How I Use It
In the classroom, I used the Calm APP on the 90 minute block day once a week as part of AP Psychology. It was introduced to students as part of an early unit on sleep and health. For 5-10 minutes, students were asked to just sit and meditate. Yes, some fell asleep the first few times, others looked around the room anxiously, but some really used the time to stop and pause and all of the students respected the quiet time. After a few weeks of doing this weekly, students began to look forward to the block schedule day as they felt like this time to reflect, be calm, and meditate gave them a chance to decompress during the school day. Students loved the activity, and many continued the practice at home!
Always listen to the meditations before playing them in class. There are great guided meditations and the goal is to make students feel safe, not like they are being asked to do something they may/may not feel comfortable with. However, as part of the AP Psychology curriculum, meditation is part of the conversation on sleep and comes up again with topics such as test anxiety, so it was easy to talk about mindfulness overall with students throughout the course and the benefits. Finding 10 minutes during the week at first felt like a challenge, but carving out time for students to be mindful was really helpful in also connecting with students in the classroom as students. We talked about how mindfulness is something we all need to practice, and even I as a teacher was learning how to be more mindful. A great benefit was being able to see their stress lower, their bodies relax, and then even the rest of the class was able to go on with more energy and focus. Sometimes we forget how much students take on during the day that they need time to pause and reflect.
The price of the app for premium made it fun for the year, but now there are other apps such as Insight Timer that are free - although you have to do more sifting for helpful meditations.