App review by Ericka D, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2017
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Relaxing and serene app helps incorporate peace into daily life

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Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Based on 4 reviews
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Pre-K–12 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Health & Wellness, Character & SEL
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Pros: Tranquil narrations and soothing graphics enhance the meditative experience, making it achievable for even the most novice of practitioners.

Cons: Some users may find that audio-only guided scripts make it hard to pay attention.

Bottom Line: If you're looking for a captivating app to teach relaxation and calming skills to students, Calm is an essential tool to add to your toolbox.

Since Calm allows for a ton of customization, teachers can engage students in a collaborative, whole-group discussion on how to choose peaceful background noise and animated images for the day. Teachers could also set up a relaxation station in their classroom for students to use the app -- with attached headphones -- at their leisure after instruction. After recess or before a test, consider using this app in a whole-group session to help students relax or transition to a new activity.

Consider incorporating a math component with Calm by asking for "pre-session" feelings and "post-session" feelings and charting the outcome in bar or line graphs. For teachers who have young students, Calm's Sleep Stories might be useful for rest time. Additionally, when teaching coping and calming skills, teachers could use this app to show students how to focus on slowing down their fight-or-flight responses by using the Breathe function.

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Calm opens by instructing users to take a deep breath before landing on the home screen. This home screen can be customized, and users can choose from a range of more than 30 nature scenes and sounds to fit their preference. From this point, users can either complete a daily meditation that's provided, choose a sleep meditation, or practice deep breathing. If students choose to complete a meditation, they can choose from a list of more than 25 programs such as body scans, stories for kids, meditations for commuting, calming anxiety, demonstrating kindness, and more. Sleep Stories are fiction or nonfiction narrated stories that can be listened to before rest, which automatically shut off the app once the story finishes. 

If students choose to practice deep breathing, they can follow a customizable animated bubble that expands and compresses to simulate inhaling and exhaling. Additionally, students can check their profile settings to set mindfulness reminders, link to Apple Health, analyze session history, invite friends, share statistics, or check their calendar to see how many consecutive days are included in their "streak."

Calm presents an experience that is wholly devoted to its original intent: guiding relaxation. This app includes a robust level of content, which allows for extensive amounts of learning with daily lessons that are sure to last for several weeks, if not months. Not only does this app instruct users who are new to meditation and relaxation on how to begin this practice, but it offers scaffolding approaches to promote independence and generalization. A responsive calendar tracks the amount of time users spend on sessions, which users can share to social media to engage other learners. The app has built-in programs that can be tailored to mastery level, age level, or area of interest.

Calm also links to additional resources in a blog community that has frequent posts to extend the in-app experience for parents, teachers, and practitioners alike. Overall this app promotes the essence of learning relaxation, and while the assistive technology may be slightly one-sided (for example, audio-only meditations), Calm presents a uniquely fresh and empowering experience for users of any age.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

A sleek and vibrant design enhances this calming and visually magical app. The serene backdrops are effortlessly attention-grabbing, and the peaceful sounds, narration, and soothing music gift users with a tranquil effect.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Relaxation is built into every section of this app. Listeners can gradually transfer skills from one setting to another and increase the independence of their meditations, as well as share their results with friends or on personal note pages.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

A helpful tutorial and blog community guides first-time users through the practice of meditation, but those requiring additional presentation methods such as closed-captioning may find that audio-only relaxation scripts are limiting.

Common Sense reviewer
Ericka D Counselor, psychologist, or social worker

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Featured review by
April O. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
National University Virtual High School
La Jolla, United States
Students love it!
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 duri ...
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