitmoji classrooms all over your site! I have to warn you though.. This one can become a little time consuming if you’re a particular person, like me… So try not to dedicate a whole lot of time to it. (Unless it’s a fun hobby for you of course!)

P.S. I first wrote about my journey with ‘Mindfulness Club’ at KidsYogaStories.com

You can check out the blog post here!